Diversity Visa Program
In 1990, the Congress of the United States created the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which was designed to grant up to 55,000 U.S. Permanent Resident Green Cards each year to immigrants who were born in countries with a low rate of immigration to the United States and who had completed at least 12 years of primary and secondary education or satisfied certain work experience criteria.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered by the U.S State Department, which holds an annual lottery to randomly select who will have the opportunity to apply for one of the 55,000 Diversity Immigrant Visas and Green Cards that are granted through the program, and it also makes the decision regarding whether to approve an applicant for immigration to the United States.
As a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States, you can live, study and work in the USA for an unlimited amount of time and enjoy other benefits, including the option to apply for American citizenship once you meet the criteria.
To start the process, click here!
During most of U.S. history, the majority of immigrants moving to the United States came from countries in Europe; however, the Congress decided near the end of the 20th Century to give more people in other regions of the world the opportunity to live in the USA and enjoy the American Dream.
The “American Dream” is a commonly-held belief that anyone, no matter what their background, can become successful living in the U.S. (for example, they could receive a good education, earn enough money, buy their own home, start their own business, and generally enjoy a high standard of living in the USA) if they possess determination and are willing to work hard to reach their goals.
There are many examples from U.S. history of immigrants who arrived in the United States with few resources (many who did not speak the English language), but they found opportunities living in America and were able to start a successful business or they received a quality education that allowed them to find a good job, etc.
In fact, a large percentage of the largest companies in the United States were established by immigrants or the children of immigrants.
One of the unique aspects of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is that a lottery system is used to randomly select out of around 10 million participants approximately 100,000 “winners” from six regions of the world who will have the opportunity to apply for the 55,000 Diversity Immigrant Visas and U.S. Permanent Resident Green Cards authorized by Congress to be granted each year through this program.
Someone who is randomly selected in the Diversity Visa Lottery and who completes the subsequent consular process successfully will receive a Diversity Immigrant Visa in their passport and they will also obtain a U.S. Permanent Resident Green Card, which is why the Diversity Visa Lottery is sometimes called the Green Card Lottery.
Since the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program was launched over 30 years ago, the United States has, indeed, become a more diverse country, with increasing numbers of immigrants moving to the USA from Latin America, The Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Middle East as well as Europe.
Although the eligibility requirements for the Diversity Visa Lottery are rather simple, especially compared to other U.S. immigration programs, and a person can apply on their own for free on the government website, the application process can be difficult to complete, particularly for people who do not know English very well, have a big family or who lack good computer skills (application to the Diversity Visa Lottery is done online in English during the annual registration period).
Inmigración Legal USA offers beneficial services to help people correctly apply for a U.S. Green Card through the Diversity Visa Lottery and provides assistance in English, Spanish, French and other languages.
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One of the requirements to participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery (Green Card Lottery) is for the main applicant to be born in an “eligible” country with a low rate of immigration to the United States.
The official list of birth countries that are eligible to take part in the Diversity Visa Lottery during any particular year is posted on the U.S. State Department’s website just before the annual registration period (usually held in October), which is the only time when applications are accepted.
Most countries are eligible for participation in the Diversity Visa Lottery; however, approximately 20 countries are ineligible to take part in any given year, since over 50,000 of their natives (i.e., people born there) were approved for immigration to the United States during the past five years.
A country becomes “ineligible” for the Diversity Visa Lottery, because it has a high rate of immigration to the United States and this U.S. immigration program was created for the purpose of diversifying the country’s population and giving people born in a variety of countries the opportunity to live in America.
Education or Work Experience
The second requirement to participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery is for the main applicant to satisfy the education criteria, which is to have completed at least 12 years of primary and secondary education, usually demonstrated by possessing a high school diploma.
If the main applicant was born in an eligible country, but does not satisfy the education requirement, he or she might still be able to participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery by having two years of work experience during the previous five years in a qualifying occupation for which a minimum of two years of experience or training is required (these eligible occupations can be found on the database of the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online website.
In the event that the main applicant satisfies the education/work experience criteria, but was not born in an eligible country, he or she may still be able to participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery IF at least one parent was born in an eligible country AND neither parent was born in the applicant’s country of birth AND neither parent was a resident in the applicant’s country of birth when he or she was born (this option is known as “claiming chargeability” and if you use it, you will need to indicate this on your application and also explain the situation).
