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State Dept. proceeding with visa draw

The State Department is set to proceed with its naming of winners for the 2012 diversity visa lottery beginning this Friday, July 15, this despite legal action arising from an earlier computer error that left thousands thinking they had won a coveted visa - only to be told they had not.

"Starting on or about July 15, 2011, through June 30, 2012, all entrants may check the status of their entries through the Entry Status Check on the E-DV website," the State Department website states in relation to the 50,000 winners who will be able to avail of a visa in this, the latest annual allocation.

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As many as 22,000 applicants, including a number of Irish hopefuls, had previously believed they had won a visa but the State Department, blaming a computer glitch, said they were premature in this belief, though they were not ultimately excluded from winning a 2012 visa in the eventual, valid, draw.

"We regret to inform you that, due to a computer programming problem, the results of the 2012 Diversity Lottery that were previously posted on this website have been voided. They were not valid and were posted in error. The results were not valid because they did not represent a fair, random selection of entrants, as required by U.S. law," the State Department website said in a statement after the glitch.

"If you checked this website during the first week in May and found a notice that you had been selected for further processing or a notice that you had not been selected, that notice has been rescinded and is no longer valid. A new selection process will be conducted based on the original entries for the 2012 program. We expect the results of the new selection process to be available on this website on or about July 15, 2011," the statement added.

That means at the end of this week those who first though they were in lucky will find out if they still are. This includes those Irish applicants who have signed on to a class action suit filed by a Los Angeles-based law firm.

The three-pronged legal action taken by attorney Kenneth White includes an injunction motion seeking an interim judgment ahead of the scheduled July 15 drawing.