Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery

Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery

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What is the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery?

The Diversity Visa (DV) lottery, also known as the Green Card lottery, is a program conducted by the United States government that allows people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States to apply for a chance to obtain a U.S. immigrant visa. 

The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State.

Here’s a basic overview of how the Diversity Visa lottery works:

  • Eligibility: To participate in the DV lottery, individuals must be from a country that has a low rate of immigration to the United States. The list of eligible countries can change from year to year. Not all countries are eligible, and the eligibility is based on the number of immigrants from each country over the previous five years.
  • Application: The application process is conducted online through the official website provided by the U.S. Department of State. Applicants must provide certain personal information, including details about their education and work experience.
  • Selection: After the application period closes, a computer-generated random lottery drawing is conducted. The selection is entirely based on chance. Selected individuals are then notified and provided with further instructions on the visa application process.
  • Visa Application: Being selected in the lottery does not guarantee a visa. Selected individuals must still go through the regular immigrant visa application process, which includes submitting additional documentation, undergoing a medical examination, and attending an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate.

The Diversity Visa program is designed to promote diversity in the immigrant population by offering opportunities to people from countries that are underrepresented in the total immigrant pool.

It’s important to note that there are strict eligibility criteria and deadlines associated with the Diversity Visa lottery. 

Additionally, participation in the lottery is free, and the U.S. government warns against fraudulent schemes that claim to improve an individual’s chances of winning in exchange for a fee. 

Interested individuals should refer ONLY to the official U.S. Department of State website for accurate and up-to-date information.

Is the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery the same as the Green Card Lottery?

Yes, the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery is often referred to as the Green Card Lottery. 

The terms are used interchangeably to describe the same program. 

The official name is the Diversity Visa (DV) Program, but it is commonly known as the Green Card Lottery because the ultimate goal for participants is to win the opportunity to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa, also known as a Green Card. 

Which countries can enter the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery?

The list of countries eligible for the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery can change from year to year. 

The eligibility is based on the number of immigrants from each country over the previous five years. 

Not all countries are eligible, and the U.S. Department of State determines the eligible countries for each annual DV lottery.

To find the most up-to-date and accurate information on eligible countries, you should visit the official website of the U.S. Department of State during the registration period for the Diversity Visa Program. 

The official U.S. Department of State website provides:

  • Detailed instructions, plus translations to some foreign languages
  • List of eligible countries for that specific year
  • Application process, and 
  • Other important information. 

Keep in mind that participation in the DV lottery is free, and individuals are strongly advised to use ONLY the official instructions provided by the U.S. government to avoid potential scams or fraudulent activities.

How to enter the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery?

To enter the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery, also known as the Green Card Lottery, you need to follow the official guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of State. 

Here are the general steps to enter the DV lottery:

Step 1. Check Eligibility:

  • Ensure that you are from a country that is eligible to participate in the Diversity Visa Program. The list of eligible countries can change each year, and not all countries are eligible.

Step 2. Wait for the Registration Period:

  • The DV lottery has an annual registration period. Check the official U.S. Department of State website for announcements regarding the opening and closing dates of the registration period.

Step 3. Access the Official Website:

  • Go to the official Diversity Visa Program website. The official website is typically a “.gov” domain, indicating that it is a U.S. government site.

Step 4. Complete the Electronic Entry Form:

  • During the registration period, you will need to complete the electronic entry form. This form is available on the official website, and you must fill it out accurately. Be sure to provide all the required information, including your name, date of birth, gender, country of birth, and other details.

Step 5. Submit a Digital Photograph:

  • You will need to submit a recent digital photograph of yourself and any co-applicants. Follow the specific requirements outlined on the official website regarding photo specifications.

Step 6. Keep the Confirmation Number:

  • After submitting your entry, you will receive a confirmation number. It is crucial to keep this number in a safe place, as you will need it later to check the status of your entry.

Step 7. Check Results:

  • After the registration period closes, the U.S. Department of State conducts a random lottery to select winners. You can check the results on the official website using your confirmation number. It is important to note that being selected does not guarantee a visa; selected individuals must go through the visa application process.

What is the deadline to enter the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery?

The Diversity Visa (DV) lottery has an annual registration period during which individuals can submit their entries. 

The specific dates for the registration period can vary from year to year, and it is typically announced by the U.S. Department of State on their official website.

