The spouses and children of Green Card Lottery winners are, of course, invited to come with the primary winner, but there are some specific rules that must be followed.
Here, we will discuss some of the finer points of bringing relatives into the United States with immigration visas.
The Green Card Lottery
The Green Card Lottery, also known more officially as the Diversity Visa Lottery, is an annual program which gives out about 50,000 Green Cards a year.
A Green Card is an immigration document that allows an immigrant to live and work in the United States on a more or less permanent basis, provided they follow the conditions of the Green Card.
The registration period for the lottery occurs every year in October and November (the official dates for the next registration period have not been released yet). The following May the State Department announces the winners.
Winners are then allowed to apply for visas as their numbers come up on the visa bulletin.
Registration for the Lottery
There are many important things to think about when initially registering for the Green Card Lottery.
Applicants must remember that they have to list all of their dependent children and their spouse on their application when they first apply.
If the applicant wins and becomes qualified to receive a visa to the United States their children and spouse will be given visas as well.
Regardless of whether or not the applicant will be bringing their whole family they must list them all on the application.
Sponsoring Family Members
A second option for those lucky winners of the Green Card Lottery is to not bring one’s family members over immediately, but wait for them in the United States for a while.
The purpose of this would be to establish oneself in the United States first so that when the rest of the family joins, the transition may be a bit smoother. While culture shock is easily overcome, it is important to take steps to limit its effect.
In order to do this, immigrants are to file for sponsorship for their family members from the United States. The family members outside of the U.S. are then to file petitions to the State Department for immigration to the country.
For more immediate family members (such as spouses or dependent children) there is little to no wait time for a visa. However, more distant relatives (siblings or parents) the wait times can sometimes become very long.