What is the USA Green Card Lottery?

The Diversity Lottery Program, also known as the USA Green Card Lottery, was designed by the Immigration Act in 1990. The purpose of the program is to increase diversity within the U.S. immigrant population. Every year the U.S DOS (Department of State) creates 55,000 immigrant visas for immigrants who originate from a country of low U.S. immigration.

Typically in October and November, the National Visa Center will randomly select eligible applicants. Though, the total amount of green cards provided to a region cannot exceed 7%. Those selected will have the option to apply for permanent residence or an adjustment of status.

The green card lottery winners have a brief time period to submit the required documentation. Once the required documentation is submitted, winners will be scheduled for an interview.

After completing the final steps of the process, diversity visa lottery winners are able to work and live in the United States and have the opportunity to bring their spouse and unmarried, under 21 children to the United States as derivatives. In 2010, the Department of State gave 49,763 green cards to lottery winners. More than 50% were male and 74% were age 21 or older.

Green Card Lottery Requirements:

VisaNation Law Group’s diversity visa lawyers can explain in more detail the requirements, but here is a brief outline:

  • Must be a native of a country with a low U.S. immigration rate. (Check to see if your country is eligible). 
  • Have at least a high school education.
  • The applicant will also be eligible if he/she has qualifications equivalent to a high school education or has obtained two years of work experience in an occupation that requires two years of training. The second option requires the applicant to have completed this occupation five years prior to the application date.
  • Must be qualified under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Individuals from most countries are eligible for the lottery except for those that are noted on this list (updated Nov. 2014):

  • Brazil
  • Bangladesh
  • China (mainland, not including Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan)
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • India
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • Vietnam
  • UK (except Northern Ireland/ dependent territories)

It’s best to check the USCIS website for the most updated list of countries or contact VisaNation Law Group’s diversity visa lawyers for a consultation.

If Your Native Country Is Ineligible:

  • The applicant has the ability to claim the spouse’s native country if it is eligible. However, the spouse must also be able to receive and meet all visa requirements. The spouse must accompany the applicant into the United States with a DV-2 Visa.
  • If both parents were born outside of applicant’s native country and did not reside in the country after the applicant was born, the applicant can claim the parents’ native country.

Individuals selected in the lottery will be notified by mail (address noted on application).

Benefits of Green Card Lottery

Individuals who are selected in the green card lottery benefit from many of the permissions granted to permanent residents. These include education and health benefits, employment opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available and more.

The diversity visa lottery is limited to immigrants from countries with fewer than 50,000 migrants to the U.S. over the past five years. Typically the individuals selected in the diversity lottery are from Europe, Central Asia, and Africa. Based on the law, you need to apply for the lottery each year if you are not selected.

If you happen to be born in a country that is not on the eligible diversity visa country’s list but your spouse is from a country that is, they may apply and claim you as their spouse. The diversity visa lawyers at VisaNation Law Group can explain what other benefits you may qualify for as an applicant of the green card lottery.

How VisaNation Law Group’s Diversity Visa Lawyers Can Help

  • If you are unsure if you are qualified or how to qualify, VisaNation Law Group’s diversity visa lawyers can help determine your eligibility.  
  • With years of experience with Green Card Lottery cases, VisaNation Law Group’s diversity visa lawyers can help you gather and complete the required material in a timely manner in order to secure your position as an eligible applicant.
  • If you are selected under the diversity visa program, VisaNation can assist you with the mandatory documentation and submit files to the proper departments.
  • If you would like your spouse and unmarried, minor children to accompany you to the United States, our Green Card Lottery attorneys can assist you in obtaining the DV-2 and DV-3 visas. Fill out this form to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys