UNCLAS STATE 060013
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: REQUIREMENT THAT DV APPLICANT SIGN IN "NATIVE"
Ref: (A) 02 Abu Dhabi 5769 (B) 02 Riyadh 6740
(-C) 02 State 155627 (D) 67 Fed Reg 154 (Aug 9, 2002)
1. Summary. The regulations for the DV-2003 lottery (22
CFR (9 FAM) 42.33(b)(2)) require that the applicant
personally sign the lottery entry using the applicant's
"usual and customary signature" and "in his or her native
alphabet." The regulations, however, do not define what
is meant by the applicant's "native" alphabet. In
general, posts can interpret "native" flexibly in this
context to mean the alphabet that the alien normally uses
in his/her writing, speaking, or signing, without regard
to whether that is the alphabet that is in predominant use
in the alien's country of birth or habitual residence.
The ultimate focus should be on whether post is satisfied
that the applicant did in fact sign the lottery entry and
did not submit multiple entries, and the form of alphabet
used should be examined with this underlying purpose in
mind. End Summary.
2. Refs A and B sought guidance on the regulatory
requirement, introduced this fiscal year, that DV
applicants sign their lottery entries using their "native"
alphabet. Reftels point out that, in certain parts of the
world, an alien born or living in a predominantly non-
English speaking country may have been raised or educated
in English, and/or the Roman alphabet may be the customary
form in which to make one's signature. Reftels also note
that the public DV instructions advised applicants to sign
in one's native alphabet, "as it would appear on his/her
passport or other official or contractual obligations,"
and sought guidance on cases involving aliens who are non-
native English speakers but whose passports are often in
English and who sign their passports using Roman letters.
3. In light of these questions, Department provides the
following clarification of the term "native" in this
--If the alien was raised or educated in English, or
normally uses English at home or in business dealings,
then in Department's view, the Roman alphabet can be
considered the alien's "native" alphabet, even if the
English language and the Roman alphabet may be not be
predominant in the alien's country of birth or residence.
--If it is customary in the alien's culture or country of
birth or residence to use a Roman alphabet signature for
official documents, such as passports, contracts, etc.,
then the Roman alphabet can be considered the alien's
"native" alphabet for DV lottery purposes, even if the
Roman alphabet is not the predominant alphabet in the
alien's country of birth or residence and even if the
alien does not normally communicate in English.
--If, however, the Roman alphabet is not the predominant
alphabet in the alien's country of birth or residence, and
if the alien was not raised or educated in English and
does not normally use English at home or in business, and
if signing official documents in Roman alphabet is not
customary in the alien's culture or country of birth or
residence, then the English/Roman alphabet would not be
considered the alien's "native" alphabet for DV lottery
4. In applying the above rules, posts should keep in mind
that the "native alphabet" and other signature
requirements were intended to combat fraud, with the
principal goals being to identify possible imposters and
to deter multiple, slightly different lottery entries
submitted by the same alien. Posts should apply these
rules with these underlying purposes in mind, and if post
is confident that the applicant is not an imposter and if
there are no signs of multiple entries through submission
of slightly varied entries, and if it was reasonable in
the context of the particular case for the alien to have
used the alphabet he/she used on the lottery signature,
then disqualification of the case on the ground that the
signature was not in the alien's "native" alphabet
generally would not be necessary.