How the Green Card Lottery Really Works

Green cards, given by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows you to reside and work in the United States on a permanent basis.1 There are a variety of ways to get the green card, for example through employment, family and status of refugee asylee, not all people qualify.

If you are eligible waiting times for certain classes of family or employment status could be up to 20 years. If you are not eligible, or should you prefer to “roll the dice” while waiting for a visa, the Diverse Immigrant Visa (DV) Program popularly known as the green card lottery may be the best option for you.

What are your chances?

The DV program gives 50,000 immigrants visas each year, based on the results of an random drawing.2 These visas are divided between countries that have “historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.”

In fiscal year 2021, with the most up-to-date figures are available over 23.2 million people registered for Green Card lottery.3 First 50,000 people to apply, following notifying of the lottery, became those who were the “winners” for that year. The reason we draw greater than 50,000 numbers is the fact that not all of the applicants will be able to begin the process to apply for green cards and some aren’t able to complete the application.

Who Are Green Card eligible?

Before you register to participate in the lottery for green cards, decide if you’re eligible. You must meet the requirements of your the country you live in as well as your qualifications or work experience.

Diversity visas are granted to citizens of certain countries that have historically low numbers of immigrants in America. United States in six geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania as well as Oceania, and the Southern Americas (including South America, Central America, and Central America, and the Caribbean countries). A list of nations on the list is susceptible to change every year and is listed upon the Diversity Visa entry instructions.

If you weren’t born in a country that is eligible however, you could still be eligible under the DV program in the event that the spouse of yours was born within an eligible nation in which each of you is listed on the same form and both plan to enter into the U.S. at the same in the same time.

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Additionally, if you were born in an unqualified country, but none of your parents were born or legally residents of the place at the moment you were born, you might still be eligible, as long as you have parents who were born in a qualifying country.

Work or education experience

In addition to being eligible dependent on your country of birth Additionally, you must meet specific education or requirements for work experience in order to participate in the lottery for green cards. In essence, you need to have a high school diploma (or equivalent) or have two years of working experience in the past five years in a qualified occupation.

This database from the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database can be used to determine whether your experience in the workplace is enough.

When should you register

The registration period online to sign up for the DV Program typically falls between October 1 and November 1 each year.6 You must sign-up at the earliest possible time when it is open. If you delay registration until close of the sign-up period, you may be left out due to the high web traffic. Late entries won’t be accepted.

 

How and where to register

The green card registration lottery is online and using the English version of the application. While your application has to be completed in English the detailed instructions in various languages can be found through on the directions that are above.

It’s crucial to follow the instructions thoroughly, and note the necessary documentation, such as your passport number, pictures and so on. It’s the U.S. State Department video tutorial on how to register to participate in the lottery for green cards provides the steps to follow as well.

Beware of the Buyer

There are a lot of fraudsters available to steal your money and exchange it for ineffective or even dangerous information. You might come across private websites (many appear to be authentic) which offer everything from advice on winning in the lottery for green cards, to tips to aid you “game the system.” Many even offer assistance when applicants apply for the card, all at a cost obviously.

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It is possible to receive fraudulent letters, emails, or other forms of communications which attempt in convincing you you’ve been chosen as lottery winner.

Here’s what you should be aware of:

  • Participation in the green-card lottery will be not cost.
  • The drawing is generated randomly created by computers.
  • You can only find out whether you have won by going to www.dvlottery.state.gov (typically beginning May 1).
  • If you’re successful and eligible to apply, you’ll be required to pay for an amount, however it must be paid in the presence of an U.S. embassy or consulate.

If you believe you require assistance from a professional during the application process, USCIS has a wealth of resources available to you. It also offers ways to identify fraudsters, such as those described earlier.

The green card lottery doesn’t guarantee you an green card but allows you to request one.

Increase Your Chances of Getting a Diversity Visa

Although you’re entering an unintentional drawing There are a few of legal (and free) ways to improve your odds of winning. You and your spouse if both are eligible. This allows you to win, instead of one. Should one wins, the other one can not accept the application and be entered as an heir apparent.

Since there is no restriction on the number of applicants of the same family who could be eligible, your children can apply if they fulfill the academic or work qualifications for work. It is important to note that if one of them is successful the contest, they won’t be able to take your family to U.S. immediately, but can begin an process that will take you there eventually.

Achieving an Diversity Visa

A green card lottery win is not a guarantee of receiving an green card through the mail. If you’re lucky enough to be able to claim the prize, what it signifies is that you could have been lucky enough to apply for the green card.

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Find out whether you’re lucky enough to win a lottery on or following May 8, by visiting the DV Entrant Status Check link online.9 If you’ve won the lottery, you’ll be taken by clicking on the link to a confirmation page that contains additional instructions.

Waiting List

Since around 125,000 names are drawn, but only 50,000 are who are eligible to get green cards, every person who is selected is placed on a waiting list , and assigned an number.10 In the event that your wait list’s number is extremely high, and there are 50,000 applicants in the queue who have completed their application and have been approved, you will not get an opportunity to apply and even get an green card.

If you’re currently living within the U.S. under a non-immigrant or other type of legally recognized status, then the procedure that you’ll go through if you’re lucky enough to have a chance to win and be eligible the right to request a green card is via USCIS.

The majority of lottery winners who have green cards reside outside of within the United States and follow a process known as consular processing.11

The Bottom Line

Since applying for the lottery for green cards is not cost even if you’re “in line” waiting for your green card via another route, you might be interested in making an application for the lottery just in the event of a problem.

Although it’s a lottery the rules are strict that are laid out in the guidelines. Be sure to read them thoroughly prior to submitting. It is only possible to apply only once per year, which means you do not want to lose your chance of achieving your goal because of a minor application mistake.

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