What is the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery and Who Qualifies?

The Department of State administers an annual lottery to make available 50,000 permanent resident (Green Card) visas to persons of countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. To be eligible you must i) be born in a country which has not sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the US in the past five years, ii) have either a high school diploma or the equivalent, OR 2 years of work experience in a job requiring at least two years of training within the past 5 years.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may complete and submit a simple application by mail or online. If you are selected, you do not automatically obtain a green card. You will have to complete the process within the fiscal year. For example, if you were selected after filing for the DV Lottery for the fiscal year running from October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2002, you would have to apply for the green card during that time period, or else the entry goes to waste.

If you are overseas, you would have to apply for the visa at your local US consulate. If you are in the US, you may have the option to stay in the US and file for adjustment of status.

When can I Apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery?

Registration for the lottery begins every year around the beginning of October.

What are the Advantages and Limitations the Diversity Visa Lottery?

There is no cost in applying, and those who win can apply for a green card immediate without having to wait for any “priority dates” to become current.

The only obvious limitation of the Diversity Visa Lottery is that the odds of winning are low, generally less than 3%. Winners should consider themselves very fortunate.

What is the Attorney’s Role in a Diversity Visa Lottery Application?

Actually, an attorney would generally not be needed to enter the lottery. However, if an individual is in the US, and seeks to adjust status after winning the visa lottery, an attorney can make the process easier, and ensure that there are no mistakes in the adjustment of status application.

Contact Us

To discuss the Diversity Visa Lottery and other alternatives with an experienced immigration lawyer from the Shah Peerally Law Group, feel free to contact us by email or call us at 510-742-5887. Our staff is multi-lingual, with members who speak Spanish, French, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Tigrigna, and Amharic.