Applying for the lottery

This the
official page of the State Department where you will file your application. The rules are pretty straightforward: fill the form containing your personal information correctly and completely, attach the picture with the required specifications. Read the instructions below, and if you have further questions, use the Forum.

Everything is spelled out clearly I hope, and you have the backup of the
State Department PDF file. Follow the instruction carefully, if you deviate you won't be able to complete the application.

DV 2011 Rules

 They are worth reading, so far they haven't changed from last year. The picture section is always tricky so pay attention there.

  • All entries by an applicant will be disqualified if more than ONE entry for the applicant is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. Applicants may prepare and submit their own entries, or have someone submit the entry for them.
  • The Department of State will only accept completed Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Forms submitted electronically at the official page during the registration period beginning October 2, 2008.
  • The Department of State will send DV lottery entrants an electronic confirmation notice upon receipt of a completed EDV Entry Form. This is a major thing, since probably the biggest concern everybody had in the paper era was: Have they received my application?
  • Paper entries will not be accepted.
  • The entry will be disqualified if all required photos are not submitted. Recent photographs of the applicant and his/her spouse and each child under 21 years of age, including all natural children as well as all legally-adopted and stepchildren, excepting a child who is already a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident, even if a child no longer resides with the applicant or is not intended to immigrate under the DV program, must be submitted electronically with the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. Group or family photos will not be accepted; there must be a separate photo for each family member.

Smile for the camera

Each applicant, his/her spouse, and each child will therefore need a computer file containing his/her digital photo (image) which will be submitted on-line with the EDV Entry Form. The image file can be produced either by taking a new digital photograph or by scanning a photographic print with a digital scanner.

If the submitted digital images do not conform to the following specifications, the system will automatically reject the EDV Entry Form and notify the sender.

  • The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format.
  • The image must be either in color or grayscale; monochrome images (2-bit color depth) will not be accepted.
  • If a new digital photograph is taken, it must have a resolution of 600 pixels wide by 600 pixels high. In both case, the color depth must be 24-bit color.
  • You can also submit a scanned image. It must be scanned at a resolution of 150 dots per inch (dpi) and with a color depth of 24-bit. Black and white and monochrome images are NOT allowed.
  • The maximum image size accepted will be 240 kylobites (240 KB).

Rules on the picture

  • Applicant, spouse, or child must be directly facing the camera; the head of the person being photographed should not be tilted up, down or to the side, and should cover about 50% of the area of the photo.
  • The photo should be taken with the person being photographed in front of a neutral, light-colored background. Photos taken with very dark or patterned, busy backgrounds will not be accepted.
  • Photos in which the face of the person being photographed is not in focus will not be accepted.
  • Photos in which the person being photographed is wearing sunglasses or other paraphernalia which detracts from the face will not be accepted.
  • Photos of applicants wearing head coverings or hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs, and even then, may not obscure any portion of the face of the applicant. Photos of applicants with tribal or other headgear not specifically religious in nature are not acceptable. Photos of military, airline or other personnel wearing hats will not be accepted.

Check out
this page for a quick view of some common mistakes found in pictures. Also, the State Department has a series of useful examples online. If you plan to use a photographer, I would recommend printing these pages and bring them to the photographer to avoid misunderstandings.

The actual entry

There will be only one way to enter the DV-2011 lottery. Applicants must submit an Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (EDV Entry Form), at
Travel .

Failure to complete the form in its entirety will disqualify the applicant’s entry. Applicants will be asked to submit the following information on the EDV Entry Form.

  • FULL NAME - Last/Family Name, First Name, Middle name
  • DATE OF BIRTH - Day, Month, Year
  • GENDER - Male or Female
  • COUNTRY OF BIRTH -The name of the country should be that which is currently in use for the place where the applicant was born.
  • APPLICANT PHOTOGRAPH - see before for instructions on the picture
  • MAILING ADDRESS - Address, City/Town, District/Country/Province/State, Postal Code/Zip Code, Country
  • PHONE NUMBER (optional)
  • E-MAIL ADDRESS (optional)
  • COUNTRY OF ELIGIBILITY IF THE APPLICANT’S NATIVE COUNTRY IS DIFFERENT FROM COUNTRY OF BIRTH -If the applicant is claiming nativity in a country other than his/her place of birth, this information must be submitted on the entry. If an applicant is claiming nativity through spouse or parent, please indicate this on the entry.
  • SPOUSE INFORMATION - Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, Country of Birth, Photograph
  • CHILDREN INFORMATION - Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, Country of Birth, Photograph.

This is it, the information is manageable and personal, so as you can see you DO NOT need to pay anybody to insert some information about yourself. If you win things will change and the documents to provide will pile up but winners can deal with the inconvenience.