US Embassy in Colombo announces 2019 Green Card Lottery

The US Embassy in Colombo warned applicants to beware of scams, of persons or companies making claims of affiliation with the U.S. Government, andof those who promise improved odds of selection.  No third party assistance is needed to complete and submit an application.The only way to apply is online at Beginning in early May 2018, applicants can go online to the Entrant Status Check page on to see if they have been selected for the Diversity Visa program.  Those selected will be asked to submit additional information and will be notified when they are selected for an interview. The program is the “2019” lottery because applicants enter in 2017, interview in 2018, and—if selected and approved—receive Green Cards in 2019.   The in-person interview will be with a U.S. Consular Officer, who will decide if the applicant is eligible to receive the visa – documents required will include medical and police clearance and payment of visa fees at the Embassy. (Colombo Gazette) The lottery application entry period is open from October 3, 2017 to November 7, 2017. The lottery is open to those born in qualifying countries – both Sri Lanka and Maldives qualify. Applicants can only apply once; multiple entries will result in disqualification. Applicants must meet all qualifications for the Diversity Visa Lottery. Applicants should keep the application confirmation number  received after applying. There is no cost to register for the Diversity Visa Lottery.  The US Embassy in Colombo today announced the start of the 2019 Diversity Visa Lottery Program, also known as the “Green Card” Lottery. The program will be open for online registration from October 3, 2017 to November 7, 2017.  The Diversity Visa Lottery allows randomly selected applicants the opportunity to interview for an immigrant visa and become legal permanent residents of the United States.   read more

Closure of Chechen refugee camps could endanger safe haven principle UN

In a meeting yesterday in Geneva with Ingushetia’s President, Murat Zyazikov, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ruud Lubbers voiced his concern over a recent announcement by Russian officials that the three remaining tented camps will be closed prior to presidential elections in the Russian Federation in March.Mr. Lubbers was reassured by Mr. Zyazikov, who said he was personally committed to respecting the principle of voluntary return, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told a news briefing in Geneva today. Nearly 66,800 people fleeing the fighting in neighbouring Chechnya are registered for assistance in Ingushetia, with most of them in temporary settlements or private accommodation, but 7,069 people are still registered in three tented camps. Mr. Lubbers reiterated his wish to promote a positive engagement of the international humanitarian community through a two-pronged approach in which safe haven would be guaranteed in Ingushetia for those not wishing to return, while those returning of their own free choice would receive increased support from humanitarian agencies operating at a higher level in Chechnya. Representatives of the Chechnya administration have been soliciting applications for compensation for destroyed housing and lost property in Chechnya. Planned at approximately $10,000 per family, such compensation – if actually paid – would constitute a major incentive for return, but the authorities acknowledge that a number of refugees will choose to remain in Ingushetia or elsewhere. While the refugees continue to cite insecurity in Chechnya as their primary reservation to return, lack of shelter there is also a major constraint, Mr. Janowski said. read more