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Diversity Visa Lottery (GreenCard Lottery)

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 2016 program dates will be released soon. The filing period will be held on around October 2014 to November 2014, lasting 30 days.



Check the Status of your 2012 DV Lottery application:

Applicants for the 2014 DV lottery are able to check the status of their application through June 30th 2014. Check the status of your application online at www.dvlottery.state.gov.
Qualifying Occupations for the DV Lottery Applicants:


DV entrant Requirements:

Click Here to see a list of Qualifying Countries

Click Here to see a list of Non-qualifying Countries

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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-2015 application may be viewed beginning May, 1 2014 to June 30th 2014.


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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Qualifying Countries for the 2014 DV Lottery (Greencard Lottery)

South America, North America, and the Caribbean

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
ARGENTINA
BARBADOS
BELIZE
BOLIVIA
CHILE
COSTA RICA
CUBA
DOMINICA
GRENADA
GUYANA

HONDURAS
NICARAGUA
PANAMA
PARAGUAY
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
SAINT LUCIA
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
SURINAME
THE BAHAMAS
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
URUGUAY
VENEZUELA

 

Europe

ALBANIA
ANDORRA
ARMENIA
AUSTRIA
AZERBAIJAN
BELARUS
BELGIUM
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
BULGARIA
CROATIA
CYPRUS
CZECH REPUBLIC
DENMARK
ESTONIA
FINLAND
FRANCE
GEORGIA
GERMANY
GREECE
HUNGARY
ICELAND
IRELAND
ITALY
KAZAKHSTAN
KYRGYZSTAN
LATVIA
LIECHTENSTEIN

LITHUANIA
LUXEMBOURG
MACEDONIA, THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF
MALTA
MOLDOVA
MONACO
NETHERLANDS (including components and dependent areas overseas)
NORTHERN IRELAND
NORWAY
PORTUGAL
POLAND
ROMANIA
RUSSIA
SAN MARINO
SLOVAKIA
SLOVENIA
SPAIN
SWEDEN
SWITZERLAND
TAJIKISTAN
TURKEY
TURKMENISTAN
UKRAINE
UZBEKISTAN
VATICAN CITY
YUGOSLAVIA, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF

 

Oceania

AUSTRALIA
FIJI
KIRIBATI
MARSHALL ISLANDS
MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF
NAURU
NEW ZEALAND
PALAU
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
SOLOMON ISLANDS
TONGA
TUVALU
VANUATU
SAMOA

 

Africa

ALGERIA
ANGOLA
BENIN
BOTSWANA
BURKINA FASO
BURUNDI
CAMEROON
CAPE VERDE
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
CHAD
COMOROS
CONGO
CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE
DJIBOUTI
EGYPT
EQUATORIAL GUINEA
ERITREA
ETHIOPIA
GABON
GAMBIA, THE
GHANA
GUINEA
GUINEA-BISSAU
IVORY COAST
KENYA
LESOTHO
LIBERIA

LIBYA
MADAGASCAR
MALAWI
MALI
MAURITANIA
MAURITIUS
MOROCCO
MOZAMBIQUE
NAMIBIA
NIGER
NIGERIA
RWANDA
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
SENEGAL
SEYCHELLES
SIERRA LEONE
SOMALIA
SOUTH AFRICA
SUDAN
SWAZILAND
TANZANIA
TOGO
TUNISIA
UGANDA
ZAMBIA
ZIMBABWE

 

Asia

AFGHANISTAN
BAHRAIN
BHUTAN
BRUNEI
BURMA
CAMBODIA
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
INDONESIA
IRAN
IRAQ
ISRAEL
JAPAN
JORDAN
KUWAIT
LAOS

LEBANON
MACAU SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
MALAYSIA
MALDIVES
MONGOLIA
NEPAL
NORTH KOREA
OMAN
QATAR
SAUDI ARABIA
SINGAPORE
SRI LANKA
SYRIA
TAIWAN
THAILAND
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
YEMEN

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Nonqualifying Countries

Persons from the following countries are not eligible to apply for the 2014 DV Lottery:

BANGLADESH, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.

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History of the Visa Lottery Program


The green card lottery was established by the Immigration Act of 1990, in which 55, 000 immigrant visas would be available annually to those selected in the annual drawing. The first green card lottery was held in 1995.The program was established to promote diversity of the immigrant population in the United States through the selection of individuals from countries that are underrepresented in the immigrant population. Individuals from countries that have sent more than 50, 000 immigrants to the United States in the past 5 years, are not allowed to participate in the diversity visa lottery program.


The number of diversity visas available per year has been 50, 000, after the implementation of the NACARA (Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act) in 1996. Thus 5,000 visas are reserved for Nicaraguans, Cubans, Guatemalanas, Salvadorans, and those from former Soviet bloc countries who had arrived to the United States as asylees, and who have remained in the United States for at least 5 years, since December 1, 1995. These visas granted under the NACARA are valid for asylees and their dependents.

DV-2016 APPLICATION FILING

Our Law Office will prepare, review, and submit your application for the low fee of $45 per individual, or $75 for a family (husband and wife). Our immigration law office will gather and review your information, and prepare it for submission during the next application cycle in October, 2014. Contact our immigration law office for details.

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Written by:Mark Carmel

To see if you are eligible for other U.S. visas or green cards, please check out our main site ImmiLawyers.com You may be eligible to enter the United States through other methods of immigration.

 

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