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New State Department Submission Rules - August 18, 2003 Update

Since the inception of the Diversity Visa Program, the Department has required that all petitions for acceptance of an alien into the program be submitted by mail during a thirty-day period in the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which petitioners seek eligibility for the program. To date, submission by any means other than regular mail has been prohibited.

According to the new rule, alien petitioners for the Diversity Visa Program will no longer be permitted to submit a petition by mail. Instead, the Department will require that all petitions be submitted to it in an electronic format, using an Internet website dedicated specifically to the submission and receipt of Diversity Visa Program petitions. The website will have contained in it a standard petition form which the petitioner, or someone acting for the petitioner, must fill out on-line and send electronically to the Department at a web address. The person completing the petition form will also be required to attach to the electronic petition individual digital photographs of the petitioner and the petitioner's spouse and unmarried children under 21 who will be seeking to accompany or follow to join the petitioner should the petitioner receive a diversity immigrant visa. The photographs will have specific requirements as to size, composition and quality. Fees will be handled as they are under the current rules for diversity program petitions. Because the petition must be submitted electronically, the current requirement that the petition and photographs be signed, is, necessarily, being eliminated.

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