What Is the Diversity Lottery?

The road to U.S. permanent residency, or a green card, can look different depending on the path taken. Have you ever hear of the diversity lottery? Established under the Immigration Act of 1990, the Diversity Visa was intended to increase the diversity of immigrants in the U.S. Here, we will talk more about the diversity lottery the Diversity Visa program, and how it works.

What Is the Diversity Lottery?

People from all over the world immigrate to the U.S. There are some countries, however, that provide a majority of these immigrants. To try and diversify the U.S. immigrant population, the Diversity Visa was established by Congress in the hopes that immigrants from smaller countries or countries (that did not usually send many immigrants to the U.S.) would be encouraged to come to the U.S. The Diversity Visa program is administered by the Department of State. It provides a pathway to a U.S. green card for 50,000 randomly selected individuals from countries that do not usually send many immigrants to the U.S. By providing a pathway to U.S. permanent resident status for individuals from these different countries, it would hopefully encourage more to come.

To enter the Diversity Visa lottery, also referred to as the “green card lottery,” you must fill out a U.S. Department of Status Application online. There is no fee associated with entering the lottery. Furthermore, you are able to enter the lottery each year between early October and early November should your efforts prove unsuccessful. Winners of the lottery are randomly selected by a computer. The lottery winners as well as their immediate family members will be provided with a pathway to U.S. permanent residence status.

To be eligible to enter the Diversity Visa lottery, a person must have been born in a country that has sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. within the past 5 years. This means eligible countries can vary year to year, but some almost never make the eligibility list because of how many immigrants come to the U.S. from those countries each year. For instance, Canada, China, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom never make this list. In some cases, if one spouse is from a country that sends many immigrants to the U.S., but the other spouse is from an eligible country, it can be an option to apply for the lottery and choose your spouse’s birth country on the application.

In addition to being from an eligible country, a lottery applicant must have obtained a high school degree at a minimum, or, alternatively, obtained at least two years of work experience in the past five years in a job requiring a minimum of two years of training.

Should a person be selected in the diversity lottery, he or she, as well as eligible family members, will need to meet the same requirements that must be met by any other U.S. green card applicants. This means that certain criminal records could render a lottery winner ineligible. In some cases, certain medical conditions could prevent a lottery winner from getting a green card.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at info@visaserve.com or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x104). You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at www.visaserve.com.