What Can You Do with a Green Card?

A Green Card is an U.S. immigration document that gives a person permanent resident status.

A permanent resident has many rights conferred to them, some of which are listed below.

People from all over the world have the opportunity to get a Green Card of their own with the Green Card Lottery on October 1, 2013.


Green Card holders (permanent residents) have the right to work in the United States without any such limitations as the need for a work permit.

However, in order to get a job, immigrants will likely be required to provide proof of their permanent residency with a copy of their green card.

Permanent residents must also apply for a social security number and pay for taxes, which in turn pay for invaluable services throughout the United States.


Permanent residents do not need to get study permits in order to study in the United States, unlike other non-U.S. residents.

The United States is known for having some of the best universities and learning facilities in the world. Getting an education is an almost guaranteed boost to a better job and a better life.

Helping Family Members Immigrate

Permanent residents of the United States can help their relatives immigrate to the U.S., which would help bring families together and make the transition to a new country all the more easy.

Become a Citizen

After a while of being a permanent resident in the United States, immigrants can apply for full citizenship, which comes with many different benefits such as:

  • Citizens cannot be deported
  • Relatives of citizens do not have to wait as long to become permanent residents
  • Citizens can vote in elections and participate in the democratic process

Register for the Green Card Lottery today and take advantage of the green card today!


When Can I Apply for the 2013 Green Card Lottery?

The Green Card Lottery registration period for 2013 begins at noon on October 1, 2013 and participants can begin registering for the lottery online at that time.

Applications for the Green Card Lottery will only be accepted between October 1 and November 2 for 2013. Late applications will not be accepted.

Potential immigrants who miss the registration period in 2013 will need to wait until 2014’s registration period. However, there is some doubt as to whether or not there will be another Green Card Lottery after 2013.

DV 2015

The 2013 registration period is for the Diversity Visa Program 2015. It is called the DV 2015 because the immigration visas won by registrants in 2013 will be distributed in 2015.

People from the following countries cannot claim their own country for the DV 2015: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Mainland China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, the United Kingdom and all dependent territories with the exception of Northern Ireland. Vietnam is also ineligible.

Applicants for this Diversity Visa Lottery will be able to check the status of their applications on May 1, 2014 with the confirmation numbers they are given at the end of their electronic registration.

When Should I apply?

Applicants should consider the most appropriate time to apply for the Green Card Lottery. It is not wise to jump into registration as registrants are only given one chance to fill out a complete application per year.

Applicants for the Green Card Lottery should make sure that they have all the information they need to apply for the lottery before they begin registration.

Though there is a limited window in which one can apply for the lottery, the day on which one applies for the Green Card Lottery does not affect one’s chances of winning the lottery.


Family Members and the Green Card Lottery

The Green Card Lottery’s registration period is coming and now is the time to start putting together your family’s paperwork.

The registration system will only allow you one chance to enter all of your relevant information, so it is of utmost importance that all of your family’s identification and reference documents are available when you register.

However, a commonly asked question is: Which family members am I supposed to include on the registration application?

Family Members and the Green Card Lottery

The following are the family members that you MUST list on your application:

  • Your spouse. This is regardless of whether or not they are living with you. They might not even come with you to the United States, but they must be listed on the application.

    A spouse is defined as either a husband or a wife. Since June, 2013, same-sex couples are eligible to file for their spouse in U.S. immigration.

    Spouses must also be officially recognized by a court.

  • Your children. All of your living children under the age of 21 and unmarried must be listed in the application. This includes children living with you or not, adopted children and children from your marriage.

Failure to include all required family members will result in your application being rejected by the U.S. State Department upon application for an immigration visa.

A Helpful Hint

Duplicate applications are absolutely not allowed and any duplications will be summarily thrown out.

However, if you and your spouse are looking to immigrate together, you can both individually apply for the Green Card Lottery at the same time!

This effectively doubles your chance to win the lottery!

However, it is still very important to make sure that they are two separate and individual applications and not, in any way, duplications.


Next Steps After Winning Green Card Lottery

After a registrant wins the Green Card Lottery they are then given the opportunity to apply for an immigration visa. However, what does a winner do after they have received their immigration visa?

Preparing to Come to the U.S.

