Monrovia – The new Diversity Visa (DV) regulation which states that an applicant should have a valid passport before his or her application is accepted is creating a stumbling block for many Liberians who are without passports are hoping to enter the lottery.
The new regulation for the DV 2021 requires the principal applicant to present his or her valid passport number, country of issuance, and expiration date before any entry can be accepted.
“This requirement applies to the principal entrant only, not to dependents. You must enter valid international travel passport information unless you are stateless, a national of a communist-controlled country and unable to obtain a passport from the government of the communist-controlled country or the beneficiary of an individual waiver approved by the secretary of the homeland security and the secretary of state,” states a release from Kentucky, headquarters of the DV.
A FrontPageAfrica reporter observes that on the first day of the DV 2021 many internet cafés in Monrovia were experiencing a very poor turnout because of the new rule.
Paul Flomo operates City Café on Benson Street in Central Monrovia. He’s worried that the new regulation will affect his flow of customers. At the same time, he says it might improve the process.
“I think the United States government is trying to stop the duplication- where people try to play more than one time. It is the first time and it is happening everywhere DV is played not only in Liberia,” Flomo said.
“I think what the US government can do every time is to improve the DV process. Like Before, there was no confirmation number but they brought in confirmation number and now the United States government is requesting for a passport number.”
“The only disappointment here is that most Liberians do not have passports; so, the number of people that will play this year will not be like before,” he added.
The passport division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes more than a week for an individual to get a passport.
Flomo says many people that do not have passports are said to be making their way to the Ministry to obtain their passport before the DV 2021 time comes to a close.
“We just started but I am not seeing more people coming like before. Only a few people that have passports are coming to play DV. Many people told me that they are now going to get their passport,” he said.
James Doe, an applicant, told FrontPage Africa that his passport will expire next year. That, according to the new regulation, denies him from applying for the DV 2021.
The new regulation states that an applicant’s passport needs to be valid until 2021 before their application can be accepted.
Doe says he does not have money to get a new passport, which cost US$50.
“Already, the country is faced with economic hardship; this new regulation has created a blockade for people like us,” he said.
Another person who was also prevented from playing the 2021 DV is Grace Dickson.
Dickson wants to get a valid passport before the end of the process.
“This is my first time making an attempt to play DV and I just cannot miss it. I am going to make sure to get my passport from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” she said.