What is the U.S. Visa Lottery?
The Diversity Visa Lottery, also known as the Green Card Lottery or the U.S. Visa Lottery, is an annual immigration program which distributes 50,000 visas to people around the world for the purpose of immigration.
This program is currently being targeted for elimination in favor of other immigration programs, so it may not always be available and 2013 may be the last year in which applicants can register.
When Does the U.S. Visa Lottery registration begin?
The registration period begins normally in early October and ends in early November. Applicants interested in entering the lottery are only allowed to apply during the registration period.
Applications made outside of this timeframe or not through the online application site will be rejected.
What are requirements for entry?
There are relatively few requirements for entrance into the Green Card Lottery program when compared to other immigration types. In order to register for the lottery, applicants must meet these two requirements:
- Applicant must have a high school education or two years of experience in a job that took two years to train for.
- Applicants must be from an accepted, non-designated country.
What documents need to be included in the registration application?
There are a number of documents that will need to be on hand for the registration period, and indeed, for the entire time that one is applying for the Green Card Lottery:
- Identification documents such as passports or national identification cards. Birth certificates are included in this category.
- Proof of education or the completion of an apprenticeship to meet the first requirement.
- Passport style photographs to be included in the application package.
At the end of an applicant’s initial registration they will be given a number called a confirmation number. It is very important to preserve this code.
On May 1 of the following year the winners of the Green Card Lottery will be announced. The only way to see if one has won is to log on to the State Department’s website and enter their confirmation number.
Will a Green Card be mailed to the applicant’s residence?
If the applicant enters their confirmation number into the State Department’s website and they see that they have won they will then have to file for an immigration visa sometime over the next year.
Winners of the Green Card Lottery are not instantly given green cards, but rather afforded an opportunity to apply for one.
Applying for an immigration Visa
Immigration visas, or Green Cards, are applied for at foreign consulates and follow a specific process.
The potential immigrant applies for an immigrant visa, an appointment is made and the applicant is interviewed by an immigration officer, and then the immigration officer makes a decision on the case.
Entering the United States
If the immigration officer accepts the immigration application, the immigrant is then allowed to file for admittance into the United States at a port-of-entry.
They can still be turned away here, but it is very unusual. Once in the United States the Green Card will be mailed to the winner’s address.