Registrants for the Green Card Lottery find out whether or not they have won in May of the year following the lottery registration.
However, visa selection is a different matter and is addressed by the Visa Bulletin, a publication made available by the U.S. State Department.
Registration in the Green Card Lottery is the most important step in the entire process because without proper registration, there is no chance of winning.
After an applicant registers, they will be presented with a web page with a number on it. This number is called the confirmation number.
This number cannot be replaced in any way, so it is highly advised that you not only print the screen out into a file on your own computer (or digital information storage device) but also print out a paper copy of the number.
Any attempt to recover this number by trying to register again will negate both applications.
Checking the Winners
On May 1 of the year immediately following the registration period, registrants may log on to the official Diversity Visa Lottery page maintained by the Department of State and check their status.
When a registrant enters their confirmation number in the appropriate field they will then be given another number. This second number is effectively their place in line.
The number states the region from which the applicant comes and a number. This will become important in the next section.
Keep your confirmation number safe throughout the entire process.
The Visa Bulletin
The State Department’s Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication that tells immigration petitioners when they are ready to apply for a visa.
A Visa is the immigration document that will allow someone into the United States as a Permanent Resident.
A Permanent Resident (also known as a Green Card holder) is someone who is allowed to live and work in the United States indefinitely. This is the ultimate goal of the Green Card Lottery.
Here’s how the Visa Bulletin works for Green Card Lottery Applicants:
There is a table with the regions on one side and beside them are numbers.
Applicants are to find their region (found in the number given when one checks their status in May) and then look immediately to the right at a number.
If the applicant’s number is less than the number on the Visa Bulletin, they may then apply for a visa.
If there is no number next to the region name, but rather the word “CURRENT” that means that the State Department is no longer giving out visas for those people from those regions.