I recently came across a website inviting me to register for the U.S. Green Card Lottery. I’ve begun filling out all the necessary online forms, including my financial information, but I can’t help but wonder if this whole “Diversity Visa” thing is a scam; the lottery seems almost too good to be true! Any advice?
Dear Mr. Gonzalez,
While the Diversity Visa program is a genuine initiative of the U.S. Department of State, Philippine citizens are not eligible to submit their names for the annual lottery. This is because the Diversity Visa is not available to natives of countries which have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States within the past five years; the Philippines sent over 50,000 immigrants to the United States in 2010 alone. Indeed, because the rate of Philippine immigration to the United States is so high, it is unlikely that individuals born in the Philippines will ever be eligible to apply for the Diversity Visa.
Therefore, the website you mention is indeed a scam. Remember that only a website URL ending in “.gov” is an official U.S. government website, and that the U.S. government will never request your financial information directly through email. For more detailed information on the types of the Diversity Visa scams that you may encounter, please see U.S. Embassy Manila’s fraud alert. You may also wish to read more about the Diversity Visa at USCIS and the Department of State.