Same-Sex Marriage and the Green Card Lottery

Recently, a Supreme Court decision made it unconstitutional for government authorities to discriminate against legal marriages.

This impacts many different aspects of government and public life, but many people wonder: “Does it affect immigration policy at all? Will it impact the Green Card Lottery?”

The short answer is that it will affect immigration policy for the Green Card Lottery and most certainly positively.

Same-Sex Marriages

An important part of this new decision is that the USCIS will now routinely accept same-sex marriages in immigration proceedings. However, that marriage must meet certain requirements.

The marriage must have been legal and sanctioned in the jurisdiction in which it took place.

This means that the country, or state, in which the marriage took place, fully recognizes same-sex marriage.

A marriage conducted clandestinely within an area that does not recognize same-sex marriages will not be considered to be genuine in immigration proceedings.

It should also be noted that in certain areas where the government does not recognize a same-sex marriage, certain churches do. Though a church may recognize the marriage, that does not necessarily make the married couple to receive immigration benefits based on their marriage.

The Green Card Lottery

Nothing really changes about the process in the Green Card Lottery for same-sex couples, only that now they can include their spouse on the application as well.

It is important to include one’s spouse on the Registration application as well as the actual visa application.

Photographs of both of you (individually) must also be included in the registration information.

Also, any children in the marriage must be listed on the forms and their photographs be included as well.


Green Card Lottery Eligibility

Overview of the Green Card Lottery

The Green Card Lottery is a yearly immigration program designed to help people from countries that don’t often migrate to America to immigrate.

This program is renowned not only for the ease with which one may register and sign up, but it is also very easy to qualify.

There are only two requirements that must be met to be able to register in the fall: the Education requirement and the Location Requirement.


Part of the reason for making sure those applicants can meet these requirements is so that they can support themselves financially when they come to the United States.

With a base level of education, the U.S. government reasons that a person is minimally suited to becoming employed quickly.

Applicants for the Green Card Lottery have to have at least a high school education. That means 12 years of education in primary and secondary schools.

Exceptions to Education Requirement

An applicant can also qualify for this requirement if they have two years of experience in a job that took two years to train for. This would make them a professional and expert in their field and therefore suitably employable.


Applicants must be from a country that does not send large amounts of immigrants to the United States.

The State Department maintains a list of countries with high volumes of migrants to the U.S. called the designated country list.

People who were born in countries on this designated country list cannot apply for the Green Card Lottery.

Exceptions to the Location Requirement

There are some cases in which a person born into a country on the designated countries list may apply for the Green Card Lottery:

  • If the person has a spouse who was born in an accepted country and they will be immigrating to the U.S. together; or
  • If a person’s parent was not born in a designated country the applicant can then claim their parent’s nationality.

DV 2014: Registration Is Easy with

Registering for the Green Card Lottery can be a bit confusing, but can make the process much easier.

The service offered by ensures that your form is filled out appropriately and that your application will not be automatically rejected by the Department of State.

Though the program is still a lottery and as a result, not everyone who applies for the program will get the chance to apply for a visa. Even if their form is properly filled out and filed.

However, one’s chances of winning the Green Card Lottery are much better if proper filing procedures are followed.

How it Works

To enter the Green Card Lottery, you will register during a period of time between early October and early November.

The name of the lottery will be the letters “DV” followed by a four digit number representing the year two years past the registration year. So, DV 2014’s registration period was in 2012. If the registration period takes place in 2014, the name of the lottery is DV 2016.

Registration involves applying for the lottery online and submitting digital photographs of yourself and your family members.

The Department of State is solely responsible for the administration of this program.

After you register, you will be given a confirmation number. On May 1 of the year following your registration you may then log on to the State Department’s website and check your status in the Lottery.

When you enter your confirmation number into the website, it will return a number which indicates the region to which you have been assigned and your place in line.

By checking the Department of States’ regular Visa Bulletin you can estimate how long it will be until you can apply for the actual visa.

But you can’t apply for the visa if you don’t win and you can’t win if you don’t register. So register with today!


Cultural Activities: Visiting Washington D.C.

Permanent Residents are allowed to travel freely throughout the country and there are plenty of wonderful places to visit in the United States.

During the summer months many families in the U.S. travel to places they don’t often go to for tourism purposes. Termed family vacations, they are an American tradition.

Washington, D.C., the seat of the federal government of the U.S. is an extremely popular destination for family vacations for a variety of purposes.

The Center of Government

Since the District of Columbia is the Capitol of the entire country, it is full of educational opportunities for all members of the family of all ages.

