Applications for 55,000 permanent residence visas allotted through the federal government's Diversity Visa Lottery 2000 program will be accepted Oct. 1-31.
Designed to improve the diversity of the U.S. population, the lottery grants visas to applicants from countries with low immigration rates.
The program does not grant visas to applicants from countries with more than 50,000 U.S. immigrants in the last five years.
Natives of Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Vietnam are not eligible.
However, individuals from ineligible countries with spouses from eligible countries can claim their spouses' native country rather than their own, said Felipe Kofman, Outreach Coordinator for the San Juan Macias Orientation Immigrant Center. Employees there will assist anyone interested in applying for the Diversity Visa Lottery 2000.
"We'll help individuals fill out the application and mail it to the appropriate address, and we'll take a photo of them required for the application," Kofman said.
The fee for a photo, application assistance and mailing is $15, Kofman said.
The lottery will begin in October 1999. Visas will then be issued each month through September 2000 until all 55,000 have been awarded, Kofman said.
The San Juan Macias Orientation Immigrant Center is a nonprofit, Immigration and Naturalization Service-accredited organization established 20 years ago. It was created to help orient and educate newly arrived immigrants from throughout the world, Kofman said.
The center is at 13672 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima.
For more information about the Diversity Visa Lottery 2000, call (818) 896-1156.