The first thing to address when preparing to enter the United States has to do with funding one’s trip and arrival. There are several things that must be considered when saving up for one’s transition:

  • The State Department will not fund winner’s transportation to the United States. Immigrants are expected to come up with their own travel arrangements whether by air, ocean or road.
  • Immigrants will need to have enough money saved up to be able to support themselves as they search for a job in the United States. This could end up being a significant amount of money as the U.S. is one of the more expensive countries in the world. This amount must also be able to support the applicant’s family.
  • Any costs and fees associated with the actual immigration application also must be paid before the immigration visa is issued.

Once in the United States there are a number of things that need to be addressed promptly:

  • Arranging for school. Children from the ages of 5 to 18 are required to go to school. Immigrants should register their accompanying children for school as soon as possible.
  • Apply for a Social Security Card. There are at least two documents that immigrants need to get a job: their Green Card and a Social Security number. Apply with the Social Security Agency for a number and card.
  • Living arrangements. Finding a place to live is one of the first steps one should undertake. Apartments, condominiums and houses are available throughout the United States. Realtors and local real estate listings can help immigrants find living arrangements.

Green Card Lottery Fees

The U.S. State Department, which asks for no compensation for registry in the Green Card Lottery, will ask for immigrants to pay fees when they win the Green Card Lottery.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is a government organization that funds itself mostly through fees collected from immigrants applying for benefits in the U.S.

Considering the cost of immigration form fees is an important part of coming to the U.S. Some fee waivers may be available in some circumstances, but applications for fee waivers may be declined.

Green Card Lottery Fees

The Green Card Lottery itself is funded and supervised by the U.S. Department of State and has no associated fee itself.

Winners of the Green Card Lottery will be directed to apply for an immigration visa and this process will require that the applicant pay fees.

While the application for the Green Card Lottery does not have any fees, this does not consider the fees that may be charged to applicants from third-party organizations to help file this application.

Many Green Card Lottery applicants opt to use a third-party organization to make sure that their application is correctly filed as a person only has one chance per year to file correctly for the Green Card Lottery.

Other Green Card Fees

There are a number of other fees associated with Green Cards that applicants should consider:

  • If a Green Card needs to be replaced after being lost, stolen or damaged, applicants are to file Form I-90, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, which comes with a $365 form fee and an $85 biometrics fee for a total of $450.
  • The initial application for a Green Card is Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The form fee is $985 with an $85 biometric fee, bringing the total fee cost to $1,070

It is important to remember that fees are subject to change. USAGreenCardLottery.org will update the fee costs as they change.


Instructions for DV 2015

The registration period for the DV 2015 will begin on October 1, 2013 and end on November 2, 2013. No applications will be accepted after this until the next Green Card Lottery.

Applicants will only have one chance to enter their information in the registration site so it is important to know what needs to be included in the application.

Here are the basic questions that will be asked during Green Card Lottery Registration:

  • Full name as it appears on the applicant’s passport
  • Birthday in international format
  • Gender
  • Country and city in which the applicant was born, the country that one is claiming for eligibility in the Green Card Lottery will also be on the form. However, this may be a different country than the one in which the applicant is born.
  • Photographs of the applicant and all dependent family members. This includes spouses and children. It is important that one has these photographs ready when one begins the application process. There are strict rules regarding the formatting and form of these photograph files.
  • One’s mailing address. In order to make sure that there are as few problems as possible it is a good idea to use a mailing address that won’t change for at least one year.
  • Current country of residence
  • A valid email address
  • Marital status and number of children
  • One’s educational level. There are several levels from which to choose between primary school and doctoral program


It is important to note that the applicant must list all of their living children provided that they are under the age of 21 and unmarried. This includes natural children, step-children and legally adopted children.


The Selection Process for Green Card Lottery Winners

The Green Card Lottery is not a general lottery in that winners are selected in a purely random fashion, rather it is made to be weighted to be fairer for people of the world.

Lottery winners are selected in the period of time between the end of the registration period, November 2, 2013 and May 1, 2014.

On May 1, applicant can use their confirmation numbers (given to them when they register online for the lottery) to see whether or not they have won an opportunity to apply for an immigration visa.

Selection figures

A total of 100,000 registrants will be selected to continue with their immigration visa process on May 1, 2014.

Of those 100,000, about 50,000 will receive Green Cards and be granted the right to live and work in the U.S.

When the State Department selects winners of the Green Card Lottery they make sure that certain countries are not given a greater number of immigrant visas than others. No more than 7% of the total Green Cards are to be granted to claimants of one particular country.

Oftentimes one region of the world may collect more Green Cards than the other regions. The regions considered in the Green Card Lottery are: Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, North America and South America. South America also includes Central America and the Caribbean.

