Did you know that the diversity visa lottery offers people from all over the world a route to immigrate to the USA?
If immigration reform passes through Congress, this may be the last diversity visa lottery in the US. The registration period for the 2016 Diversity Visa Program began October 1, 2014, and ran through Monday, November 3, 2014.
What Is the Diversity Visa Lottery?
The diversity visa lottery is an annual program administered by the US Department of State. This program enables a class of “diversity immigrants” to receive visas to come to the United States.
At the conclusion of the registration period, a computer will randomly select from among all the entries received for each geographic region.
Key facts about the 2016 diversity visa lottery:
- 50,000 diversity visas will be available for the 2016 program.
- There is no cost to register for the DV program.
- No single country may receive more than 7 percent of the available diversity visas in any given year.
- The diversity visa lottery aims to encourage immigration from countries whose populations are historically underrepresented in the US.
- All applications must go through the electronic application process. The Diversity Visa Program no longer accepts paper entries.
- Natives of Nigeria are no longer eligible for the Diversity Visa Program.
Am I Eligible for a Diversity Visa?
There are stringent eligibility requirements for the diversity visa lottery:
- Your country of eligibility will usually be the same as your country of birth. However, if your spouse’s birthplace is an eligible country, you are eligible to apply on the basis of your spouse’s country of birth.
- If you were born in an ineligible country you may still claim nativity from one of your parents’ countries of birth. This exception only applies if your parents were residents in an eligible country when you were born.
- The diversity visa lottery has strict education and work experience requirements. You must have the equivalent of a high school education or two years of relevant work experience. The Department of Labor provides information to help you determine if your work experience qualifies.
Natives from the following countries are not eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery due to historically high immigration levels to the United States over the previous five years:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories and Vietnam.
Natives of Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.
Diversity Visa Lottery Application Procedure
All visa lottery applications must be submitted online during the registration period.
You must submit names and electronic photographs of yourself, your spouse and any unmarried children who are under 21.
Important tips for your diversity visa lottery application:
- Record your application confirmation number. A registered entry that follows the submission instructions will result in a confirmation screen that shows your name and a confirmation number.
- Check back on the status of your diversity visa application. Status checks for the 2014 diversity visa lottery begin on May 5, 2015. Applicants can check their application using the Department of State website.
- The Department of State encourages applicants to apply without assistance from visa consultants or visa agents. Applicants should be wary of any individuals who offer assistance with diversity visa applications for monetary gain.
If You Are Accepted
After May 5, 2015, you can check your status in the diversity visa lottery. If you were accepted, congratulations! The next step is to submit a visa application and prepare your supporting documents. Among other things, this means obtaining certified translations of your personal documents, like your birth certificate and passport identification pages.
If You Are Not Accepted
Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of applicants receive green cards through the diversity visa lottery. However, you can (likely) apply again next year — or try to obtain a visa through other avenues.
The diversity visa lottery offers applicants an exciting opportunity to immigrate to the USA. The diversity visa lottery is a great opportunity – don’t miss out!
Note: This page is for general informational purposes only. LLS cannot give personal advice to any individual regarding immigration status. Please contact USCIS with any questions.