The 1990 immigration laws created a new basis for obtaining permanent residence that allows foreign nationals to apply for permanent resident status without the sponsorship of a relative or employer: the Diversity Visa Lottery. The D-V-1 immigrant visa program allots 50,000 visas annually to foreign nationals of certain qualified countries. The foreign national must be a native of one of the eligible countries and have at least a high school education or two years work experience in an occupation that requires experience or training. The D-V-1 visa lottery has figuratively divided the world into different regions, including Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Each region is allotted a certain number of visas, with the lowest number of visas going to the region with the highest number of immigration over the past several years. The applicant must follow very precise filing instructions and submit the application to the state department during the filing period for that particular year. The filing period is usually announced one to two months before applications will be accepted. Once the filing period is terminated, a computer will randomly select applicants by region, and the selected applicants must then apply for permanent residence, either at a foreign consulate, or with the I-N-S. Nationals of the following countries are ineligible for the D-V-2000 (D V two thousand) lottery program: Canada, Columbia, Haiti, Macau, Poland, as well as the U-K and dependent territories, except for Northern Ireland. For more information on the diversity visa lottery, consult an immigration attorney in your area.