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United States: New Visa Lottery Announced

Washington, 19 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - The United States has announced a new visa lottery for 1997 that will give winners the chance to move to America and settle there permanently.

The lottery will award a total of 55,000 U.S. immigrant visas worldwide by random computer selection to those that fulfil all the requirements.

The U.S. State Department says entries can be mailed in over a period of 30 days from February 3 to March 5 next year.

The visa lottery is an annual event mandated by the U.S. Congress to give people in countries with low emigration rates to the United States an opportunity to even the balance.

Some 25 countries that already have high emigration rates to the United States will be excluded from the 1997 lottery.

For example, Poles won the most visas in the last visa lottery but can no longer enter the 1997 event. People from China, India, Vietnam, and Canada, as well as the United Kingdom are also among those excluded from the 1997 lottery.

The State Department says all other countries in Europe are eligible, along with all countries of the former Soviet Union.

Details of the rules and regulations for the 1997 U.S. visa lottery can be obtained from U.S. embassies and consulates.