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What Is The Diversity Lottery Program?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2013 | Common Immigration Questions and Problems, Visa Issues |

What is the Diversity Lottery Program?

Every year, 50,000 legal permanent resident visas (greencards) are made available through the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program. This program was created to make permanence residence available to nationals of countries which are underrepresented in regards to immigration. To determine which countries are undersubscribed, any country which has had 50,000 or more immigrants come to the United States within the past five years is excluded.

Which countries are ineligible?

For DV-2015, citizens living in, and born in, the following countries are ineligible: The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (Exception: Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau S.A.R.), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, The United Kingdom (exception: Northern Ireland), Vietnam.

What are the application requirements?

(1) An application must be from an eligible country, and;

(2) The applicant must have a high school diploma, or;

(3) Two years of work experience in the last five years that required at least two years of training, and;

(4) The applicant must be otherwise admissible.

How do I apply?

Applications can be filled out electronically at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov. This is a simple process and there is no fee for applying, although there will be fees if you win the lottery. If multiple applications are sent, then all will be disqualified. When applying, the following information is needed:

(1) Applicant’s name

(2) Birth Date

(3) Gender

(4) Country and City of Birth

(5) Country of eligibility

(6) Photographs of the applicant, his or her spouse and all children who are not citizens or lawful permanent residents. No group photographs are permitted. For more information see: http://travel.state.gov/pdf/DV_2015_Instructions.pdf.

(7) Mailing Address

(8) Current country of residence

(9) Phone Number and Email Address

(10) Highest level of education attained

(11) Marital Status

(12) Number of Children

Can I apply if I am living in the United States without documentation?

The short answer is ‘yes,’ but it may not be worthwhile if you have accrued 180 days or more of unlawful presence. Anyone can apply for the Diversity Lottery, and it is possible for an undocumented alien to win it. However, winning the lottery is different from being eligible to either immigrate or adjust status. The Diversity Program, unfortunately, is not an amnesty program. An unlawful presence bar, for example, could potentially derail a permanent residence application for someone who may entered here without inspection despite winning a berth in the lottery. While such an undocumented alien is ineligible to adjust status, he or she could return to his or her home country. However, it is highly unlikely that the alien would be able to return (absent a waiver) due to the unlawful presence bars (3 or 10 years) which would be triggered by his/her departure.

If my country has legalized gay marriage, can I include my spouse in my application?

Yes, you can. This is because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has ended, and therefore the same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, as well as their minor children, are eligible for the same immigration benefits as all other spouses.

Can I track my application, and how will I know if I won?

You can check your application once it is submitted by going to www.dvlottery.state.gov, clicking “entrant status check”, and entering your confirmation number. This is the only way to know whether you have won the lottery, as the US government will not contact you. For this reason it is important to keep a careful record of your confirmation number.