USA and the UK
The US Visa Lottery, also known as the DV Lottery and the Green Card Lottery, is held each year to select candidates for a Green Card visa.
The US awards around 50,000 Green Card or Diversity Visas (DVs) each year to successful applicants.
The Green Card affords the holder the right to live and work in the United States.
The lottery is free to enter, but applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria, such as being a national of a country with historically low immigration to the US.
The Department of State assigns Green Card visas among six geographic regions and no single country is eligible to receive more than seven per cent of the available visas in any fiscal year.
The US State Department updates its list of eligible countries from which applications can come each year on its website.
To apply for a Green Card visa, an individual must meet the following criteria:
- Be a citizen of a country with a low immigration rate to the United States.
- Have twelve years of education and formally graduated or have work experience in a role that requires at least two years of training or experience to carry out.
You may still be able to enter the lottery if:
- Your spouse is a native of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
- You are a native of a country that does not 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 this is the case, you may be able to claim the country of birth of one of your parents if it is a country whose natives are eligible for the Green Card scheme.
Should you be successful in the lottery, you must be able to demonstrate that you are eligible to enter the US when you file the DS-260 form online or during an in-person interview at a consular officer or US embassy.
How to Register for the Diversity Visa Program
Applications to the visa lottery must be made via the government’s Electronic Diversity Visa Program website.
After you submit your entry online, you will be presented with a confirmation screen that displays your unique confirmation number.
You should print this confirmation screen and keep it handy because you will need it when you wish to find out if you have been selected in the draw.
If you are fortunate to be chosen in the lottery for a Green Card visa, you will be directed to a confirmation page that provides further information about how to complete your Green Card visa application.
The principal applicant and associated family members must complete the DS-260 form.
You will need to enter your DV case number into the online DS-260 form to access and update the information about yourself and your family that you included in your DV entry.
You can check the status of your Green Card visa entry on the government’s website here.
Applicants can only find out if they have been selected in the lottery by visiting the website https://dvprogram.state.gov.
The US government sends emails to lottery entrants reminding them to check their status online via the DV Entrant Status Check website, but entrants will never receive a message informing them that they have been successful in the draw.
If you receive such a message, it is a scam.
Fees & Deadlines
The fee for a Diversity Visa is currently $330 per person.
All successful lottery entrants and associated family members must be issued with a Green Card visa by that year’s deadline, which typically falls in the September of the year in which you enter the lottery.
Family members cannot obtain DVs to join the principal applicant in the United States once the deadline has passed.
Successful applicants who wish to pursue a Green Card application must submit scanned copies of the following documents to the consular officer or embassy that is processing the application.
- Birth Certificate(s).
- Court and Prison Record(s).
- Military Record(s).
- Police Certificate(s).
- Photocopy of Valid Passport Biographic Data Page.
If you cannot obtain any of these documents, you must inform the authorities via email.
You, your spouse, and any qualified unmarried children who will enter the US at the same time as you must attend an interview at a designated US consulate or embassy.
How to Prepare For Your Interview
You must prepare before you attend an interview.
Each embassy and consulate has its own way of interviewing prospective Green Card holders, therefore, you must review the instructions on its website before you attend an interview.
Documents You Need to Bring to the Interview
Each Green Card applicant will need to bring two photos to the interview. You should review the information regarding photo requirements before you attend.
You should also bring originals of the following documents to your interview:
- Appointment information provided by the Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website.
- The DS-260 confirmation page, which you can print from the Consular Electronic Application Center once you have completed the DS-260 application form.
- A passport that is valid for six months beyond the date you intend to enter the US using your visa. You and each family member travelling with you should provide a passport to the interviewers.
- Original documents or certified copies of civil documents that are relevant to your application.
If you would like to enter the Green Card lottery or simply want to learn more about how it works, IAS is here to help.
We are an experienced team of immigration lawyers with lots of expertise in guiding applicants through every stage of the Green Card visa application.
To learn more about how we can help with your Green Card visa lottery bid, give a member of our team a call on +1 844 290 6312 or contact us via our website.
Last modified on June 15th, 2023 at 10:41 am
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The Green Card lottery is drawn using a computer that selects winning entries at random.
You must complete a medical examination and have any required vaccinations before your visa interview.