The United States Embassy in Colombo announced that the 2014 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program, popularly known as the Green Card Lottery, will be accepting on-line applications starting from today (October 2).The Diversity Visa Lottery allows 50,000 randomly selected applicants an opportunity to legally live and work or study in the United States each year, so long as they are selected and are born in a qualifying country (Sri Lanka and the Maldives both qualify) and that they meet either an educational or work experience qualification, the Embassy said in a release. The applicants are instructed to visit www.dvlottery.state.gov to apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery. The online application for the Diversity Visa Lottery is completely free. The lottery application period will be open from October 2, 2012 to November 3, 2012.Individuals wishing to participate in the visa lottery are strongly urged to apply early to avoid any possible delays. An applicant may only apply once; more than one entry will result in automatic disqualification. The Embassy warns the applicants to be wary of any companies or intermediaries offering assistance to prepare Diversity Visa applications since they do so without the authority or consent of the U.S. Government.As the U.S. Government does not employ anyone outside of the U.S. Government to operate the visa lottery program, the Embassy says to be beware of persons or companies making claims of affiliation with the U.S. Government or promising improved odds of selection.”Use of any outside intermediary or assistance to prepare a Diversity Visa entry is entirely at the applicant’s discretion. Every entry received during the lottery registration period will have an equally random chance of being selected within its region. However, receipt of more than one entry per person will disqualify the person from registration, regardless of the source of the entry,” the Embassy said in the release.More information about the program, as well as detailed instructions in English, Sinhala and Tamil, can be found at the U.S. Embassy Colombo’s website at: srilanka.usembassy.gov/visas/diversity-visa-lottery-program.html.Beginning approximately May 1, 2013, applicants may go online to www.dvlottery.state.gov to check the status of their application with their confirmation numbers. Winners will not be notified by postal mail, e-mail, or telephone calls. The results of the applicants’ entry and the instructions on how to obtain an appointment will only be available through the website www.dvlottery.state.gov. Applicants who qualify will then have a one-year window in which they may immigrate to the United States.