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.
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%.
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.