U.S. Embassy Baghdad Warns of Diversity Visa Scams
The U.S. Embassy Baghdad urges Iraqi citizens and residents to use caution when working with private entities to apply for visas to the United States. Reports of fraudulent e-mails, websites, and print advertisements offering visa services are on the rise.
The Diversity Visa program (“DV program,” also known as the “Green Card Lottery”) offers up to 55,000 visa slots annually for people who wish to immigrate to the United States. After conducting a random drawing, the U.S. Department of State contacts applicants directly, advising them to check the status of their applications online at dvlottery.state.gov. Applicants may only verify status online; no information on an application’s status is sent by letter or e-mail. Unsuccessful applicants have no further recourse but to apply again next year.
Only the U.S. Department of State is authorized to notify DV program applicants of their status. Unfortunately, fraudsters posing as DV program officials have targeted Iraqis. The scam e-mail instructs recipients to send money via Western Union to a fictitious person at the U.S. Embassy in London. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should money be sent to any address for participation in the DV program. Immigration information and forms are free and available to all at the Department of State (www.state.gov) and U.S. Embassy Baghdad (iraq.usembassy.gov) websites.
The only way to register for the DV program is directly through the Department of State website during a limited-time registration period; DV-2015 applicants may register between October 1 and November 2, 2013, and will be able to check the status of their entry for free at dvlottery.state.gov starting on May 1, 2014. DV2014 entrants (those who entered the DV lottery between October 2 and November 3, 2012) may check their status at dvlottery.state.gov through June 30, 2014, and should keep their confirmation letter until September 30, 2014.
To report incidents of visa fraud, please e-mail the Embassy at BaghdadIV@state.gov. Complaints about scam e-mails may be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice (www.usdoj.gov/spam.htm).