Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims that American Visa Lottery Application Forms are available for people to apply online for the 2021/2022 visa lottery. The message has been shared many times with the indication that Nigerians can also apply for the American Visa Lottery and can legally migrate to the United States of America.
Nigerian citizens are not eligible for the American Visa Lottery at the moment; therefore, the message is inapplicable to Nigerians. Therefore, the claim is misleading.
The viral WhatsApp message, which has been shared many times across many groups over the last one week, claims that the American Visa Lottery Application Form 2021/2022 is now open, and that people can now go online to register for the lottery, with a prompt to go to the website https://visaslottery.com/Apply_Now to check their eligibility and register.
This researcher visited the website, https://visaslottery.com/Apply_Now to ascertain its genuineness. The website is inaccessible, and potentially insecure, as all attempts to explore it were unsuccessful.
Beware of Fraudsters and Scammers
A check on the website of the United States Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria indicates that ‘Nigerians are no longer eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery.’ It warned Nigerians to beware of fraudulent websites and scam emails that are lurking around to mislead people, warning:
‘Beware of fraud and scams. Some websites and emails attempt to mislead customers, posing as providers of official U.S. government information. Read our Fraud Warning here.’
The Cable reported in 2020 that Nigeria is the only African country currently excluded from participating in the 2022 US diversity visa (DV) lottery and that the exclusion of Nigeria dates back to 2015. Before 2015, according to documents seen by TheCable, more than three million entries were received from Nigerians for the DV lottery in 2013 and 2014.
Within the same two-year period preceding 2015, among African countries, Nigerians were issued the second highest number of slots in the DV lottery — after Egypt; Nigerians received 5,741 visas for both years, while Egypt natives got 6,883 within the same period.
The Immigration Act of 1990 established the Diversity Visa (DV) program, where 55,000 immigrant visas would be available in an annual lottery, starting in fiscal year 1995. The lottery aims to diversify the immigrant population in the United States, by selecting applicants mostly from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States in the previous five years.
This researcher sent an email to an official of the U.S. State Department, Temitayo Famutimi. In a reply to the mail, Famutimi stated that the website in circulation on social media in Nigeria regarding the Visa lottery is not genuine: “The circulating image/website is not genuine. Complete information on the program can be found at Diversity Visa Instructions.
“Only citizens from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States are eligible to apply for the diversity visa program. Currently, Nigerian citizens are not eligible.
“Our websites ––United States Embassy, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Visa Information Service –– and other U.S. government sites are the only reliable sources of information for our programs and announcements.”
The United States State Department has debunked the claim contained in the viral message, stating also that the website attached to the message is not genuine. An official of the U.S. Department of also stated that Nigerian citizens are currently ineligible for the American Visa Lottery; therefore, the claim is misleading, and poses danger to those who may want to click on the website to register.
The researcher produced this fact-check per Splash FM 105.5, Ibadan with the Dubawa 2021 fellowship partnership, to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.