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Diversity Visa Lottery (GreenCard Lottery)

Diversity Visa Lottery (GreenCard Lottery)

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Every year, 50, 000 diversity visas are available through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, according to Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) mandated by the U.S. Congress.  Such Visas are made available to persons from countries that have historically low rates of immigration to the United States.  A random and computer-generated drawing determines who can enter through the program. No single country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas. Persons from countries with more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years are not eligible for the Diversity Visa Program.

Distribution of diversity visas in the green card lottery

Visas are selected based on a regional basis, where countries that have sent fewer immigrants in the past 5 years receive more visas. Countries in Africa and Europe currently receive the greatest amount of visas in the lottery program. In addition, no country may receive more than 3,500 visas (7% of the the total 50,000 available visas).

Diversity Visa Lottery Selection Process

Each year more than 50, 000 applicants are selected for the lottery program, in order to account for those that are unable to pursue the visa. Even if selected, some individuals are ineligible to obtain a visa, and thus being selected for the program does not guarantee that you will obtain the visa. The most common reason for being ineligible after selected is a lack of a high school diploma, or two years of work experience in a job that requires at least two years of training.

Important Dates:

The Diversity Visa 2014 dates will be released soon. The filing period will be held on around October 4th to November 5th 2012.

Check the Status of your 2012 DV Lottery application:
Applicants for the 2012 DV lottery are able to check the status of their application through June 30th 2012. Check the status of your application online at www.dvlottery.state.gov.
Qualifying Occupations for the DV Lottery Applicants:

DV entrant Requirements:

 Entrants must have at least a high school education or its equivalent, or at least two years of work experience, in the past five years, in a job that requires at least two years of training or experience.
Must be born in a qualifying country, or
you may claim your parents’ country of birth, if your parents were either born in that qualifying country or resided in that country at the time of your birth.
You may claim your spouse’s country of birth, if her country’s natives are eligible for the program, as long as you and your spouse are on the DV application, and if selected, are issued visas and enter the United States at the same time
Click Here to see a list of Qualifying Countries

Click Here to see a list of Non-qualifying Countries

Green Card Lottery Frequently Asked Questions (Green Card Lottery FAQ)

Is there a green card lottery Application Fee?
No, there is no green card lottery application fee. If however, you are selected to win the green card lottery, you must pay a processing fee. An attorney may be hired to review and submit your application. Each year, millions of green card lottery applications are rejected due to  not following the application guidelines.

Do I need an attorney to apply for the Green Card Lottery?
No. You do not need a lawyer in order to participate in the diversity visa lottery (Green Card Lottery) program. However, the chances of your application being rejected due to error may be greatly reduced by hiring a lawyer to prepare your green card lottery application. Each year, millions of applications are rejected due to not following the guidelines set by the Department of State.

Can I apply for the green card lottery outside of the United States?
Yes, you may submit an application for the green card lottery abroad, as long as you meet the requirements set forth by the Department of State.

Is there a minimum required age in order to apply for the diversity green card lottery? 
There is no minimum age for green card lottery applicants, however, the education requirements set forth by the Department of State, will essentially exclude applicants that are under 18.

Can I apply for the Green Card Lottery even though I have a pending nonimmigrant visa petition?
You may apply for the green card lottery even if you have a pending nonimmigrant visa application. You do not need to specify that you have applied for the green card lottery on your nonimmigrant visa petition.

Is there a limit to the number of green card applications that I can submit?
Any individual can only file one green card lottery application each year. If the applicant submits more than one application, they will be disqualified by the Department of State. The applicant’s spouse, however, is free to file a green card lottery application as well. In this case, if one party wins the green card lottery, the spouse may enter as well.

Can my spouse also apply for the green card lottery?

Yes, a husband and wife may both apply for the green card lottery. You may submit separate applications. It is important to remember that you must include your husband or wife’s name on your green card lottery application. If either of you are selected for the visa lottery, your husband or wife will be able to obtain a green card as well.

Can I apply for the visa lottery/green card lottery each year?

Yes, you may apply under the visa lottery program each year. Your chances of winning the visa lottery will remain the same.

How are visa lottery/green card lottery winners chosen? 

Green card lottery winners are chosen randomly by a computer. Green card lottery winners will be notified by mail, and those that are not selected will not hear back from the USCIS. Email notifications are NOT sent out to winners.

Do my chances of winning the green card lottery increase if I apply early? 

No, applicants that submit early applications will have the same chances of all other applicants. Winners are only selected after the application cycle has officially closed.

Can I apply for the green card lottery/visa lottery while in the United States?

Yes, you may apply for the green card lottery while in the United States. If you are in the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa, or visitor visa, you may still apply for the green card lottery. You do not need to return to your home country in order to apply for the green card lottery. In addition, an attorney may assist you in filing your green card lottery application.

Are illegal aliens in the United States allowed to apply for the green card lottery?

No, if you are currently in the United States illegally, you may not apply for the green card lottery. This includes those that remained in the U.S. after their nonimmigrant visa has expired. In order to apply for the green card lottery, you must reside outside the United States or be in the United States under a nonimmigrant visa.

How will I know if I win the Green Card Lottery?
You will NOT receive notification if you are selected via email. Notifications are available in May of each year through the Department of state website www.dvlottery.state.gov. If you receive a notification via email, you can be assured that it was sent by a third party NOT affiliated with the government. You will only receive notification by email after you are selected and have responded to the notifications on the Department of State website. The status of your DV-2013 application may be viewed beginning May, 1 2012 to June 30th 2013.

How long may I stay in the U.S. with a green card?

You may remain in the United States indefinitely if you are selected for the visa lottery and receive a green card. As a green card holder, you must maintain a permanent residence in the U.S.A.

Can I become a U.S. citizen after winning the green card lottery?

After you obtain a green card and remain in the United States for 5 consecutive years, you may apply for citizenship.

What was the glitch in the 2012 diversity visa lottery? 

In 2011, many “winners” were notified via mail that they were chosen for the 2012 visa lottery. However, it was discovered that a computer programming glitch resulted in an error, in which 90% of the winners chosen were those that applied within the first few days of the application period. This obviously put the remaining applicants at a great disadvantage. It was decided that since the results were clearly not random, a second drawing would occur. Those that were accidentally chosen for the green card lottery were not eligible to be winners unless they were selected in the second drawing. Lawsuits arose, however, it was ruled that since the initial results were not random, those initially selected were not eligible to enter the U.S. under the program.

Are there any ways to increase my chances of winning the visa lottery/green card lottery?

If your application was filed correctly then there are no ways to increase your chances of winning. If you are married, however, your chances can increase slightly if your spouse applies for the green card lottery as well. In addition, hiring an attorney can greatly reduce your chances of improperly filing your green card lottery application. Millions of applicant applications are rejected because of improper filing and missing information. An attorney can assist you in completing and filing your application and answer any questions you may have regarding the diversity visa lottery.


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