Another option to participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery if you were not born in an eligible country, but you meet the education or work experience requirement, AND you are legally married (opposite sex or same sex), AND your spouse was born in an eligible country, is to “claim chargeability” to the birth country of your spouse (you will need to indicate this in the “chargeability” section of your application and explain the situation, plus your spouse must be approved for U.S. immigration and you will need to enter the United States together).
The Diversity Visa Immigration Program process for eligible applicants starts with filling in the relevant information for yourself and each family member in your online application; uploading a digital color photo that meets the required specifications for yourself and each family member in your application; and submitting the correctly-completed application to the Diversity Visa Lottery during the annual registration period which usually occurs in October.
It is very important that all of the information in your Diversity Visa Lottery Application is up-to-date and accurate and each photo uploaded to the application must have been taken according to the DV-Lottery criteria within the six months prior to submitting the application; otherwise, you could be disqualified during the consular process in the event that you are selected as a winner.
Inmigración Legal USA offers a premium service to make the application process for the Diversity Visa Lottery as easy as possible for you and your family, as well as to make sure that your application and photo(s) meet the DV-Lottery requirements prior to submission during the annual registration period.
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Procedure for Winners
The Diversity Visa Lottery “winners” are randomly selected by computer from six regions of the world.
People who participated in the Diversity Visa Lottery can check on the U.S. State Department’s E-DV website if they were selected as a winner, usually starting in May.
Please note that the U.S. State Department does not contact the people who are selected as winners of the Diversity Visa Lottery; however, Inmigración Legal USA does contact its customers when they are chosen as winners to inform them of the good news so they can start the next step of the U.S. immigration process as soon as possible.
When someone is selected as a winner in the Diversity Visa Lottery, this does not mean that they will automatically receive a Diversity Immigrant Visa and/or Green Card; rather, it means they now have the opportunity to start the process to apply for a Diversity Immigrant Visa and Green Card.
Furthermore, it is important to print and save the selection notification letter that is issued to Diversity Visa Lottery winners on the U.S. State Department’s E-DV website, since the letter and the Case Number it contains will be required at various stages of the consular process.
After selection, the next major step is to file the online DS-260 “Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration” form with the U.S. State Department and print and save the confirmation page, which will be required during the consular interview.
The U.S. State Department’s Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) will review your DS-260 form and contact you to request that you send scanned digital copies of the required documents.
If a consular interview has been scheduled at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence, the KCC will send you an email asking you to login to the E-DV website for further instructions.
Once the consular interview has been scheduled, you and your family members who are applying to immigrate to the United States with you must schedule and have a medical exam with a physician who is authorized by the U.S. Government to perform medical exams for immigration applicants.
IMPORTANT: You should not quit your job, sell your home or take other similar actions to move to the USA until you have been officially approved for U.S. immigration and have received your Diversity Immigrant Visa in your passport.
When you attend the consular interview at the time and place that was scheduled, you will bring all of the required documents requested by the KCC and you will pay the governmental fee(s).
At the end of the consular interview, you will be informed by the consular official as to whether your Diversity Immigrant Visa was approved and, if it was, when your passport will be returned to you with the Diversity Immigrant Visa placed on an inner page.
After your passport is returned to you with the Diversity Immigrant Visa placed inside, you will need to pay a fee online to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS), so it can issue your Permanent Resident Green Card.
You will also need to enter the United States before your Diversity Immigrant Visa expires (it is usually valid for six months or until your medical exam expires – whichever occurs first).
NOTE: The Diversity Immigrant Visa is placed inside your passport by the U.S. State Department and used for entry into the United States when you immigrate, while the Green Card is issued by the USCIS and carried long-term as an official form of identification and proof that you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States.
U.S. Immigration Benefits
When you immigrate to the United States as a U.S. Permanent Resident, you will have the opportunity to enjoy many benefits such as:
- living in the U.S. for an unlimited period of time
- establishing a bank account in the United States
- working and/or starting a business in the USA
- the opportunity to receive a quality U.S. education
- living in any of the 50 States in the USA
- visiting beaches, forests, and other points of interest
- having access to advanced American medical care
- leaving and returning to the United States
- sponsoring members of your family for a U.S. visa
- enjoying many freedoms and equality under the law
- obtaining a driver’s license in your state of residence
- having access to wide range of products and services
- applying to become an American citizen after 5 years
For more information about the services offered by Inmigración Legal USA, click here!
Inmigración Legal USA is not a government agency or a law firm and does not provide legal advice. The information on this webpage is not and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. Inmigración Legal USA is a private entity that offers review and submission services and does not and cannot issue any type of visa to the United States. The Government of the United States has the sole authority to approve someone for U.S. immigration and to issue a visa to the USA.