Fifty thousand people from around the world each year receive visas to come to the U.S. through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program.
Created by Congress in 1990, the program is intended to boost racial and ethnic diversity in the United States, according to the State Department.
Winners, chosen randomly from a pool of millions of participants, are granted permanent resident status after completing an application process.
Registration is free and must be completed online between October 3, 2007 and December 2, 2007 for the 2009 lottery.
Natives of some countries with high rates of immigration to the U.S. are not eligible, but all Arab nations do qualify.
The 2007 lottery turned out 86 winners from Lebanon, 80 from Iraq, 63 from Jordan, 43 from Yemen and 40 from Syria.
To qualify for the visa, applicants must have a high school education or its equivalent, defined by the State Department as “a successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education, or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.”
Spouses and children of winners are also offered visas, but their photos and information must also be submitted with the initial registration.
Entries must be submitted online at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period.
Digital photographs that meet required specifications must be submitted.
Full instructions for the 2009 Diversity Visa Lottery are available at //travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1318.html.
The State Department warns against attempting to enter late in as two-month registration period because excessive demand might slow down the system as the deadline nears.
For more information, visit //usinfo.state.gov.