What is the Diversity Visa Program (Green Card) Lottery?
The Diversity Immigrant Visa program, also known as the “Green Card Lottery,” is a U.S. congressionally-mandated lottery program for providing the United States Permanent Resident Card to a hand-picked number of foreign citizens, mainly to the natives of selected countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States in six geographic regions — Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, and the Southern Americas (including South America, Central America, and the Caribbean nations). The list of countries is subject to change each year.
Every year, the U.S. Department of State randomly selects immigrants worldwide to receive green cards to enter the U.S. These classes of immigrants are known as “diversity immigrants.” Congress implemented this Diversity Immigrant Visa Program to bring in more diversity in the U.S. No more than 55,000 Diversity Visas, or DVs, are granted each year.
HOW DOES THE VISA LOTTERY PROGRAM WORK?
Each year, a random computer-generated lottery is drawn to select diversity visas from six geographic regions. For every registration period, only one entry is allowed for each applicant. Any duplication or multiple entries disqualifies the individual from registration for this program. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that a claimant will be granted a diversity visa, even with a proper application filing.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE VISA LOTTERY PROGRAM?
The two main requirements for the Visa Lottery Program are that the foreign national is from a qualifying visa lottery country and that the foreign national has the requisite education or work experience.
LIST OF CURRENT NOT ELIGIBLE COUNTRIES FOR THE DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM.
For DV-2022, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
If you are not a native of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, there are two other ways you might be able to qualify.
- Is your spouse a native of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States? If yes, you can claim your spouse’s country of birth – provided that you and your spouse are named on the selected entry, are found eligible and issued diversity visas, and enter the United States at the same time.
- Are you a native of a country that doesn’t have historically low rates of immigration to the United States, but in which neither of your parents was born or legally resident at the time of your birth? If yes, you may claim the country of birth of one of your parents if it is a country whose natives are eligible for the DV-2023 program.
WHAT IS THE EDUCATION OR WORK EXPERIENCE REQUIRED TO QUALIFY FOR THE DV?
To enter the DV program, you must also have either a high school education or its equivalent; or two years of work experience—within the past five years—in an occupation that requires training or experience for at least two years to perform. A “high school education or its equivalent” means completing both elementary and secondary education.
Two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.
HOW DO YOU ENTER THE VISA LOTTERY PROGRAM?
To get into the visa lottery program, visit www.dvlottery.state.gov and follow the instructions very carefully. As mentioned above, for every registration period, only one entry is allowed for each applicant. Any duplication or multiple entries in a given year disqualifies the individual from registration for this program.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED?
Applicants will receive notification by regular mail, not electronic mail, between May and July of the following year after their DV Online Entry. After you have been notified, more information and instructions will be sent by the U.S. Department of State. Those applicants who are not selected will not be notified at all.
IF YOU HAVE A VISA FROM ANOTHER VISA CATEGORY, CAN YOU STILL APPLY FOR THE
Yes, you can still apply for the DV program, regardless of any other visa you might hold.
IF YOU ARE ALREADY PRESENT IN THE U.S., CAN YOU STILL APPLY FOR THE VISA LOTTERY PROGRAM?
Yes. You can apply for the visa lottery program if you are already present in the U.S. Applications for the visa lottery program can be submitted from the U.S. or abroad.
CAN YOU BRING YOUR FAMILY ALONG WITH YOU IF YOU ARE SELECTED TO RECEIVE A DIVERSITY VISA?
Yes. You can bring your spouse and unmarried children under twenty-one (21), although they are not required to accompany you to the U.S. if you are selected.
IS THERE A MINIMUM AGE TO APPLY FOR THE E-DV PROGRAM?
There is no minimum age to apply, but the requirement of high school education or work experience for each principal applicant at the time of application will effectively disqualify most persons who are under age 18.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ENTER A DV PROGRAM?
There is no fee charged for submitting an electronic entry. However, if you are selected and apply for a Diversity Visa, you must pay all required visa application fees at the time of visa application and interview directly to the consular cashier at the U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are a selectee already in the United States and apply to USCIS to adjust status, you will pay all required fees directly to USCIS.
FRAUD WARNING FOR DV PROGRAM.
Gehi & Associates notifies the public of a notable increase in fraudulent emails and letters sent to Diversity Visa (DV) program (Visa Lottery) applicants. The scammers behind these fraudulent emails and letters are posing as the U.S. government in an attempt to extract payment from DV applicants. All applicants should be familiar with information about DV scams provided by the Federal Trade Commission. Applicants are encouraged to review the rules and procedures for the DV program so that they know what to expect when to expect it, and from whom.
While DV applicants may receive an email from the U.S. government reminding them to check their status online through DV Entrant Status Check, they will not receive a notification letter or email informing them that they are a successful DV entrant. Applicants can only find out if they were selected to continue DV processing by checking their status online through the DV Entrant Status Check.
Finally, remember that fees for the DV application process are paid to the U.S. Embassy or consulate cashier at the time of your scheduled appointment. The U.S. government will never ask you to send payment in advance by check, money order, or wire transfer.
The Visa Lottery Program may be a great option for you if your ultimate goal is to settle in the United States and you do not qualify for one of the other visa categories. If you belong to a country that qualifies under the Visa Lottery Program and has the requisite educational or work experience, you should continue to apply for the Visa Lottery Program each year to increase your odds of getting chosen for a diversity visa.