Diversity visas provide an immigration opportunity to aliens from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Diversity visa applicants must apply online, be selected by lottery, be interviewed, and be determined to be eligible before obtaining a diversity visa. GAO was asked to review (1) the extent to which the Diversity Visa Program (DV program) is diversifying the U.S. immigrant pool, (2) areas of the DV program that are vulnerable to fraud, (3) whether there are security implications associated with these vulnerabilities, and (4) what steps the Department of State (State) has taken to address the vulnerabilities. We reviewed laws, regulations, and other documentation, and interviewed numerous State officials both at headquarters and in the field.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of State||To strengthen its management of the DV program, the Department of State should compile more comprehensive data on the DV program, including information on (1) detected or suspected fraud, including data on "pop-up" spouses, third party involvement, and identity and document fraud; and (2) the amount of fraud prevention resources being spent on DV investigations.|
|Department of State||To strengthen its management of the DV program, the Department of State should use collected data to formulate a strategy to combat fraud in the DV program. This strategy should include: (1) proposals for legislative changes, if deemed necessary to mitigate fraud risks; (2) consideration of appropriate fraud prevention resources at each DV-issuing post; and (3) operational improvements to strengthen the program, including making the notification process less vulnerable to interception by third parties and exploring the feasibility of certifying some visa agents or partnering with nongovernmental entities to assist applicants with entering the lottery.|