During the registration period, applicants must submit their entries online through the official website provided by the U.S. government. 

It’s important to note that there is a specific timeframe for submitting entries, and late entries are not accepted.

Tip 1: If you are interested in participating in the Diversity Visa lottery, regularly check the official website for announcements and updates regarding the opening and closing dates of the registration period. 

Tip 2: Be cautious of fraudulent schemes or websites that claim to offer assistance in the application process for a fee. The Diversity Visa Program is free to enter, and individuals submit their lottery entries ONLY on the official U.S. government website.

How can I check if I was selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery?

To check if you were selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery, follow these steps:

Step 1. Wait for the Results Announcement:

  • After the DV lottery registration period closes, the U.S. Department of State conducts a random lottery to select winners. The results are typically announced on the official DV lottery website.

Step 2. Visit the Official Website:

  • Go to the official Diversity Visa Program website. The official website is a “.gov” domain, indicating that it is a U.S. government site.

Step 3. Use the Confirmation Number:

  • Retrieve the confirmation number that you received when you submitted your entry. This number is essential for checking your DV lottery results.

Step 4. Check Results Online:

  • Navigate to the “Check Status” or “Entrant Status Check” section on the official website. Enter your confirmation number, along with other required information such as your last name and year of birth.

Step 5. View the Results:

  • The website will then inform you whether or not you have been selected in the DV lottery. If you are selected, you will receive further instructions on the next steps in the visa application process.

Step 6. Beware of Scams:

  • Be cautious of fraudulent websites or services claiming to provide DV lottery results for a fee. The official results are only available through the official U.S. Department of State website, and participation in the lottery is free.

When can I check if I was selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery?

The specific dates for checking the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery results are typically announced by the U.S. Department of State on the official DV lottery website

After the DV lottery registration period closes, there is a period of time before the results are made available.

As a general guideline:

Registration Period:

  • The DV lottery registration period is usually open for 1 month (early October – early November each year). During this time, eligible individuals can submit their entries through the official website.

Lottery Drawing:

  • After the registration period closes, the U.S. Department of State conducts a random lottery to select winners. This process may take some time.

Results Announcement:

  • The results are typically announced in early May after the registration period concludes. The exact date can vary from year to year.

I was selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery. What to do next if I am outside the U.S.?

Congratulations on being selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery! 

If you have been selected, here are the general steps you should take next (if you are outside the U.S.):

Step 1. Check the Results:

  • After being selected, you should have received instructions on how to check your results on the official DV lottery website. Make sure to follow the provided guidance to confirm your selection.

Step 2. Receive Notification:

  • If you are selected, you will receive a notification on the official DV lottery website. The notification will provide information on the next steps you need to take.

Step 3. Follow Provided Instructions:

  • Carefully read and follow the instructions provided on the official DV lottery website. These instructions will guide you through the visa application process.

Step 4. Complete the DS-260 Form:

  • The next major step is to complete the online immigrant visa application form, known as the DS-260. This form gathers information about you and your intended U.S. travel and is submitted electronically.

Step 5. Pay the Visa Fees:

  • Pay the required Diversity Visa application fee of $330. The payment process is typically done online.

Step 6. Submit Supporting Documents:

  • Gather and submit the necessary supporting documents, such as your passport, birth certificates, police certificates, and other documents as specified in the instructions. These documents will be required during your visa interview.

Step 7. Undergo a Medical Examination:

  • Schedule and undergo a medical examination with an authorized panel physician. The results of the medical examination are typically sent directly to the U.S. embassy or consulate.

Step 8. Scheduling a Visa Interview:

  • After submitting the DS-260 and the required documents, you will be informed about the date and time of your immigrant visa interview.

Step 9. Attend the Visa Interview:

  • Attend the scheduled visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The consular officer will review your case, ask questions, and determine your eligibility for a U.S. immigrant visa.

Step 10. Receive Visa and Travel to the U.S.:

  • If your visa application is approved, you will receive your immigrant visa, allowing you to travel to the U.S. You must enter the U.S. before the expiration date on your visa.

I was selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery. What to do next if I am already in the U.S.?

If you are already in the U.S. and have been selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery, there are some specific steps you should take to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident. 

