From The World Journal
December 27, 2003
The Diversity Visa (DV) program, generally known as the "greencard
lottery", raised some confusion among applicants this year.
The program, which used to accept paper application, accepts only
electronic applications this year. The format of the photos caused
many headaches for people who are inexperienced in handling electronic
A waitress, surnamed Liao, who works in a teahouse in Downtown
Manhattan, said she asked her friend to scan her passport photo
but it was rejected by the system set up by the U. S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS). She and her friends spent hours
figuring out the proper format of the photo before the application
was successfully submitted.
According to the USCIS, among the countries and regions with large
ethnic Chinese population, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand are eligible for the program. Mainland
China was excluded because of its large number of incoming immigrants
to the U.S. every year.
The program, which has no entry fee, is no different from the past.
The USCIS asks applicants to provide basic personal data, including
etc. However, all of the information has
to be filled out online.
In addition, the program's website provides a list of countries
and regions that are politically defined by the USCIS for applicants
to select instead of allowing them to choose their own term. Applicants
from Taiwan can only select "China-Taiwan" instead of
However, the most difficult part of the application is the photo.
On the website, there is a "photo validator", which is
used to verify whether the photo submitted meets the requirement.
Applicants can upload the photo using the validator and get an instant
response. The required format is 320x240 pixels for scanned photos
and 300x300 pixels for photos taken with a digital camera. If the
photo submitted does not meet the requirement, there will be warning
in red to alert applicants.
An owner of a photo studio on Grand Street said he is not aware
of the format required by the USCIS. He said although many of his
customers ask him to save their digital photo onto a disc, no one
has ever requested a specific format.
The 2005 DV program will randomly select 100,000 people from all
the applicants but will only issue permanent residency to 50,000
people after the USCIS screens their qualifications. For more information,
go to http://www.dvlottery.state.gov
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Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung