21:26 03 October in News Updates

Begins at Noon EDT on Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Ends at Noon EST on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (also known as the Green Card or DV Lottery) provides immigrant visas each fiscal year for persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Essentially, this program provides certain nationalities with the opportunity to win the chance to apply for a green card, without having to qualify in one of the family-based or employment-based categories. For fiscal year 2020, 50,000 diversity visas will be available.

There are various bills pending before Congress which call for the elimination of  the DV lottery immigration category. However, to date the program remains in effect.

Note that those selected in the lottery must still complete the last stage of the green card application process, and will be vetted for grounds of inadmissibility to the U.S., such as criminal and immigration violations. In short, winning the lottery does not guarantee a green card. However, for those who are eligible, this is a low-cost means to qualify to apply for permanent residence in the U.S., and we encourage eligible individuals to do so. Millions of people apply each year so the odds of winning are not great, but it is still worth a try. If you are selected in the lottery, LAC can be of assistance in completion of the remainder of the process.

To Apply

Submit the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501), online at between noon EDT on October 3, 2018 and noon EST on November 6, 2018.

After you submit a complete entry, you will see a confirmation screen that contains your name and a unique confirmation number. Print this confirmation screen for your records. It is extremely important that you retain your confirmation page and unique confirmation number. Without this information, you will not be able to access the online system that will inform you of the status of your entry. You also should retain access to the email account listed in the E-DV. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about Diversity Visa scams.

Based on the allocations of available visas in each region and country, the Department of State will randomly select individuals by computer from among qualified entries.

Starting May 7, 2019, you will be able to check the status of your entry by returning to, clicking on Entrant Status Check, and entering your unique confirmation number and personal information. Entrant Status Check will be the sole means of informing you of your selection for DV 2020, providing instructions on how to proceed with your application, and notifying you of your appointment for your immigrant visa interview.

Entrant Status Check will be available on the E-DV Web site at starting May 7, 2019, through at least September 30, 2020.

Detailed eligibility requirements, instructions for application, and FAQs for the 2020 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

Eligibility Criteria

  1.  You must have been born in a qualifying country, unless one of the below exceptions applies

a.    If your spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible, then you can claim your spouse’s country of birth, as long as both you and your spouse are named on the selected entry, are found eligible for and issued diversity visas, and enter the United States simultaneously.

b.    If you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but in which neither of your parents were born or legally resident at the time of your birth, then you may claim the country of birth of one of your parents if it is a country whose natives are eligible for the DV-2020 program.

     2.   You must have at least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary or secondary education OR two years of work experience in the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.

Ineligible Nationalities

There are no changes in eligibility criteria this year.  As with last year, unless an exception applies, individuals born in the following countries are NOT eligible to apply, because these countries provided more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, 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 to apply.

Fraud warning

Please note that there is no cost whatsoever to apply for the DV lottery. Some individuals have sought to profit from the lottery by charging a fee to apply on someone’s behalf and/or stating that using their service will increase one’s chances of winning. Please beware of any such scams.

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