What Is a Diversity Visa and Who Is Eligible?

Learn about the Diversity Visa Program, also known as the Green Card Lottery, including eligibility criteria and the application process.

Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

Administered by the Department of State, the Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a way to increase the diversity of immigrants who want to come and live in the U.S. Since the majority of immigrants to the U.S. come from a handful of countries, this program aims to increase the number of immigrants from smaller countries.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “Diversity Immigrants,” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. The program creates an internet-based “Lottery” and randomly selects individuals from a pool of eligible entrants and qualifies them to apply for immigrant visas.

How Does Diversity Visa Lottery Work?

The Diversity Visas or DVs are distributed among six geographic regions and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year. DV program makes available up to 50,000 diversity visas annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. 

Every fiscal year,the Department of State conducts an online registration for a limited period. Applicants who get selected are eligible to pursue permanent residence either through adjustment of status within the U.S. or through the immigrant visa processing at the U.S. consulate abroad. 

The applicant must submit their entry electronically on the Electronic Diversity visa website during the specified registration period. Only one entry by or for each person during each registration period is allowed or else the applicant will be disqualified.

Who Is Eligible for DV Lottery?

There is a certain eligibility requirements  for Diversity Visa. They include the following:

(1) diversity visa applicants must be born in a qualifying country;

(2) applicants must have a high school education or its equivalent;

(3) if the second requirement is not met, applicants should have 2 years of experience in the past 5 years in an occupation requiring at least 2 years of training or experience.

The list of all qualifying countries can be seen on the State Department’s website. However, if your home country is not eligible country, there may be other ways to qualify for the green card lottery.

Diversity visa winners are typically notified seven months after applying. However, the only way to determine whether you’ve been selected is by checking your application using the DV Entrant Status Check and your confirmation number. Bear in mind that it can take more than a year for the United States government to schedule an interview and issue a visa.

Can an Attorney Help?

You won’t need help from an attorney to enter the Diversity Visa Program. Entering the DV lottery is free. Anyone claiming you must pay a fee to win the lottery is trying to scam aspiring immigrants.

However, if you win, you may need help to prepare for an interview. This may very well be once in a lifetime opportunity. By hiring a skilled immigration attorney, you can make sure your paperwork is in order, and you are well prepared.

Chacko Law Firm can offer honest guidance and give your immigration case the attention it deserves.