The Diversity Visa Lottery, also known as the “Green Card Lottery” is not a financial lottery. Although similar to a real lottery, securing permanent status as an immigrant in the United States is also a considerable win, one that’s not always easy. This year’s green card lottery is open from October 6th-November 9th. Let’s break down what the lottery is, and how you can apply for a spot while it’s still open.


What is the green card lottery? 

The green card lottery is administered by the Department of State. It was created to increase diversity among immigrants to the United States. The lottery is intended for immigrants coming from countries with historically lower rates of immigration to the United States. This process opens the door to immigrants from countries who may not otherwise have a strong chance of receiving a green card, ultimately bringing more opportunities to folks from all around the world, rather than just a few countries.


Who is eligible for the green card lottery?

Applicants must be natives of countries with “historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.,” although there are a few small exceptions to this rule. You can see the list of excluded countries here. If you are not originally from a qualifying country but your spouse or parent is, you may still be eligible.

Secondly, applicants must also have either a high school diploma or its equivalent or they could also have ‘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’ instead.


Where do I apply for the green card Lottery? 

You can apply at the Department of State’s website here.

You can also see the step-by-step process and specific instructions for applying here.

Detailed guidance for completing the online entry form is included in the DV Instructions.

After you submit a complete entry, you will see a confirmation screen containing your name and a unique confirmation number. Print this confirmation screen for your records. It is extremely important that you retain your confirmation number. It is the only way you can check the status of your entry, and you will need it to obtain further instructions or schedule an interview for a visa if you are selected.


What type of visa is given to lottery winners? 

The Diversity Visa Lottery grants recipients permanent residency in the form of a green card, allowing them to permanently work and live in the United States. It’s important to note that any ultimate green card applicant must also be admissible to the U.S. and must not have anything in their background that would prevent them from getting a green card.


How many are green cards are given out? 

Roughly 50,000 visas are given out each year, though millions apply. Registered applicants are randomly selected lottery-style. Note that getting selected in the lottery does not guarantee that a green card will be available to you. The Department of State selects more lottery numbers than they have green cards available because they know people will be ineligible, etc. This means that if you get selected, you will have to also wait to see if your lottery number is low enough to ensure you can apply for a green card.


How much does the green card lottery cost? 

There is no cost to register for the green card lottery. The Department of State regularly warns about scams by “Visa Consultant” and “Visa Agent,” so beware!


Bottom Line:

The green card lottery provides an equal opportunity for immigrants from all over the world to be able to experience their American Dream. If you’re interested, we encourage anyone that meets the requirements to apply within the allotted period. As we always say, if you’re not in… you cannot win!


Best of luck!

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