What is the Green Card Lottery Donald Trump Wants Gone?

President Trump wants to get rid of one of the most popular green card programs, The Green Card Lottery. This program awards 55,000 green cards each year. Unlike other immigration pathways, this program is open to people of eligible countries without the need to have an employer or relative sponsor.

How the Green Card Lottery Works

The Green Card Lottery is a path to U.S. permanent residency for people from countries with historically low rates of immigration. Its formal name is the Diversity Visa Lottery. Each year the U.S. Department of State announces the eligible countries and immigrants who can register to be selected for a visa during the open dates, a set period of time in the fall of each year.

Open Dates

The 2019 Green Card Lottery registration period has already closed. The 2020 Green Card Lottery open dates will likely be announced in the summer of 2018, with registration opening sometime in the fall.

Eligibility Criteria

Most importantly, you must be a citizen or national of an eligible country. In addition, all applicants must have a high school education or have worked for two years in a skilled job; and be able to pass a criminal background check.

Eligible Countries

The eligible countries for the 2020 Green Card Lottery have not yet been announced. However, countries are often listed year after year unless their immigration rate to the U.S. changes. Here is the list of countries that were eligible for the 2019 lottery.

Africa

Algeria

Angola

Benin

Botswana

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cameroon

Cabo Verde

Central African Republic

Chad

Comoros

Congo

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast

Djibouti

Egypt

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Ethiopia

Gabon

Gambia, The

Ghana

Guinea-Bissau

Kenya

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Madagascar

Malawi

Mali

Mauritania

Mauritius

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Niger

Rwanda

Sao Tome and Principe

Senegal

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Somalia

South Africa

South Sudan

Sudan

Swaziland

Tanzania

Togo

Tunisia

Uganda

Zimbabwe

Asia

Afghanistan

Bahrain

Bhutan

Brunei

Burma

Cambodia

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Indonesia

Maldives

Mongolia

Nepal

North Korea

Oman

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

Iran

Iraq

Israel

Japan

Jordan

Kuwait

Laos

Lebanon

Malaysia

Sri Lanka

Syria

Taiwan

Thailand

Timor-Leste

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

Europe

Albania

Andorra

Armenia

Austria

Azerbaijan

Belarus

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bulgaria

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark (including components and dependent areas overseas)

Estonia

Finland

France (including components and dependent areas overseas)

Georgia

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

Kazakhstan

Kosovo

Kyrgyzstan

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macau Special Administrative Region

Macedonia

Malta

Moldova

Monaco

Montenegro

Netherlands (including components and dependent areas overseas)

Northern Ireland

Norway (including components and dependent areas overseas)

Poland

Portugal (including components and dependent areas overseas)

Romania

Russia

San Marino

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Tajikistan

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Ukraine

Uzbekistan

Vatican City

North America

The Bahamas

Oceania

Australia

Fiji

Kiribati

Marshall Islands

Micronesia, the Federated States of

Nauru

New Zealand (including components and dependent areas overseas)

Palau

Papua New Guinea

Samoa

Solomon Islands

Tonga

Tuvalu

Vanuatu

South America, Central America and the Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda

Argentina

Barbados

Belize

Bolivia

Chile

Costa Rica

Cuba

Dominica

Ecuador

Grenada

Guatemala

Guyana

Honduras

Nicaragua

Panama

Paraguay

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent

And the Grenadines

Suriname

Trinidad and Tobago

Uruguay

Venezuela

Why Trump Wants to End the Green Card Lottery

President Trump’s immigration platform includes stronger vetting of immigrants and more skill-based immigration. Trump has said that terrorist threats are one of the reasons he wants to end the Green Card Lottery and limit family-based migration.

Why Trump Hasn’t Ended the Green Card Lottery Yet

In order to end the Green Card Lottery, U.S. immigration laws need to be changed. To do this, Trump needs Congress to pass a bill that changes the current immigration policy and ends the program. This would likely be part of a bigger, comprehensive immigration reform bill. Congress has been trying to pass such a bill for years and has been unsuccessful.

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