Here’s a general outline of the process:

Step 1. Check Your Eligibility:

  • Ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria for adjusting your status in the U.S. Being physically present in the U.S. is a prerequisite, but there are other important requirements as well.

Step 2. Pay the Visa Fees:

  • Pay the required Diversity Visa application fee of $330. The payment process is typically done online.

Step 3. Gather Supporting Documents:

  • Gather and submit the necessary supporting Form I-485 documents. This includes your passport, long-form birth certificate, proof of maintaining lawful status in the U.S., Form I-94, copy of the U.S. visa, and other relevant documents.

Step 4. Undergo a Medical Examination:

  • Schedule and undergo a medical examination (Form I-693) with an authorized civil surgeon in the U.S.  

Step 5. File Form I-485 with USCIS:

  • Once you have a sealed medical examination results (Form I-693) file Form I-485 application with USCIS.

Step 6. Receive Interview Notice:

  • If needed, you may be scheduled for an interview at a USCIS office. This is generally less common for DV lottery winners, but it can happen. Follow the instructions provided in the interview notice.

Step 7. Receive the Green Card:

  • If your application is approved, you will receive your Green Card (Form I-551) by mail. This card confirms your status as a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

Step 8. Update Social Security Record:

  • Once you receive your Green Card, update your Social Security record. This can be done by visiting a local Social Security Administration office.

I was not selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery this year. Can I try again next year?

Yes, if you were not selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery in a particular year, you are eligible to enter the lottery again in subsequent years, provided you continue to meet the eligibility criteria. 

The Diversity Visa Program allows individuals to participate in the lottery in multiple years as long as they meet the requirements.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Annual Participation:

  • The DV lottery is an annual program, and you can submit a new entry during the designated registration period each year.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Ensure that you still meet the eligibility criteria for the DV lottery in the year you decide to reapply. The list of eligible countries and other requirements may change, so check the official U.S. Department of State website for the most up-to-date information.

Submit a New Entry:

  • If you are eligible and wish to try again, you will need to submit a new entry during the registration period for the relevant year. The entry period is typically open for 1 month. Make sure you provide updated personal information about yourself such as marital status, children, etc.

Keep Track of Changes:

  • Be aware of any changes in the application process, eligibility criteria, or other requirements from year to year. The official U.S. Department of State website is the best source for accurate and updated information.

Avoid Scams:

  • Participation in the DV lottery is free, and the official entry is submitted only through the official website. Be cautious of scams or fraudulent services that claim to enhance your chances of winning for a fee.

Remember that the Diversity Visa lottery is a random selection process, and winning is not guaranteed. 

Each entry has an equal chance of being selected. 

If you are persistent and continue to meet the eligibility criteria, you can participate in the DV lottery in multiple years.

If you are married and your spouse meets the eligibility criteria, you can submit two separate entries – one for yourself and one for your spouse.

What other immigration options are available besides the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery?

There are several immigration options available for individuals seeking to move to the U.S., and the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery is just one of them. 

Here are some common immigration pathways:

Family-Sponsored Visas:

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) can sponsor certain family members for immigrant visas. Family-sponsored categories include immediate relatives (spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens) and family preference categories (unmarried sons and daughters, married sons and daughters, and siblings of U.S. citizens).

Employment-Based Visas:

  • Individuals with specific job skills or qualifications may be eligible for employment-based visas. Common categories include the H-1B visa for skilled workers, the L-1 visa for intracompany transferees, and the EB (employment-based) immigrant visa categories.

Investor Visas (EB-5):

  • The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows individuals to obtain a green card by making a qualifying investment in a U.S. commercial enterprise. This program is designed to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation.

Asylum and Refugee Status:

  • Individuals who have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country may be eligible for asylum or refugee status. Asylum is sought by individuals already in the United States, while refugee status is typically granted to individuals applying from outside the U.S.

Special Immigrant Visas:

  • Special immigrant visas are available for individuals with special circumstances, such as certain religious workers, Afghan or Iraqi nationals who worked with the U.S. government, and others.

It’s important to note that each immigration category has its own eligibility requirements and application process. 

The best option for an individual depends on their specific circumstances, goals, and qualifications. 

Related Links:

Official U.S. Department of State Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery website

Online Diversity Visa (DV) lottery entry website

Check your Diversity Visa (DV) case status online