The U.S. Department of State is currently accepting applications for the 2015 Diversity Visa program (DV-2015, also known as the green card lottery). The DV-2015 application period, which runs from October 1 to November 2, marks the first time that applicants may include same-sex spouses in their initial applications or add spouses acquired after their initial registration.
Every year, the U.S. government makes available 55,000 permanent resident visas (5,000 of which are reserved for applicants under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act of 1997) to citizens from countries with a low immigration rate to the United States. Winners are chosen in a computerized random selection. Entry is free of charge, and applicants must meet certain educational, health, and occupational requirements.
Bangladesh consistently topped the list in terms of number of entries, until being removed from the DV-2013 lottery; notably, entries originating from Bangladeshi nationals in the DV-2012 intake period came to 7.7 million of the total 14.8 million qualified applications that year. Other countries with large numbers of entries in recent lotteries include Ukraine, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Nigeria (although for DV-2015 intake, nationals of Nigeria are no longer eligible to apply).
The comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed earlier this year included a provision to eliminate the diversity visa program, instead proposing to offer more temporary work visas (with eligibility to adjust to permanent residence) to nationals of low-immigration countries.