President Trump wants to get rid of one of the most popular green card programs, The Green Card Lottery. This program awards 50,000 green cards each year. Unlike other immigration pathways, this program is open to people of eligible countries without the need to have an employer or relative sponsor.
How the Green Card Lottery Works
The Green Card Lottery is a path to U.S. permanent residency for people from countries with historically low rates of immigration. Its formal name is the Diversity Visa Lottery. Each year the U.S. Department of State announces the eligible countries and immigrants who can register to be selected for a visa during the open dates, a set period of time in the fall of each year.
The 2019 Green Card Lottery registration period has already closed. The 2020 Green Card Lottery open dates will likely be announced in the summer of 2018, with registration opening sometime in the fall.
Most importantly, you must be a citizen or national of an eligible country. In addition, all applicants must have a high school education or have worked for two years in a skilled job; and be able to pass a criminal background check.
The eligible countries for the 2020 Green Card Lottery have not yet been announced. However, countries are often listed year after year unless their immigration rate to the U.S. changes. Here is the list of countries that were eligible for the 2019 lottery.
Central African Republic
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast
Sao Tome and Principe
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
United Arab Emirates
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Denmark (including components and dependent areas overseas)
France (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Macau Special Administrative Region
Netherlands (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Norway (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Portugal (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Micronesia, the Federated States of
New Zealand (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Papua New Guinea
South America, Central America and the Caribbean
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
And the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Why Trump Wants to End the Green Card Lottery
President Trump’s immigration platform includes stronger vetting of immigrants and more skill-based immigration. Trump has said that terrorist threats are one of the reasons he wants to end the Green Card Lottery and limit family-based migration.
Why Trump Hasn’t Ended the Green Card Lottery Yet
In order to end the Green Card Lottery, U.S. immigration laws need to be changed. To do this, Trump needs Congress to pass a bill that changes the current immigration policy and ends the program. This would likely be part of a bigger, comprehensive immigration reform bill. Congress has been trying to pass such a bill for years and has been unsuccessful.