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Each year, approximately 50,000 Immigrant Visas (Green Card) are made available through a lottery to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The State Department's holds the lottery every year, and chooses winners randomly from all qualified entries. Anyone who is selected under this lottery will be given the opportunity to apply for a Green Card/Permanent Residence. If Permanent Residence is granted, then the individual will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States and will also be allowed to bring his/her spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.

Qualifications for DV Lottery

Unfortunately, not all countries or citizens are allowed. For DV-2007, natives of the following countries were not eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years:


This means the applicant must be a native of a country that is eligible to participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery. An applicant may also be eligible to apply if his/her parent was born in a country that is eligible to participate. (The State Department will publish the names of countries that are eligible to participate before each year's lottery.)

Additionally, the applicant must have a high school diploma or the equivalent, defined in the United States as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR the applicant must have two years of work experience within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.

Procedure to Apply

Before each year's lottery drawing, the Department of State will publish explicit instructions on how to apply in press releases and the Federal Register. Numerous applicants are rejected each year for failure to follow the directions. Please watch the State Department Website for more information on the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. Instructions are usually posted in August, and the registration period is usually held in October each year.

All entries by an applicant will be disqualified if more than ONE entry for the applicant is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. Applicants may prepare and submit their own entries, or have someone submit the entry for them. Successfully registered entries will result in the display of a confirmation screen containing the applicant's name, date of birth, country of chargeability, and a date/time stamp. The applicant may print this confirmation screen for his/her records using the print function of their web browser. Paper entries are not accepted. The entry will be disqualified if all required photos are not submitted. Recent photographs of the applicant and his/her spouse and each child under 21 years of age, including all natural children as well as all legally-adopted and stepchildren (except a child who is already a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident), even if a spouse or child no longer resides with the applicant or is not intended to immigrate under the DV program, must be submitted electronically with the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. (Group or family photos will not be accepted; there must be a separate photo for each family member.)

Is There A Fee for the DV Lottery?

There is no fee for entering the diversity visa lottery. If an applicant wins, he/she will have to pay a fee for an Immigrant Visa and a separate visa lottery surcharge.

How Do I Know if I Won the Lottery?

Only the winners are notified by mail at the addresses listed on their applications. Winners will be sent instructions and information on fees. However, being selected as a winner in the Diversity Visa Lottery does not automatically guarantee an Immigrant Visa, even if the applicant qualified. The number of entries selected is greater than the number of Immigrant Visas that are available. This is due to the fact that not everyone selected will be qualified for the Immigrant Visa or will choose to complete the processing. Remember, once all 50,000 Immigrant Visas have been issued, the diversity visa program for the year will terminate.

More Information Regarding DV Lottery

You can visit the State Department Website for more information on the Diversity Visa Lottery Program or call the State Department's Visa Lottery Information Center at 1-900-884-8840 for more information. Please note: There is a charge for each call. You may also contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A listing of U.S. Embassies and Consulates can be found at the State Department Website. (Note: Be wary of fraudulent websites claiming to get Green Cards through DV lottery.)

If you or someone you know is need of family law services, please do not hesitate to call Garg & Associates at 281-362-2865 for a consultation today or use our Contact Form.