How To Apply For DV Lottery Green Card 2020
The 2019-2020 diversity visa lottery (also known as the green card lottery) is a popular way to become a U.S. permanent resident for those who have no other way to enter the United States. This post details how to apply for DV lottery and your odds of winning one of the 55,000 visas available.
They call it a lottery for a reason. Honestly, your chances of winning are very slim but millions of people continue to apply every year in the hopes that they will get the winning ticket (or visa).
There are restrictions based on the country of residence and other qualifications that we’ll go into more detail below.
Jam is from Ethiopia and she recently applied for the DV lottery in hopes of winning a U.S. green card. She submits the application for herself and includes everyone in her immediate family.
After months of waiting, she is selected as one of the winners. She is asked to submit supporting documents.
Who Is Eligible For The DV Lottery?
Okay, so you want to live in the U.S., but are you eligible to even enter the diversity visa lottery?
- You must be a foreigner.
- This one is common sense right? Of course, you must live outside the U.S. and not already a permanent resident or U.S. citizen.
- You are from a country with a low U.S. immigration rate.
- This requirement is used to promote immigration from countries who’s citizens are not well represented in the United States. So, for those of you living in Mexico, Philippine, India or China – you are out of luck!
- It is determined by the country of your birth not citizenship or resident. For example, if you were born in India but your parents immigrated to Tahiti when you were two years old, you would be considered an Indian applicant no matter where you current reside.
Once you know that you are eligible, you can go ahead and apply for the DV green card lottery during the open period.
Countries That Are Excluded From DV Lottery
Below is a list of countries who’s natives are excluded from entering the DV lottery. If you were born in any of these countries, you will need to find another way to enter the U.S.
People from all other countries are eligible to submit their application for the DV lottery without worrying that they will automatically be denied.
Note: If you were born in one of the excluded countries below, you may still qualify based on the country of birth of your parents or spouse.
Case Example: Juliette was born in Canada (making her ineligible) but her husband was born in Spain. She would not be able to apply for the DV lottery based on her nationality, but she can claim her spouse’s country of birth (Spain) as her country of eligibility as long as she includes her spouse on the application.
|Bangladesh||Brazil||Canada||China (mainland only)||Colombia|
|Dominican Republic||El Salvador||Haiti||India||Jamaica|
|South Korea||United Kingdom
(except Northern Ireland)
Number Of Diversity Visas Available Every Year
Each year, USCIS makes 50,000 diversity visas available worldwide. This is not a lot of visas when you think about the millions of people who apply for all other visas to the U.S.
The DV lottery was created to diversify the immigration system in the United States. If you think about it, most people who immigrate to the U.S. are using family-based visas or employer sponsored visas.
Anyone who doesn’t have an American family member or can’t get a U.S. company to employee them will be out of luck in their pursuit of the American dream. That’s where the DV green card lottery comes to play.
Rona was born in Kenya and has dreamed of moving to the U.S. to work and support his family back home. He knows that he cannot get a work visa and previous visitor visa applications have been denied. His last hope is to win the DV lottery to get a green card and move to America.
There is no limit to how many DV lotteries you can submit your application to. Many people apply every single year hoping that their application will be selected.
I’ll admit that the odds of you wining the green card lottery is slim. There are millions of applications around the world and only 55,000 people will be selected. I don’t want to discourage you because it doesn’t cost you anything to apply except the time it takes to submit the application.
Step 1: You must be from an eligible country.
- The first requirement is that your country of nationality (or your spouse’s country) must NOT be on the list of excluded countries. If you can meet this requirement, then you are eligible for the green card lottery.
Step 2: You must meet the education/work requirement.
- You will need to have at least a high school education or its equivalent. This is defined as successfully completing 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education; or
- Two years of work experience within the past five years in a job that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.
Step 3: Include a validated photo (optional).
- USCIS will require a recent photo of you similar to a passport style photograph.
Step 4: Apply online during open registration.
- Log on to dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period, then you will see the Welcome Page for AES.
DV Lottery Green Card Interview
At the end of your immigrant visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the consular officer will inform you whether your visa application is approved or denied.
Visa approval – When approved, you will be informed how and when your passport and visa will be returned to you.
Visa denial – If denied, you will be informed why you are ineligible to receive a visa. There is additional information about visa denials at the bottom of this post.
Note: Some visa applications are denied because they require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a consular officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case.
DV Lottery Approval Process
After you are notified that an interview has been scheduled for your DV visa at the , U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the consular officer will let you know whether your DV visa has been approved or denied.
- Visa approval – If your DV visa is approved, the consular officer will let you know when your passport and visa will be returned to you. Congrats!
- Visa denial – If your DV visa is denied, the consular officer will tell you why you are ineligible to receive a visa. I will discuss visa denials at the end of this post.
Note: Sometimes a visa will be denied due to administrative processing which just means they more time after the interview to review your eligibility. Most administrative processing is completed within 60 days of the visa interview. But how long it takes on your specific case can vary. Be sure to contact the Consulate or Embassy for regular updates on your case.
Final Thoughts On Green Card DV Lottery
If you’ve dreamed of moving to the United States to start your life, the diversity visa program may be your only option. For those of you who are citizens of countries where it’s hard to get a visitor or student visa, applying for the DV lottery green card could be a ticket to your American Dream.
Only 55,000 Diversity Visas are available worldwide and millions of applicants apply each year. The odds of approval are very low but you really don’t have much to lose. I always recommend applying every single year if you believe that you are eligible and will qualify for the visa.
The interview and medical process can be lengthy for the Diversity Visa but no more so than other types of immigrant visas. Once you are approved and have the visa stamped in your passport, you are ready to enter the United States at a port of entry.
After you are given permission to enter the U.S. by Customs and Border Protection, you will officially become a lawful permanent resident! Congrats! Your green card will arrive in the mail within 2-3 weeks.
You may now live and work in the United States and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Hi! I’m a foreign born Canadian that has immigrated to the United States to marry the love of my life. I successfully navigated the U.S. immigration system all the way to U.S. citizenship. Immigration is a privilege not a right!