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If you’re applying for the Diversity Visa Lottery, beware of scams. The State Department will never e-mail you or ask for money to apply.

2014 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration is from October 2 - November 3

Online registration for the 2014 Diversity Visa Lottery will begin on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and end on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).

This congressionally mandated program makes available up to 55,000 diversity visas every year. Winners are randomly drawn from the people who enter and meet strict eligibility requirements. In order to be eligible, you must be from a country with low rates of immigration to the United States and meet the education or work experience requirements.

If you plan to apply, watch out for fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. government websites. Some companies posing as the U.S. government have sought money in order to “complete” DV entry forms. There is no charge to download and complete the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. To learn more, see the Department of State warning.

Find out if you’re eligible to enter the Diversity Visa Lottery and learn how to apply.

What You Need to Know about ‘Deferred Action’

Some immigrants who were brought to the country as children can now apply for deferred action, a program that allows you to remain in the country and apply for work permits.

The program has strict requirements and includes filing several forms, as well as a background check and evidence of eligibility. Here are the basics of the program, and links to official government information for more details.

What Is Deferred Action (And What Isn’t)

Deferred action allows certain people who were brought to the United States as children to remain here and apply for renewable two-year work permits. It does not give beneficiaries a path to citizenship or lawful permanent residency. The program will remain in effect at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security.

Who Can Benefit from the Program

To qualify for the program, you must be under 31 years as of June 15, 2012 and arrived in the United States before turning 16. You must also undergo a background check to show that you did not commit certain types of crimes. The program is also open to certain people who are currently under deportation proceedings. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency in charge of implementing the program, has a list of the requirements for deferred action (PDF).

How the Application Process Works

To apply, you must file three forms:

  • 821D to request deferred action
  • I-765 to apply for employment authorization
  • I-765WS, a worksheet to establish the applicant’s employment needs

The total cost of applying is $465. Where to apply depends on where you live. See USCIS to find out where to send a deferred action application and follow these filing tips.

Application Errors Can Be Costly

Be careful not to make mistakes when applying for deferred action. Errors might delay the process or worse; it might result in the denial of an application. Although there is a process to reconsider applications denied due to certain mistakes, USCIS’s decisions are final, and cannot be appealed. Applicants who misrepresent themselves on the applications to benefit from deferred action will be considered a high priority for deportation.

Scammers Are Promising Quick Processing Times

Scammers might promise expedited processing of deferred action for a fee. Applicants should know that this program does not offer expedited processing. The best way to avoid scams is by only trusting official government information. Applicants who need legal advice can find an accredited immigration attorney and other legal services at USCIS.

For more information on deferred action visit USCIS.gov or call 1 (800) 375-5283.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security began accepting requests for “deferred action” status from people who were brought into the United States as children. Deferred action status would allow these people to remain in the United States and make them eligible to receive a work permit.

Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply for deferred action status at http://www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals

Were You Brought Into the United States as a Child? Here’s What You Need To Know

Certain children who were brought to the United States may be eligible to remain in the country and get a work authorization permit. They will need to meet certain requirements and complete a background check.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency in charge of setting up an application process. It should be up and running sometime in mid-August. Meanwhile, don’t apply or your application will be rejected.

USCIS recommends you follow these tips:

DO:

  • Visit www.uscis.gov to learn more about the announcement, eligibility criteria and to find the latest updates.
  • Contact USCIS for more information at 1-800-375-5283.
  • Visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams to learn more about how you can avoid becoming a victim of an immigration service scam.

DO NOT:

  • Pay anyone who claims they can request deferred action on your behalf or apply for employment authorization through this new process before USCIS announces an implementation date.
  • Send an application seeking work authorization related to this process.

Visit USCIS for more information about the program or call 1-800-375-5283. They can answer your questions in English or Spanish.