Green Card Lottery Eligibility

Overview of the Green Card Lottery

The Green Card Lottery is a yearly immigration program designed to help people from countries that don’t often migrate to America to immigrate.

This program is renowned not only for the ease with which one may register and sign up, but it is also very easy to qualify.

There are only two requirements that must be met to be able to register in the fall: the Education requirement and the Location Requirement.


Part of the reason for making sure those applicants can meet these requirements is so that they can support themselves financially when they come to the United States.

With a base level of education, the U.S. government reasons that a person is minimally suited to becoming employed quickly.

Applicants for the Green Card Lottery have to have at least a high school education. That means 12 years of education in primary and secondary schools.

Exceptions to Education Requirement

An applicant can also qualify for this requirement if they have two years of experience in a job that took two years to train for. This would make them a professional and expert in their field and therefore suitably employable.


Applicants must be from a country that does not send large amounts of immigrants to the United States.

The State Department maintains a list of countries with high volumes of migrants to the U.S. called the designated country list.

People who were born in countries on this designated country list cannot apply for the Green Card Lottery.

Exceptions to the Location Requirement

There are some cases in which a person born into a country on the designated countries list may apply for the Green Card Lottery:

  • If the person has a spouse who was born in an accepted country and they will be immigrating to the U.S. together; or
  • If a person’s parent was not born in a designated country the applicant can then claim their parent’s nationality.