The Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program gives random selections of people from underrepresented countries or those countries that have lower levels of immigration to the United States, a chance to apply for a visa and green card. The aspect of randomly selecting the applicants who will have the opportunity to enter the US has given this program a few nicknames , most popularly the diversity visa lottery or the green card lottery.

How Do You Qualify for the Diversity Visa Lottery?

The first requirement is that you are a native of one of the qualifying countries. As the DV Program looks for individuals from countries that have lower than average rates of immigration to the US, applicants must be from one of the approved nations. Changes from year to year are likely, but currently, the following countries are excluded from consideration and cannot submit entries for the diversity visa lottery:

  • Nigeria
  • Bangladesh
  • China
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • South Korea
  • Philippines
  • Vietnam
  • Great Britain
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Venezuela

Of the millions who submit an entry, only 55,000 applicants will be chosen from the current round of submissions. The application window generally stays open for approximately one month, and this shorter application period ensures each person selected can receive notice within a reasonable amount of time.

To apply for the DV Program, complete the E-DV Form or DS-5501 online. Incomplete entries will not be accepted, and electronic submission is currently the only approved means of applying.

What Happens After You Win?

Winning the diversity visa lottery does not automatically qualify you for a green card. You will still need to complete all the necessary steps to obtain permanent residency. If you are selected, a DS-260, Immigrant Visa Application is required. You will also need to confirm your education or employment qualifications, provide supporting documentation, and complete an interview.

Even though being chosen for the diversity visa lottery is an exciting opportunity, there are still many steps before you can become a permanent resident of the United States. Working with an immigration lawyer provides you with an advantage throughout the process and gives you the best chance at a good outcome. The Law Office of Jason A. Dennis provides free 30-minute consultations for anyone with questions about their diversity visa lottery selection. Call us at (347) 868-6100 to schedule an appointment.