Africa received the most Green Cards in 2012, garnering about 50%.

Selection Notification

The Department of State does not notify winners of the Green Card Lottery directly. Applicants must log on to the Diversity Visa Lottery website and use their confirmation numbers to check their status.

If they are told by the Entrant Status Check that they have won the Green Card Lottery, they may then proceed in applying for an immigration visa.


Green Card Lottery Common Concerns

The Green Card Lottery will start accepting applications on October 1, 2013 for DV 2015.

People interested in becoming green card holders through this program should try to be as informed about the program as possible.

Applicants will only have one opportunity to get their application right and it is absolutely important that one be prepared to enter the lottery correctly. Incorrect applications or duplications will result in a general rejection of the person from the Green Card Lottery program.

Applications must be submitted between October 1 and November 2, 2013 and applicants will only have one chance to fill the form out correctly.

Below are some commonly asked about features of the Green Card Lottery.

Confirmation Number

A confirmation number is given to the applicant after they file their online registration. They will be presented with the confirmation number in their browser window.

It is extremely important that this number not be lost. Confirmation numbers cannot be replaced and any attempts to retrieve a second confirmation number will void both applications.

Applicant’s confirmation numbers will be necessary to check one’s status on May 1, 2014, the day when the winners of the Green Card Lottery will be announced.


Photographs of the applicant and dependents of the applicant must be included in one’s registration application for it to be considered official.

Some applicants have asked if they can mail their photographs to the State Department when they register online. The State Department will not accept physical photographs, they must be electronic in form.

One useful workaround for people without a scanner or a digital photograph is to send the physical photograph to someone who does have a scanner, have them make a digital copy of the photo and then email it back to the applicants.

This digital file can then be used to register for the Green Card Lottery, provided it follows the strict specifications for photographs in the Diversity Visa Lottery program.


DV 2015 Green Card Lottery Registration Dates Announced

The 2015 Diversity Visa Lottery’s registration period has been scheduled to begin on October 1, 2013 and potential immigrants are being advised to prepare their applications as soon as possible.

The DV 2015 instructions were released by the U.S. State Department on September 13, 2013 and include:

  • Start and end dates for the Green Card Lottery registration period
  • Eligible countries that are chargeable for the DV 2015
  • Education and job experience requirements
  • Specific instructions  for filing one’s registration application and tentative further instruction for applicants

Registration Period

All registration applications must be submitted online between October 1, 2013 and November 2, 2013 to be considered for the Green Card Lottery.

The lottery registration period will open and close at noon of the respective dates.

Applications are to be submitted online through the State Department’s official registration website.

Eligible Countries of Origin

The country or nationality an applicant claims to be eligible for the Green Card Lottery is considered the “chargeable” country.

Chargeable countries are selected based on the immigration numbers to the United States over the previous five years. Countries with rates of immigration over 50,000 to the U.S. will not be considered chargeable for this Diversity Visa Lottery Season.

Education Requirement

Most applicants must be able to show that they have at least an education equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma and sufficient funds to support themselves in the U.S. while they search for employment.

Alternatively, some professions can be claimed to circumvent the education requirement if they took two years to train for and the applicant has had at least two years of experience working that job.

Last Year?

Recent discussion of immigration reform in the U.S. Congress has been focused on the elimination of the Green Card Lottery in favor of other immigration programs. The upshot of this is that the Green Card Lottery’s last year may be this year.

Potential immigrants are encouraged to take advantage of this great program while they still can.


Green Card Lottery DV 2015 Registration to Begin October 1, 2013

The U.S. Department of State announced on Friday, September 13, 2013, that online registration for the Green Card Lottery DV 2015 Program will begin Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00 noon Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

The program will end Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:00 noon Eastern Daylight Time.

50,000 diversity visas will be made available. Winners are chosen randomly.

There are a few requirements you must meet to be able to apply. To start, you must have been born in an eligible country. The following countries are not eligible:

  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom
  • Vietnam

This requirement can be waived if your spouse was born in an eligible country. If this is the case, you can claim your spouse’s country of birth, as long as both of you are named on your entry and enter the United States simultaneously.

The requirement can also be waived if you were born in an ineligible country of which both of your parents were not legal residents of at the time of your birth. If one of your parents themselves was born in an eligible country, then you may claim that country on your entry.

You must also meet the required amount of education/work experience. You need to have either a high school education (or its equivalent) or at least two years of work experience in the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to adequately perform.