Computer glitch forces redo of U.S. visa lottery; Some 'winners' will lose out

By MATTHEW LEE | May 13, 2011 | 10:28 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says its annual worldwide lottery for U.S. immigration visas was corrupted by a computer glitch and the results will be scratched, disappointing tens of thousands of would-be immigrants who were notified this year that they had won a chance to come and live legally in the United States.

A department official said Friday the software glitch caused the drawing to select 90 percent of winners from entries submitted on only the first two days of the 30-day registration period that ended Nov. 3. The official said the problem has been fixed. A new lottery will be held with winners announced on July 15.

Nearly 15 million people had entered the lottery, which allows 50,000 entrants a year to apply for immigrant visas without a sponsor.