Each year, 50,000 immigrant visas are made available through a Diversity Visa Lottery to people who are natives of countries (typically a person's country of birth) with low rates of immigration to the United States.
The U.S. Department of State holds the lottery every year, and chooses winners randomly from all qualified entries.
When are applications accepted?
Entries for the Diversity Visa Lottery for fiscal year 2022, which begins October 1, 2021, must be submitted electronically between noon, Eastern Daylight Time, Wednesday, October 7, 2020, and noon, Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday, November 10, 2020.
Who can apply for a Diversity Visa?
Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply for permanent resident visas through the Diversity Visa Lottery: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.
A lottery applicant must possess a valid and unexpired passport as well as either a high school diploma or two years of qualifying work experience within the past five years.
Please note that spouses can each file a lottery application if they each meet the eligibility requirements independently. If one spouse is selected, both will be eligible for green cards, as will all of their minor children.
A "winner" can save his/her employer much time, money, and aggravation by avoiding the normal green card process. Applicants currently possessing H or L visas need not worry about concurrently stating immigrant and nonimmigrant intent. Applicants currently possessing other types of visas should review this issue carefully before applying for the lottery.
What happens after an applicant receives a lottery selection?
A lottery applicant who is selected in the Diversity Visa Lottery will be given the opportunity to then apply for permanent residence on his/her own behalf and on behalf of his/her spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21. Same-sex spouses are eligible for the same U.S. immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses.
If permanent residence is granted (i.e., the issuance of a "green card") to a lottery winner, then the lottery winner will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States.
How can one apply for the Diversity Lottery?
Foreign nationals eligible and interested in applying click here for additional information from the State Department on the Diversity Visa Lottery as well as for the Lottery Entry Form that needs to be completed online. There is no cost to register for the Diversity Visa Lottery (if selected, you must pay all required visa fees at the time of your application and interview).
The State Department has a Diversity Immigrant Visa Program Tutorial video to assist applicants in understanding the lottery process.