The US Diversity Visa Lottery (DV) is a well-known program that is applied for by millions of people globally each year looking for a chance to be able to become a Permanent Resident (green card holder) in the US. The official Instructions and Registration period for the Diversity Visa Lottery 2023 will likely be announced in October or November of 2021. Our expert migration agents have answered the most common Green Card questions including:
What is the US Green Card Lottery?
The US Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (also known as the green card lottery) is a lottery system operated by the US Department of State. The DV lottery issues up to 55,000 immigrant visas under the program during each US fiscal year (October 1 to the following September 30).
This program has roots dating back to 1986 to create an immigration program that operated outside of the traditional family, asylum, employment, and investment pathways. The Immigration Act of 1990 created a permanent Diversity Visa program that is in operation today.
The goal of the program is to increase the diversity of immigrants to the US by selecting those from countries with low numbers of immigrants to the US within the previous five years. Diversity visas are distributed among six regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and the Caribbean, and Oceania. Applicants’ country of birth determines their designated country and region. Therefore, Australians born in Australia are designated within Oceania.
What are the Green Card Lottery Requirements?
The important primary requirements for the Diversity Visa Immigrant Visa Program for filing and being eligible for the program are as follows:
- The applicant must be born in an eligible county. The applicant’s country of residence or citizenship does not typically determine eligibility. There are two exceptions to this requirement; however, the exceptions are rarely used and should be discussed with someone on our team to determine eligibility. It is important to select the correct country at the time of application as this usually cannot be changed.
- The applicant must meet the education or work experience requirements of the program. To meet the education requirements, the applicant must have a high school education or equivalent as defined by the successful completion of a 12-year formal course of education. The meet the work experience requirements, the applicant must have worked at least two years in the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience as defined by U.S. Department of Labor, with guidelines available online at O-Net Online database.
It is important to note, that an applicant must list an eligible spouse or children at the time of the initial application to enter into the lottery, unless the spouse or child is already an U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident. Failure to list all eligible children or a spouse will result in disqualification of the applicant and a possible refusal of a visa applications. An after acquired spouse, or child born after the time of entry can later be added to an application if selected.
Please note, de facto partners do not quality as a spouse for U.S. immigration purposes. A spouse only qualifies based upon a legal marriage.
Which Countries are Eligible for the US Green Card Lottery?
Every year the US Department of State determines which countries are considered “high admission” countries in a review of family and employment visas issued during the previous five years. If over 50,000 visas were issued, then that country is a “high admission” country. A foreign national born in a high admission country would not be eligible for entry.
In DV-2021, the following countries were considered high admission countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom and its dependent territories (except Northern Ireland), and Vietnam. The DV-2023 countries will be available in the DV-2023 instructions when released and can be found on the Diversity visa entry instruction page.
What are the Chances of Winning the Green Card Lottery?
The chances of being selected and receiving a visa are difficult to precisely state. The odds of being selected is determined by how many applications are made, the number of those applications from your country of birth, the distribution of visas in the six regions, the number of applicants receiving approved visas, and numerous other factors. Thus, it is very difficult to determine a precise number.
When Can I Apply for the DV Lottery?
Generally, the application period is open in October each year. The Department of State will provide an announcement and issue DV-2023 instructions for the opening of submissions for DV-2023. Typically, applications are only received during the month of October, so you will want to make sure you submit your application quickly.
How to Apply for the Green Card Lottery?
When the DV-2023 program opens for selection (October 2021), applicants will be able to apply through the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website.
Individual applications are submitted through the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website once selection opens. Instructions for the program are listed on the US Department of State website. It is crucial that you read the instructions carefully, noting all required documentation including your passport number, photos, and so forth.
Those who enter the lottery system are usually notified of their selection in the following May. Those selected in the lottery are given a designated “rank number” that indicates the order of processing for their visa during the fiscal year. It is important to note that not all who are selected in the lottery may be eligible for an immigrant visa or admissible to the U.S.
If selected in the lottery, the Applicant then can begin a more detailed and lengthy application for an immigrant visa after the start of the fiscal year based upon their designated rank number. The Department of State keeps track of visa numbers and processing in the Visa Bulletin monthly.
When is the Deadline for the Green Card Lottery?
There will be a designated application period issued by the U.S. Department of State, typically lasting one month or less. Once selections are announced the next year, all applicants must apply for visas during the same fiscal year (October through September). All visas must be issued by September 30.
Green Card Lottery for Australian Citizens
Those born in Australia have generally always been eligible to apply for selection in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. Australia has not yet been considered a “high admission” country. It is unlikely That Australia will be considered one for DV-2023.
Need Help with a Green Card Lottery Application?
We are happy to discuss the DV application process, or for those who have already been selected for the DV program, your situation for visa applications for the upcoming fiscal year starting October 01. Worldwide Migration Partners can advise on any currently selected application or discuss future applications. If you would like further information regarding your eligibility, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
About The Author
Melissa Vincenty is a US attorney, an Australian migration agent and the founder and managing director of Worldwide Migration Partners. Melissa has over 20 years of experience in migration law, including practising at the world’s largest US immigration firm and more than 15 years as a Country Specialist (China and Tibet) for Amnesty International USA.
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