The United States will make available 55,000 immigrant visas through a lottery this fall that will be open to applicants from all geographic regions.
The lottery, which has been held annually for the past several years, is aimed at increasing the number of resident visas from areas which normally receive a disproportionately small number of such visas.
The winners will be selected at random following the Oct. 24 to Nov. 24 mail-in.
The respective visa allotments of the various regions are:
Africa: All countries on the continent and adjacent islands are eligible; 21,409 visas.
Asia: All countries are eligible except China, both mainland and Taiwan-born (Hong Kong is eligible), India, Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam; 7,254 visas.
Europe: All countries are eligible except Great Britain and its dependent territories, and Poland; Northern Ireland is eligible; 23,024 visas.
North America: The Bahamas is the only eligible country; eight visas.
Oceania: All countries are eligible, including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the countries and islands of the South Pacific; 837 visas.
South America, Central America and the Caribbean: All countries are eligible except Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Jamaica and Mexico; 2,468 visas.
In addition to being born in a qualifying country, applicants must have either a high school education or its equivalent, or within the past five years have worked two years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience.