How to get a green card through the US Diversity Visa Lottery
If you're from an underrepresented country and you want to live in the United States, there might not be another way for you to do so other than being granted a green card through the Diversity Visa Lottery program. This article will discuss how you can apply for a green card through the US Diversity Visa Lottery program as well as some things to keep in mind before submitting your application.
Immigration is a hot topic in the United States right now. With the current administration, there’s been an increased focus on high-skilled immigrants and those who are coming from countries that pose a threat to national security. This means some people who would have been able to immigrate under previous administrations may not be able to enter the country any longer. One way for people from diverse backgrounds to immigrate is through the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. This article will explain what this program is and how you can qualify if you want to immigrate as part of it.
The U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery is a program that allows citizens of countries that are not well represented in the U.S. to apply for a green card through the program. The lottery is only available for nationals from designated countries who do not have any immediate family members living in the United States as of January 2016.
To be eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery, you must be from a country with low rates of immigration to the United States. In addition, you must have a low chance of receiving a green card through your own merit or family ties. An individual's country of origin is measured by their nationality when they were born. If you are from an eligible country, then you may be able to get a Green Card through the Diversity Visa Lottery program.
What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?
This program awards 50,000 visas annually to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The DV Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) as a way to increase the diversity of the immigrants coming to live in the United States. It’s a way for individuals and families who otherwise wouldn’t have any way to legally immigrate to the United States to get a green card.
In the past, most of the entrants to this program were randomly selected from the pool of applicants who met certain criteria. In the past, the program was known as the “Green Card Lottery,” but this changed in March 2018. The name was changed from the “Diversity Immigrant Visa Program” to “Diversity Visa Lottery.” Even though the name has changed, the program itself has not changed. The only difference is that now the program focuses more on the country you’re from and less on the type of visa you’ll be receiving if you win the lottery.
What is a Green Card?
A Green Card is a Permanent Residence Visa for the United States. The residence card will give you the legal right to study, work, and live permanently in the United States. Green Card holders receive health, education, and several other benefits. If you are selected to receive a Permanent Residence Card, you can apply for United States Citizenship later if you wish. The Green Card does not affect your present citizenship.
>> Check out our previous article if you want to read more about Green Card.
Criteria for Eligibility
To be eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery and move to the United States permanently, you must meet certain criteria. There are two main requirements when applying for a Diversity Visa:
Country of birth
To be eligible for the Diversity Visa, you must have been born in a country that sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past 5 years. There is some yearly variation in the countries that are eligible, but Canada, China, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom never make the list, because these countries all send a large number of immigrants to the United States.
For the 2023 application period, nationals from the following countries were not eligible to apply:
- China (including Hong Kong SAR)
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- South Korea
- United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories
The list of all the eligible countries can be found on the States Department's website.
However, there are still two ways you could qualify for the Diversity Visa if your native country is not eligible:
- If your spouse was born in an eligible country, you can apply with your spouse and choose your spouse’s birth country on your application.
- If neither of your parents was legal residents in your own country of birth, you can choose your mother or father’s country of birth.
Education/ work experience
The second major requirement for Diversity Visa applicants is that you must have at least a high school degree, or at least two years of work experience within the past five years in a profession that requires at least two years of training, as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.
If you don't meet these criteria, then you cannot apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. You will be disqualified by the Department of State if you apply.
How to Apply for the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery
When it comes to applying for the U.S Diversity Visa Lottery, the main step is to find out if you are eligible. Other than that, participating in the lottery is rather easy.
To begin with, you fill out a form on the State Department’s website while it is available, from early October through early November. Most of the questions are easy to understand; however, these few tips may be helpful:
- Country of birth: list the country you were born in, regardless of where you currently live. If the country has a different name now than it did when you were born, use the country’s current name.
- Country of eligibility: list either your country of birth or—if you qualify to use your spouse’s or your parents’ birth countries; list that country. The country you currently live in is irrelevant to this question.
- Your spouse: You must list your spouse, even if he or she doesn’t live with you and does not intend to immigrate with you.
- Your children: You must list all of your biological children and all of your adopted children, no matter how old they are. You should also list all of your step-children under the age of 21, even if you are no longer married to their parents.
Furthermore, it is important to keep your confirmation number once you submit your application. The number is the only way to know if you've been selected. Moreover, you will need to include a recent photo (taken within the past 6 months) of you, your spouse, and your children.
After You Apply
The winners of the Diversity Visa lottery are chosen at random by a computer program, with a certain number of visas allocated to each region of the world and no one country receiving more than 7% of the Diversity Visas available in any given year. If you’re selected in the green card lottery, you and your family members will have to meet the same requirements as any other U.S. green card applicant.
Although the exact dates vary, you can check the status of your application beginning in early May the year following your application, by using the Entrant Status Check link on the Diversity Visa webpage. This is why it’s so important to save that confirmation number. You won’t be able to see if you’ve been selected or not without it.
Moreover, it’s important to act fast if you’re selected in the green card lottery, even though it could still be a year or more before you’re able to come to the United States. The reason why you should act immediately is that your application must be processed and your visa must be issued by the end of the fiscal year for which you were selected. Second, there are more people selected for the Diversity Visa than there are visas available, and if you wait until the last minute there might not be any visas left.
When you’re notified that you won the Diversity Visa, you’ll get a numerical rank, which will tell you when you can apply for your visa. Towards the end of July, you can check the State Department’s visa bulletin to see when you can submit your application. The first visas are available on October 1, the first day of the U.S. government’s fiscal year, and you can submit your application up to 90 days ahead of time.
The Diversity Visa Lottery is a great opportunity for those who are citizens of countries that are not well represented in the United States. This opportunity allows you to apply for a green card and live in the United States permanently. The Diversity Visa Lottery is a great opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to immigrate to the United States. All you have to do is visit a state lottery office and complete an application. The Diversity Visa Lottery is only available to people who come from low-immigration countries. So, keep this in mind if you’re thinking about applying. Once you have been approved for a diversity visa, you can apply for a green card. If you want to get a diversity visa, you can use this article as a guide and apply for a diversity visa.
You can also visit the official website of the US citizenship and immigration authorities using the link below for more information.