The Diversity Visa Lottery also known as the green card lottery, is a congressionally-allocated program for receiving permanent residence in the United States. U.S. Immigration Law provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. There is a limited number of visas per year. For Fiscal Year 2019, 50,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) will be available. This post discusses how to apply, eligibility and screening procedures for DV applicants.
What is the Diversity Visa Lottery application process?
- Submission of Entry. During the specified registration period, applicants must submit their entries electronically on the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website at www.dvlottery.state.gov. The DV 2019 Lottery registration period began on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and concludes on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-4). Only one entry per applicant will be considered and multiple entries will be disqualified. REMEMBER: there is no cost to enter the lottery and it is important that you retain your confirmation number as this is the only way to check the status of your entry. Click here for the detailed instructions from the Department of State and follow this link to the YouTube Tutorial on Submitting an Entry.
- Selection of Applicants. The Department of State DOS) conducts a random selection of DV applicants, based on allocations of available visas in each region and country, from all registered entries. On or about May 15, information on the Entrant Status Check on the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website is updated to inform all entrants if their online registration was selected or not. You will need to enter your confirmation number to check your entry status. If your entry is selected, you will be directed to a confirmation page that will provide further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the United States. The Entrant Status Check is the only way that applicants are notified whether they were selected or not. The DOS does not mail out notification letters or notify selectees by email, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates will not provide a list of selectees.
- Screening of Applicants. DV Lottery winners are screened just like every other immigrant visa applicant, including all employment-based and family-based immigrants seeking permanent residence in the U.S. This process is extremely thorough and can take many months. Security screening involves numerous procedures, including: biometrics capture (fingerprints and photos) to confirm the individual's identity using facial recognition and other technologies; name checks and fingerprint checks against multiple interagency government databases to identify potential criminal or national security issues; and checks against terrorist, organized crime, gang, and other watch-lists. In certain circumstances, a Security Advisory Opinion may be required from DOS headquarters before a visa can be issued.
- Interview of Applicants. In addition, all DV Lottery winners must go through an in-person interview and are again screened for eligibility through careful questioning. If any "inadmissibility ground" arises, which includes prior convictions for most crimes, security concerns, health-related issues, and prior U.S. immigration violations, the visa can be denied.
Who is eligible?
In order to qualify, the applicant must meet the following two requirements:
- Nationality: Individuals born in countries whose natives qualify may be eligible to enter.
- Education/Work Experience: Each DV applicant must meet the education/work experience requirement of the DV program by having either: a) at least a high school education or its equivalent; OR b) two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.
With adequate preparation, the interview should go smoothly. We have successfully prepared immigrants for their green card interviews. Please reach out if you would like to schedule an immigration consultation or have questions. We are here to help! Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.
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