USA Green Card Lottery for Citizens of United States
The Green Card Lottery is a path to U.S. permanent residency without the need for a family or employer sponsor. If you live in the United States but are not a citizen, you may be eligible to apply.
The Green Card Lottery is a global program. Fifty-thousand winners are selected each year to receive a green card. Different qualifying countries are chosen every year, based on which countries and regions sent the fewest numbers of immigrants to the United States. If you are a citizen of a qualifying country, you may be eligible to apply.
If you need help registering, we provide a review and submission service to help ensure you submit an eligible entry.
What Are the Requirements to Enter the USA Green Card Lottery in the United States?
There are only two requirements to enter the Green Card Lottery. Note that the eligible countries for the 2018 lottery (DV-2020) have not yet been announced.
- Born in an eligible country.* The only countries that were NOT eligible in the 2019 lottery were: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
- Meet the education/work experience requirement
Born in eligible country
If you do not meet this requirement, you may still be eligible to apply if your spouse was born in a qualifying country or if one of your parents is from a qualifying country. To meet the education or work requirements, both of your parents must have been born in different country from you OR both of your parents must have been illegally residing in the country of your birth at the time of your birth.
Education or work experience
- Have at least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education; OR
- Have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.
Open Dates: When Can I Apply for the Green Card Lottery?
The open dates for the upcoming Green Card Lottery (2020) have not yet been announced. However, the registration period typically begins in October and carries into November of each year. It’s important to note that the registration year does not match the year the winners are announced. While the upcoming registration period will take place in the fall of 2018, the winners will not be announced until 2020.
What Happens If I Win? Adjustment of Status Process
Winning the lottery does not automatically mean you will receive a green card. In fact, only half of winners actually get green cards each year. The government requires Green Card Lottery winners to apply for a green card through the traditional process. This is where many winners are disqualified.
People who are already living in the United States should apply for a U.S. green card through the Adjustment of Status process. You will apply through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to have your immigration status changed from temporary to permanent (green card). The application is Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.