In the US, there are several ways to have legal immigrant status. Among the most common are: the family reunification program, immigration through a job offer, through asylum, and the visa lottery as well. Believe it or not, the latter is a real and legal program.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program, also known as the visa lottery, or the American green card lottery, awards 50,000 diversity visas each year. Winners are authorized to immigrate to the United States to live and work permanently, once they obtain a green card.
The DV Program was created with the Immigration Act of 1996. The main objective is to promote the diversification of immigrants arriving in the US, which is why it is called the diversity program.
Passport rule for the diversity visa lottery canceled system provides more opportunities to people whose country of origin does not have a high flow of immigrants seeking to live in the United States.
Participating in the green card lottery is free and the registration period is usually between October and November each year. The US Department of State (DOS) maintains the program’s rules and procedures. Most immigrants who apply to participate in the visa lottery live in countries outside of the United States. However, you also have a chance to win if the applicant is already inside the US, as long as they are in legal immigration status.
Who Can Participate in the United States Diversity Visa Lottery?
The green card lottery selection process is random, but entrants must meet certain requirements to be entered into the drawing.
First: The applicant must have been born in a country that qualifies for the program. These countries should not have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the US in the last five years.
The list of countries included in the DV Program may change each year. That is why it is recommended to check online at the official DOS site (in English). Even if your mother, father or spouse is from a listed country of birth, you can also apply for the lottery.
Second: The contestant must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, proving that she completed 12 years of schooling (includes elementary and high school).
If she does not have this level of education, she may qualify if she has two years of work experience (earned within the last five years) in an occupation that requires two or more years of training.
How do I Enter the Diversity Green Card Lottery?
If you meet the basic requirements then you can continue the process.
The next step is to submit an application to participate in the draw. This is done online on the official page of the DV Program (in English). The registration period opens for 4 or 5 weeks between October and November, to choose the winners of the lottery for the following fiscal year. You must keep your confirmation number until September 30 of the following year.
There is no cost to enter the draw, it is totally free and you can only enter your data into the system once. Otherwise you will be disqualified.
To find out if you are a winner of one of the diversity visas you should also check online. Very important, only go to official US government sites. Immigration scams are very frequent through web pages of scammers who pose as officers of the DV Program.
What do I do After Winning the US Visa Lottery?
Green card lottery winners are randomly selected through the use of a computer program. If you are selected you can start your process to immigrate to the US.
You must first complete several steps up to the application for permanent residence, starting with the DS-260 form.
You and your family members included in the petition will receive an immigrant visa through the DV Program. This visa is received at the consulate or embassy of your country of origin, but first your case must be evaluated by a consular officer during an interview.
Very important, include your immediate family members such as spouse and children when you enroll in the program so that they are also entitled to their green cards.
If you are inside the US, you will need to use form I-485 to adjust your status to permanent resident. This process is done with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Submitting the form has a cost of $1,215.
Upon successful completion of the application process and issuance of the visa, the winner and their family will be able to live, study and work in the United States.
Along with the green card lottery visa application and official forms, you will also need to submit a list of additional documents and records.
These include passport-style photos, birth certificates, and copies of your passport, medical history information, immunization certificates, criminal records, and more.
It is important that visa applications related to the green card lottery do not contain errors. If there are, it is very likely that the request will be disqualified.
Although you are not required to hire an immigration attorney for this visa application process, it is highly recommended due to the variety of steps and volume of documents you need to submit. It is not convenient to assume the risk of disqualification.
An experienced diversity immigrant visa attorney can help. It can even protect you from typical immigration scams.
Speak to an Experienced Diversity Visa Program (Green Card Lottery) Attorney Today
This article is intended to be helpful and informative, but legal matters can be complicated and stressful. A qualified Diversity Visa Program (Green Card Lottery) attorney can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local Diversity Visa Program (Green Card Lottery) attorney to discuss your particular legal situation.