What is the Green Card Lottery?


One way for individuals to obtain permission to enter the United States is through the Diversity Visa Program, also known as the Green Card Lottery. This program seeks to increase immigration numbers among some of the lesser-represented nations of the world, with the majority of countries being named by the U.S. State Department as eligible nations of origin.

Restricted to People of Certain Nationalities

Countries that have had less than 50,000 immigrants during the previous five years are placed on the U.S. State Department’s list. When figuring the number of immigrants, tourists or those who are temporary entrants are not included in the number. Applicants must usually be born in one of the eligible countries in order to be considered; however, in some instances, they may be eligible if a spouse or one parent was born in an eligible nation.

Qualifications and Requirements

In addition to being from an eligible country, lottery applicants must also meet certain educational and work experience requirements. Applicants must have completed high school or that country’s equivalent of such or have at least two years of work experience during the past five years. Those two years of work experience must have been in a trade that required two years of education or on-the-job training.

How to Apply for the Lottery

Those who are interested in the Diversity Visa Program must first fill out an application on the U.S. State Department’s official website. As a part of the application process, interested parties will be required to provide recent photographs. There is no fee to file this application.

The U.S. State Department will randomly draw winners from the pool of eligible applicants. Those who are initially selected will then be placed into another pool from which the finalists will be drawn. Government officials will randomly select applicants from the pool of finalists until the annual quota of 50,000 visas is obtained.

Those who win the lottery drawing will be eligible to obtain visas for themselves and their immediate family members. Individuals who would like to check the status of their Visa lottery can do so on the official website of the State Department. Information is never sent via email or snail mail.

Do Not Fall for Scams

Numerous scams exist with regards to the Diversity Visa Program. Many people claim to offer assistance filling out an application for this program, and may even set up websites that resemble that of the U.S. government.

Those who would like assistance applying for the Green Card Lottery should get a consultation with an immigration lawyer such as Mario Madrid. For an appointment, call 713-877-9400.

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