Applicants for the U.S. State Department’s 2006 green card lottery must file electronically and should be careful to go to the official site, Mark Newman, head of immigration law at the Atlanta firm of Troutman Sanders LLP, told GlobalAtlanta last week.

He said that other sites may provide the same information as the official site, but unlike the State Department’s site, a fee is charged.

“Ten million people applied last year,” Mr. Newman said. “Just think how much an unscrupulous Internet-savvy operator could earn from unknowing applicants.”

The applicants are randomly chosen through a computer-generated lottery drawing. Applications not submitted during the 60-day period will not be eligible. A total of 50,000 applicants will be selected to become permanent residents during Fiscal Year 2006 from Oct. 1, 2005, to Sept. 30, 2006.

Natives of Canada, mainland China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and Vietnam are not eligible because each country sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years.

For more information, Mr. Newman may be reach by email at