Preparation for Green Card Lottery

Why enter the Green Card Lottery?

The Green Card Lottery is an immigration program made available through the United States government and two of its departments: the USCIS and the DoS. The USCIS is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and handles immigration applications within the United States. The DoS is the Department of State which is responsible for the application and creation of foreign policy for the United States.

Applicants for the Green Card Lottery will be primarily working with the Department of State because they are applying from without the United States.

But why bother getting a Green Card?

Having a Green Card means that you can legally live and work in the United States. There aren’t any other documents that let you do that in the United States. Also, Green Card holders can eventually apply for US citizenship and even further solidify their status as members of the United States.


There are three main things you should know about the registration process for the Green Card Lottery:

  1. You can only apply during the designated registration period.
  2. You must apply for registration online.
  3. Registration does not necessarily mean that you will win.

The registration period is typically from the beginning of October to early November every year. Applications are not accepted outside of this period of time, so it’s important to make sure you apply on time. Keep in mind that the name of the Green Card Lottery includes the year in which the Green Cards will be distributed, so if you apply for a green card in the registration period in 2013, the lottery will be called the 2015 Green Card lottery.

The State Department maintains a website to accept applications online. You absolutely must use this service as the State Department does not accept any paper applications.

Registration is of course only the first part of the Green Card Lottery process. There are only 55,000 visas to be distributed and over ten million people apply every year. Not everyone who applies will get a Green Card, but there are some things you can do to make sure you have the best chance to win.


Preparing for applying for the Green Card Lottery is important because it ensures that you have the best chance of winning a visa. Poor preparation may lead to your application being automatically rejected.

One of the most important things to do for preparation is the creation of your application photo. The guidelines are extremely strict and you should give yourself plenty of time to create yours properly.

Could this be the last year?

Currently, immigration reform is a very popular subject in American political discourse and part of that discussion addresses the possibility of ending the Green Card Lottery.

Some members of congress see the Green Card Lottery as being a pointless immigration program that distributes Green Cards for no reason. These congress-people believe that all Green Cards should be issued based on merit.

It is important to note, however, that no legislation has been passed yet and it is quite possible that the Green Card Lottery may have a chance at continuing if congress does not come up with an immigration reform bill by the end of the year.