Starting October 1, 2003, travelers entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program must have a machine-readable passport. Any traveler without a machine-readable passport will be required to obtain a visa before coming to the United States.
This requirement is mandated by the USA Patriot Act of 2001. Immigration inspectors may deny entry to any traveler attempting to enter on a visa-waiver basis without a machine-readable passport after October 1, 2003.
Countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program have long been required to have a program for the issuance of machine-readable passports, but the October 1, 2003, requirement makes the use of such a passport mandatory for visa-free entry. It applies to both adults and children. Citizens of Belgium have been required to present a machine-readable passport for visa-waiver entry since May 15, 2003
Visa applications are now subject to greater scrutiny than in the past. For more applicants than previously, a personal appearance will be a required as a standard part of visa processing. Additionally, applicants who are affected by security review procedures are informed, when they submit their applications, of the need for additional screening and to expect delays
The Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg, Kentucky, has registered and notified the winners of the DV-2004 diversity lottery. The diversity lottery was conducted under the terms of section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and makes available *50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Approximately 111,000 applicants have been registered and notified and may now make an application for an immigrant visa. Since it is likely that some of the first *50,000 persons registered will not pursue their cases to visa issuance, this larger figure should insure that all DV-2004 numbers will be used during fiscal year 2004 (October 1, 2003 until September 30, 2004).
Applicants registered for the DV-2004 program were selected at random from the approximately 7.3 million qualified entries received during the one-month application period that ran from Noon on October 7, 2002 through Noon on November 6, 2002. An additional 2.9 million applications were either received outside of the mail-in period or were disqualified for failing to properly follow directions. The visas have been apportioned among six geographic regions, with a maximum of seven percent available to persons born in any single country. During the visa interview, principal applicants must provide proof of a high school education or its equivalent or show two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience within the past five years. Those selected will need to act on their immigrant visa applications quickly. Applicants should follow the instructions in their notification letter and must fully complete the information requested.
The Green Card Lottery USA Association announces new summer service fees.details.
USA\GCLA staff wishes a happy 4th of July celebration to all our members.