If you want to live and work in the United States, you can apply for a visa or green card. But if you don’t qualify for any of these options, check out the Green Card Lottery, which offers 50,000 eligible immigrants the opportunity to immigrate to the United States each year. A “winner” is randomly selected, can receive a visa, and apply for a green card.
Before you get too excited, you should know that you must also meet certain criteria to apply for the Green Card Lottery. An NYC Immigration attorney with ample experience with the process and procedure for application will leave no room for errors while an activity as minute as a free immigration consultation prior to your application can save you the headaches.
Below, we describe the program and walk you through each step of the process.
What is the Green Card Lottery?
The green card lottery, officially known as the Diversity Visa program, is a program that allows people from certain countries to apply for permanent residency in the United States. The program is designed to promote diversity in the United States by giving individuals from countries with low immigration rates a chance to obtain a green card.
If you receive a green card through the Diversity Visa program, you will have the right to live and work permanently in the United States. You will also be eligible to apply for US citizenship after a certain period.
Green Card Lottery Requirements
To qualify for the green card lottery, there are several requirements that an applicant must meet:
Country of eligibility:
Not all countries are eligible for the Diversity Visa program. The US State Department publishes a list of eligible countries each year, and if you are a citizen of one of those countries, you may apply.
Education or work experience:
To be eligible for the green card lottery, you must have either a high school diploma or its equivalent or at least two years of work experience in a qualifying occupation.
As for qualifying occupations, you must have at least two years of work experience in a position that requires at least two years of prior educational training (from the past five years).
The green card lottery is only open for a limited time each year, usually in October and November. Applications must be submitted online during this period, and all applications must be on time.
Other eligibility requirements:
Applicants must also meet other eligibility requirements, such as not having a criminal record, not having been previously deported from the United States, and not violating US immigration laws.
Which countries can’t participate in the green card lottery?
For 2023, a person born in the following countries will not be eligible to participate in the Green Card Lottery because more than 50,000 of her immigrants from each country have immigrated to the United States in the past five years. They are:
- China (including Hong Kong SAR)
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- South Korea
- United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland and its dependent territories)
If you are from one of these countries, there are two exceptions to this rule, and you can still participate in the lottery.
- Suppose your spouse is from a country with historically low immigration rates. In that case, that country of origin can be listed as your country of origin as long as both enter the United States together.
- If your parents were not born in the country of origin of immigration, you could list the country in which your parents were born if the immigration rate to the United States is low.
How to Submit a Green Card Application
All Green Card Lottery applications must be submitted electronically by visiting the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website. Only on-time arrivals and multiple entries will be eligible for the lottery.
Upon submission, you will receive a confirmation number as soon as you apply, which should be kept safe. If you lose your confirmation number, you will not be able to check the status of your application. Applicants and persons accompanying them to the United States must include the following on their application:
- Birth certificate
- Photocopy of valid passport biographic data page
- Court and Prison Records
- Police certificates
What happens if you win the green card lottery?
Being selected for the Green Card Lottery is a reason to celebrate, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will get a visa. It’s smart to speak to an NYC immigration lawyer so you can be certain of what you need to do and when to complete each step. There are a few more steps in this process.
Submit the Visa Application
A select number of visas offered each year will be granted to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, if you are selected in the green card lottery, please complete Form DS-260 and submit your immigrant visa application as soon as possible. All family members living with you must also complete this form.
After completing Form DS-260, print the confirmation page. Please be sure to bring it with you at the time of your interview. You will also need to upload supporting documents such as a birth certificate, police clearance certificate, and a copy of your passport’s biographical information page.
The consular center will email you the time, date, and location of your interview after you submit your DS-260. Everyone included in your visa application (such as your spouse and any children you share) attend this interview.
It’s best to come to the interview with specific and compelling reasons to immigrate to the United States and a plan for you and your family when you arrive. Consular officers conduct interviews with strict time constraints (sometimes you only have 2-3 minutes) and will keep your conversation brief.
Having an immigration lawyer NYC after a proper free immigration consultation will give you the knowledge to scale the interview session successfully.
At the end of your interview, the consular officer will tell you how and when they will return your passport with your DV inside (meaning your visa has been approved or not).
If you’re approved
You will receive a sealed immigration package containing all the documents you need to present to US Customs upon arrival in the United States. Do not open the package. (Only customs officers can open it.) Immigrants must arrive at a US port of entry and obtain permission to enter before their visa expires.
If you’re not approved
At the end of your interview, the consular officer should provide you with a reason for the denial of the visa. If you are unsure of the reason, it is important to ask for clarification. It can be helpful to have the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer NYC if you are denied entry to the United States or if your visa application is not approved.
A lawyer can review the reasons for the denial and provide advice on what steps to take to improve your chances of success on a future visa application.
In conclusion, if you are a citizen of an eligible country, have the required education or work experience, and meet the other eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to apply for the green card lottery.
However, the program is highly competitive, and receiving a green card through the Diversity Visa program is not guaranteed. If you do decide to apply, it is safe to employ the services of an immigration lawyer NYC from the onset.
Speak with an Immigration Lawyer
An immigration attorney NYC plays a critical role in the application process for individuals seeking to apply for the green card lottery in the United States. These legal professionals provide vital guidance and support to help clients navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape involved.
Opting for a free immigration consultation with an immigration lawyer NYC can make all the difference. Without the help of immigration attorneys, individuals may struggle to understand the legal requirements and procedures necessary to achieve their immigration goals.
Therefore, hiring an experienced immigration attorney NYC can significantly improve the chances of a successful outcome and save time, money, and stress in the process. At Gehi and Associates, we understand the intricacies that come with the process of applying and qualifying for a green card lottery.
We are committed to providing our clients with the best possible assistance and guidance throughout the process. Our experienced NYC immigration attorneys will help you navigate the paperwork, deadlines, and regulations of the green card lottery.
We will ensure that your application is complete and accurate so that you have the highest chance of success. Furthermore, we will provide you with a free immigration consultation to help you understand the process and answer any questions. Contact us today for professional consultation on how to make your green card lottery application successful.