Every year, the Congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program conducts an online lottery in which many people apply for permanent residence to the U.S. through the Green Card Lottery. 50,000 diversity visas (DV) are available for random selection by a computer, and will be granted to those lucky people who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
Every diversity visa entrant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or have, within the past five years, two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years’ training or experience.
You can enter this lottery for free, and you don’t even need an attorney. There is no charge to download and complete the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. As such, beware of fraudulent websites* posing as official U.S. Government sites, seeking money in order to “complete” lottery entry forms. It is not necessary to pay either an immigration consultant or the State Department in order to apply. However, if you are selected as a “winner”, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to assist you in preparation and filing of all necessary paperwork to move your case through the system in a timely and efficient manner.
Important Notice about DV-2013: The online registration for DV-2013 DV Lottery begins noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT -4), Tuesday on October 4, 2011, and ends noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT -4), Saturday on November 5, 2011.
All entries must be submitted electronically during the registration period, and applicants may access the Electronic DV Entry Form DS-5501 at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov.
Paper entries will not be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon, EST, on November 5, 2011.
Read the DV-2013 Entry Instructions carefully. Entrants may be disqualified for not completing the entry form correctly or by submitting more than one entry. Use the links below for more information.
NOTE that for DV-2013, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years: BANGLADESH, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.
For DV-2013, natives of South Sudan and Poland are now eligible for selection, while Bangladesh natives are now ineligible.
Immigrants that entered the U.S. illegally or are “out of status” are typically not eligible for the green card lottery.
*Also be wary of any unsolicited emails. The Department of State notifies successful Diversity Visa applicants by letter, and NOT by e-mail.