What You Need to Know About the Green Card Lottery

What You Need to Know About the Green Card Lottery

Did you know that more than one million immigrants come to the United States every year? To legally live and work in the U.S., then you will need an official green card.

There are many different ways you can gain access to a green card. Sadly not everyone qualifies to get one. And, even if you do qualify, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get one.

The good news is that there’s still some hope in the form of a green card lottery. In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about this type of program. Let’s get started!

What Is the Green Card Lottery?

If you’re not qualified for a green card, or we’re rejected despite qualifying, then you can try your luck with the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program.

This program, popularly called the green card lottery, is a random drawing that provides green cards to countries with disproportionately low rates of immigration to the United States.

Each year, 50,000 visas are distributed to the first people who register. Registration periods run between October 3rd and November 3rd of each year.

Even if you’re waiting for the status of your green card, it might still be worth it to enter the green card lottery. It’s free to register so you don’t have anything to lose.

However, keep in mind that winning a green card lottery doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a green card. Instead, it ensures that you’ll have the opportunity to apply for a green card.

Who Is Eligible For It?

There are two main components for determining who is eligible for the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program: country and education/work experience. The first determination, country, is subject to change each year.

Every year a range of countries are selected across Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, Oceania, South America, the Caribbean, and Central America. Typically, it goes with natives from countries that have had historically low immigration rates to the United States.

The countries are listed yearly in the instructions provided by the program. Also, keep in mind that it’s not required for both of your parents to be born in the eligible country.

Oftentimes you can still register even if just one of them was born in the country. In addition to this requirement, you must also hold a certain level of either job experience or education.

You can find out if your job experience is relevant by searching it on this resource from the Department of Labor. Typically, in terms of education, you must hold at least a high school education, or the equivalent of it in your country.

How Do You Register?

As we mentioned, you can begin registering for the green card lottery in early October. You must register as soon as possible. Many people miss out on the due date when they wait till the last minute thanks to heavy website traffic.

Unfortunately, the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program doesn’t accept any late registrations. To register all you need to do is visit resources like

Just make sure that you read all the instructions that come with it. For example, know the difference between your ‘country of birth’ and ‘country of eligibility. You must also list your spouse and children regardless of if they’re also applying to come with you. You will be asked to provide important documentation, including things like photos, passports, and driver’s licenses.

If you’re confused at all by the process, then you can visit the U.S. State Department’s website for a tutorial video. Once you send in your application make sure that you keep your confirmation number. Otherwise, it won’t matter at all if you are one.

What Are Your Odds and Can You Increase Them?

As we mentioned before, the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program distributed 50,000 immigrant visas. Unfortunately, typically a huge amount of applicants apply every year. Last year, over twenty-three million people applied.

So, your odds of winning aren’t much better than an actual lottery. However, since it’s free it’s still worth it to try your luck. Plus, there are some ways you can marginally increase your odds.

For one thing, if you have a spouse, then you should apply with them. This will double your chance of winning because if one of you wins, then you can just apply together on the same application.

In addition, you can also include your children in the application. Just keep in mind that if one of you wins, then your family will need to wait until you’re in the United States before coming over.

What Happens When You Win the Green Card Lottery?

The winners typically receive their news around May. You should receive news of your acceptance by mail. It’s important to act as quickly as you can once you find out that you win.

For one thing, your application must be processed before the end of the fiscal year that you applied. For another thing, there are more visas available in case applicants don’t respond.

So, if you wait till the last second, then you could lose out to someone else. When you receive the news you will be assigned a numerical value. This will inform you when you can apply for the visa.

Want More Content? Keep Exploring

We hope this article helped you learn more about the green card lottery. While there are a limited number of green cards, it’s always worth it to try your luck in the green card lottery — especially because it’s free.

Just make sure to register before the beginning of November. That way you can maximize your chances of getting a green card.

Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find more topics that you’re sure to love.

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