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What is a Diversity Lottery Green Card?

Diversity Lottery Green Cards are a type of visa that allows individuals from countries with low immigration rates to apply for lawful permanent residency in the United States. The program that awards diversity lottery green cards is known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program. The DV awards up to 50,000 immigrant visas each year. Visas are allocated through a random lottery system to eligible applicants.

Key Takeaways

  • The goal of the diversity lottery green card system is to award visas to immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration
  • About 50,000 diversity lottery green cards are awarded each year.
  • It should be noted that winning the Diversity Visa Lottery does not guarantee a green card; it only provides the opportunity to apply for one. 

How Diversity Lottery Green Cards Work

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the DV Program, started the diversity visa lottery as a method of increasing diversity of immigrants living in the United States. Green card lottery applicants must be from a country with historically low rates of immigration - meaning countries that do not send many immigrants to the United States. The full list of eligible countries can be found on the U.S. Department of State website categorized six geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and the Southern Americas (including South America, Central America and the Caribbean nations). A few examples of regions whose natives are eligible include Algeria, Thailand, Germany, Italy, Australia, Peru and Uruguay.

In addition to eligibility based on native region, you must also meet certain criteria related to education or work experience. Typically, you must have a minimum high school education or equivalent or at least two years' experience within the past five years in a qualifying occupation. 

Registration for the DV Program generally runs between early October and early November of each year. If you are interested in participating in the green card lottery, it is highly advised to apply as soon as registration opens. Late entries are not accepted, so if you miss the deadline, you will have to wait until next year to apply again.

Around 50,000 immigrant visas are granted annually based on the results of a random drawing. In 2021, over 11.8 million people applied to the green card lottery. You can increase your chances of success in winning the green card lottery by ensuring that you meet all necessary requirements of the DV Program and by properly completing your application. Consider seeking the advice of a professional immigration attorney to make sure you are eligible to apply and for personalized assistance with your application.

Bottom Line

Remember that even if you win the green card lottery, this does not necessarily guarantee that you will get a U.S. green card. There are still several crucial steps and requirements to fulfill, including completing additional forms, attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and meeting education and employment criteria. Find out if the DV Program is right for you by booking a consultation with an Attorney At Law immigration lawyer.

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