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Increasing Numbers of Russians Applying to US Green Card Lottery
22/Oct/2015
The entry period for the DV-2017 green card lottery started on 1 October 2015. The closing date is 3 November, 2015.

Almost 100,000 more Russians took part in the 2015 U.S. green card lottery than in the 2012 lottery, according to U.S. Embassy spokesman Will Stevens.

Altogether, 265,086 Russians took their chances, as compared to 167,600 three years earlier. U.S. State Department statistics show that internationally, 15 million people entered the lottery in 2014, 25% more than in 2013. The increase in Russian interest is in spite of Anti US propaganda in the Russian media. Some of these Russian media outlets are under State Control.

The American green card lottery, properly known as the DV-2017 Diversity Immigrant Visa scheme, is now in its 20th year. In any year, less than 1% of applicants to the lottery are successful. You have to be from specific parts of the world considered to have had historically low rates of immigration to the US are able to apply. Eligibility is determined on the US Department of State website. If successful you can apply for US permanent residence.

In 2015, approximately 4,000 Russians obtained green cards through the lottery, out of 100,000 grantees internationally. Of these 100,000 individuals worldwide who were chosen for green cards through the lottery, 50,000 were disqualified by routine checks. Not all of these remaining individuals apply for a green card and go on to live in the United States.

The number of Russians applying for U.S. issued immigration visas has been tailing off since 2011 but is expected to increase this year. Fewer Russians now apply for U.S. tourist visas, which are granted to Russians for a time span usually up to three years. This is probably due to the weak rouble and current anti-US sentiment.

Republican opposition to the Green Card Lottery

Many Republicans in the U.S. Congress oppose the lottery and are fighting to do away with it. Instead, they advocate green cards going to skilled immigrants, mainly STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals from Europe and Asia.

There is also scaremongering by Republicans who claim that the green card lottery allows terrorists, Ebola carriers, and other undesirables into the U.S. However, Green card applicants must undergo criminal and medical checks before being granted entry into the United States.

Statistically it is unlikely that you will be successful under the green card lottery scheme. Other options worth considering may be employment-based non-immigrant visas such as the L-1 intra-company transfer visa and E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor visa. The L-1 visa allows U.S. employers to transfer skilled workers to the US from an overseas office.

The E-1 visa is for employees of businesses registered as E-1 Treaty Trader businesses that engage in substantial trade with the US. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is for employees of businesses registered as E-2 Treaty Investor businesses that have made substantial investments in the US. The owner and employees need to be of the same nationality.
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