Major, historical buildings are scattered throughout the district. Washington, D.C. is one of the first master planned cities in the world. Constructed on the border of Maryland and Virginia, the land was largely swampland before it was developed in the late 18th century.

The Capitol building (which houses Congress), the White House (Where the President lives) and the library of Congress are all located in Washington.

Land of Monuments

There are many monuments throughout Washington and they are all very impressive constructions to the memory of important events in United States History.

Some of the more famous monuments include:

  • The Washington Monument,
  • The Lincoln Memorial, and
  • The Vietnam Memorial.

Arts and Culture

Washington D.C., being a metropolitan area has many opportunities to absorb and consume culture. There are many theatres, arenas and performing arts centers throughout the city.

Two of note is Ford’s Theater, where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.


Get Ready for Green Card Lottery

Time Is of the Essence

The next Green Card Lottery registration period is only a few months away and as anyone who has applied for the lottery before knows: time is of the essence.

Registration is, of course, the first step on the path to United States Permanent Residency.

Planning and scheduling the right time to file and follow up on your application is extremely important. Start organizing your application now and reduce the stress of the process next year.

Preparing Documents

There are very few documents required when you register for the Green Card Lottery, but if you are selected you will have to produce an amount of paperwork.

Start preparing your paperwork early so that you can be sure to have all of the required documents by the time you are able to apply for a visa.

Here are some examples:

  • Passport style photographs. You may want a professional to take these photographs for you to make sure that they are satisfactory.
  • A current passport.
  • Your birth certificate to show that you are from an accepted country in the program. Copies of your parents’ or spouse’s birth certificates may be necessary if you are applying under their nationality.
  • School records to prove that you meet the education requirement.
  • Other personal identification, such as official local driver’s license.

Further Planning

You may or may not be able to foresee any moves you may make in the two years following your registration for the Green Card Lottery, but it remains important that you keep the State Department updated on your address.

This is mostly important during the visa application period.

If you can plan out your changes of address you can help the State Department find you easier to give you important information.


Green Card Lottery Cut Off Numbers on DOS Visa Bulletin

The Green Card Lottery cut off numbers on the DOS Visa Bulletin are effectively the upper limits for how many visas will be granted to a particular region.

The 50,000 visas available through the Green Card Lottery program are given to qualified winners of the lottery and those numbers are further distributed evenly among continents and countries. No one country receives more than 7% of the total number of visas assigned.

An applicant first becomes aware of their right to apply for a visa through this program in the spring following their application period. They then have approximately one year to apply for and receive that visa.

Typically, the name for a particular lottery is the letters “DV” followed by four numbers. The four numbers are the year in which the visa cut off occurs.

The registration period and the cut off are two years apart. The upcoming cut off is for DV-2013, so that means that applicants who registered for the Green Card Lottery in 2011 cannot apply for or receive a visa after September 30, 2013 [According to the August 2013 Department of State Visa Bulletin].

Within the Visa Bulletin, in parts B and C, are tables which represent which regions have already met their cut off.

To read the table in part B simply find the continent in which your country of origin resides and look at the second column. If there is a number there you still have time to apply for a visa. If that column says “CURRENT” there will be no more visas granted to that area for this Diversity Visa year.

The third column lists countries that have already met their 7% total limitation.

Keep in mind that at the end of September 2013, you will no longer be able to apply for a visa through DV-2013.


How to Win a Permanent Resident Card

We often get comments on our blog which ask “How can I win a Permanent Resident Card?”

The easiest answer to this question is “Apply.”

By applying for the Green Card Lottery you are already on the pathway to winning a Permanent Resident Card. However, it is still very important to pay attention to filing correctly as improperly filed applications will be rejected.

What is Permanent Residency?

Permanent Residency is the permission to live, work, study or travel throughout the United States on a more or less permanent basis.

Immigrants who have been granted this status do not need to re-apply for visas or regularly apply for new work permits.

Permanent Resident Cards expire every ten years. Though the status does not expire, the card will eventually have to be replaced to maintain it as a legal and useable document.

Why the Green Card Lottery?

The Green Card Lottery, also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery, is probably the easiest way to get a Permanent Resident Card in the U.S.

In order to register for the program you only have to meet two basic requirements:

  • You must either have a high school education (or two years of experience in a job that required two years of training),
  • And you must be from a country that has had recently low numbers in terms of immigrants coming to the U.S.

That’s all you will need to do to get in the running for a Permanent Resident Card.

How to Apply

The registration period for the Green Card Lottery falls in between early October and Early November each year and applications will only be accepted during this period of time.

Be prepared and have your application written up for review before you even file it. Remember that even small mistakes can make the difference between a win and a loss!