About the Green Card Lottery

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the "Green Card Lottery," is administered each year by the Department of State. The Immigration and Nationality Act allows for a class of immigrant known as "diversity immigrants." This designation refers to those who immigrate to the U.S. from countries who do not traditionally have high rates of immigration to the U.S.

These countries include, but are not limited to: Algeria, Cape Verde, Morocco, Niger, Ethiopia, South Africa, Cambodia, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sir Lanka, Thailand, Hong Kong, Thailand, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Fiji, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Venezuela.

For a full list of qualifying countries, please click here.

Eligibility for the Green Card Lottery

If you were born in a country whose natives qualify, you are eligible to enter the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. If you were not born in an eligible country, there are two other ways you may qualify.

If your spouse was born in an eligible country, and you are both entering the program, are ultimately issued diversity visa, and enter the U.S. at the same time, you can qualify.

If your parents were born in a country that is eligible, you may claim nativity.

In addition to the geographical requirement, you must also have a high school education or equivalent (which is defined as completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education, or you must have two years of work experience (within the last five years) for a job that requires at least that amount of experience to perform. For more information on this last requirement, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor's online database.

Entering the Green Card Lottery

Any entry for the 2017 Diversity Visa program must be submitted online between noon, Eastern Daylight Time, on October 1, 2015, and noon, Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday, November 2, 2015.

Be sure to file as soon as possible, as waiting will result in a clogged website. No late entries will be expected. U.S. law means only one entry per person during each registration period.

The following information will be needed to enter the DV-2017 program:

  1. Your name, as it is written in your passport.
  2. Your birth date.
  3. Gender.
  4. City of birth.
  5. Country of birth.
  6. Country eligibility for the DV program. This will normally be your country of birth, unless you are applying using your spouse or parents' eligible country.
  7. Recent photos of yourself and anyone else listed on your entry (wife, children). Each person must have an individual photo.
  8. Mailing address.
  9. Country where you live now.
  10. Phone number (optional).
  11. Your email address.
  12. Information on your highest level of education that you have achieved.
  13. Current marital status.
  14. Number of children (please remember that married children and children over the age of 21 are not eligible for a diversity visa).

After Applying for the Green Card Lottery

After you finish your entry, there will be a screen that displays your name and confirmation number. Remember to print this screen so you can keep it for your records. Record your confirmation number, because starting May 1, 2015, you will be able to use it to check the status of your entry.

You can check the status of your entry by going to www.dvlottery.state.gov. From there, click on "Entrant Status Check." You will then enter your personal information and confirmation number.

Applicants are selected randomly by a computer. If you are selected, you still must meet all listed eligibility requirements. If you are from a country identified as a state sponsor of terrorism, this may mean increased scrutiny and therefore increased time taken in processing.

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