The Diversity Visa Program (DVP) is one of the many ways non-citizens can become permanent US residents. It is a free lottery that non-citizens worldwide can enter to get green cards to live and work in the US. You do not have to have a family member or work with an American citizen or legal permanent resident to apply for your green card. Every year, the diversity visa draw is held to give 50,000 people worldwide a chance to live and work in the United States.
The DVP has been running since 1995, and it is also known as the Green Card lottery because winners get a green card to come and work in the US. It is a great chance to start a fresh life in the US. The DVP has strict rules, which makes going through the process confusing for novices. This is one of the reasons you should talk to an immigration attorney in Texas if you would like to enjoy the DVP. If you want an easy way into the US through the DVP, here is some vital info you should know.
What is the DVP?
The DVP is run by the US Department of State to help bring more immigrants to the US. Every year, over 50,000 people from countries that do not send a lot of immigrants to the US are randomly chosen to get permanent residency, also known as a green card. It is a way for people and families who could not legally move to the US to get green cards. The DVP (the green card lottery) is a free and easy way to get green cards.
It is held every year from the beginning of October to the end of November. All you have to do is fill out a simple online form, and you are in! A computer randomly chooses the winners, and their families get green cards. People are randomly chosen from all applicants from countries with low immigration rates to the US. Every year, eligible countries are chosen, and the visa application process is only open briefly.
Being selected for the diversity visa does not mean you are an immigrant. You still have to apply and meet the requirements if you win the lottery. The chances of being selected are slim to none, and the average number of people applying for the Diversity Visa is 13.3 million a year. But you can increase your chances of success by doing what you need to do with the help of an immigration attorney in Texas.
How it all started
The DVP is a program started by Congress in 1990 to help immigrants from underrepresented countries gain permanent residency in the US. It is run by the US Department of State and randomly selects over 50,000 immigrants yearly. The number of diversity visas is set by law at 55,000 a year, but since 2000, Congress has been reducing that to 50,000 yearly. It is called a “temporary reduction,” but no expiration date exists.
In 2017, the US government said it will stay that way for as long as it needs to. However, 55,000 diversity visas were issued in the fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Most of these winners go on to get green cards, and most of them lived outside the US when they won their lottery.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for the DVP, you must meet some requirements:
1. Born in an eligible country.
If you want to apply for the Diversity Visa, you need to be born in one of the eligible countries. These countries have not sent immigrants to the US in the last five years. If your country of birth is not eligible for the lottery, but you meet one of these birth country eligibility requirements, you can still apply. For example, your spouse, who you are applying with, was born in one of these countries. You can choose their country of birth when you apply.
Also, if your parents were born in these eligible countries but were neither legal residents in your country of birth, It is vital to know that the list of eligible countries varies annually. If you want to be sure you were born in an eligible country, you should talk with an immigration attorney in Texas. If you meet this criterion, you must also fulfill another criterion.
2. Educational or work requirement.
Not only must you be born in one of the eligible countries, but you must also meet specific requirements regarding your education and experience. For instance, you must have a high school degree or equivalent or at least two years of work experience in an eligible area in the last five years. If you win the lottery, a computer will randomly choose you. The State Department will then let you know. You will have a few days to complete the paperwork proving your green card case.
You will then get an interview. If you win, you can bring your spouse and kids to the US as legal permanent residents. An immigration attorney in Texas can help you assess your situation and determine if you qualify. If chosen for the DVP, you must meet the USCIS green card eligibility requirements. You might not be eligible if you have ever committed a criminal offense. USCIS might also turn you down if you do not meet specific medical vaccination standards.
You can apply for the DVP if you are married to someone who has US citizenship. Still, it is usually quicker to get a marriage green card instead. Even if you already have someone to sponsor your green card, check out the DVP. The processing times can vary depending on which family immigration category you applied for. For instance, green card applications for a spouse go through a lot quicker than those for siblings.
So, if you win the lottery, you can get your green card quicker than if you applied for it through a sibling family immigration category. An immigration attorney in Texas can walk you through the option that works for you.
The DVP application process
If you qualify, you can apply for the DVP. The registration period for the DVP ends at the close of every fiscal year. If you are chosen, you can start applying for green cards. There are three steps to the DVP application, as follows:
1. Sign up for the DVP.
First, you need to sign up for the DVP. You must complete an online form from the US Department of State between October and November. It will ask about your “country of birth” and “country of eligibility.” Your answer might vary depending on your situation. If you have changed your country of birth, you should write down the current one. You must list the correct one on your form if you qualify based on your spouse’s or parents’ birth countries.
You will also need to include your spouse and kids. If you have kids, you will have to list all your biological kids, adopted kids, and step-kids under 21. You will have to include your step-kids, too, even if you are no longer married to their parents. Please keep a copy of your form and confirmation number after submitting it. You will need it to see if you are chosen.
2. Selection and Notification.
The DVP is a computer-generated system the State Department uses to distribute visas to countries worldwide randomly. Every year, the State Department ensures that at least a certain percentage of diversity visas are awarded to each country. You can check your diversity visa status around May. That is the first month you submit an application. You can do this on your DVP’s entry status check page. Once you check your status, you will need a confirmation number.
Once you have won the lottery, the State Department will give you a numerical rank, letting you know when you can apply. You will want to act fast, though, because more lottery winners are available than visas.
3. File an application for a green card.
The last step is to submit your green card application. At the end of July, you can check the US Visa bulletin. The US Visa bulletin will tell you when you can apply. The visas will be available starting October 1. You can submit your applications up to a 90-day advance. If you are a DV lottery winner and live outside the United States, you must apply for your Green Card through a local US consulate in your home country. You must attend a visa interview, and your consulate will likely approve your application.
Some winners of the DV lottery live in the USA. If so, you can apply for a Green Card through USCIS. You will need to fill out a form called I-485. For more information on filling out this form, consult an immigration attorney in Texas. Once your green card application is submitted, you must submit it to the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). CEAC will then send it to your US consulate.
If everything goes smoothly, you will eventually get your visa. Soon, you will live in the US with a green card!
The DVP is an easy way to come into the US and get a green card, but it has strict rules that must be followed. Knowing whether you are eligible and how to go through the application process takes work. It is great to consult an experienced immigration attorney in Texas to make your application for the DVP less stressful.
At Gehi and Associates, we have some of the top immigration attorneys in Texas with a lot of experience handling applications under the DVP. With us, you will have no reason to worry about your applications. If you need any help, do not hesitate to contact us now!
1. Is the DVP application form available in my language if I do not speak English?
Yes. There are many versions of the forms available from the State Department, and these versions are in different languages.
2. Can I apply for the DVP with my spouse?
It is advisable because the best way to increase your chances is to apply with your partner if you are from the same country.
3. Can I apply multiple times for the DVP to increase my chances in the draw?
No. It is prohibited for any person to apply multiple times in a single draw. If you apply multiple times in one draw, all applications in your name are considered invalid.
4. Do I need to pay a fee for the DVP?
You do not have to pay anything to get into the DVP.
5. Can I apply for the DVP as an HIV patient?
Yes, being HIV positive does not mean you cannot apply for the DVP.