Claudia Slovinsky

Diversity Visa Lottery (DV)

The immigration law provides for 50,000 green cards to be issued each year to nationals of certain countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The winners are chosen at random. The DV visa numbers are allocated according to six geographic regions. No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year. See instructions and the current list of eligible countries here. Because the Department of State selects more applicants than the number who can receive green cards through the program, the Department of State gives each winner a ranking number, then publishes the visa number allocation for the current month and the next month in the monthly Visa Bulletin.

To be eligible for a green card through the diversity visa lottery, the applicant must have a high school diploma or its equivalent or within the five years before applying, have at least two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience.

A DV selectee may begin his or her immigrant visa consular processing or file for adjustment of status in the U.S. (if eligible) no earlier than when their visa rank number is under the number that appears in the Visa Bulletin.

Further, to be able to immigrate to the U.S., a DV selectee must not be inadmissible to the United States and must be issued the immigrant visa before September 30 of the fiscal year of the program or before the DV visa numbers for the geographic region have been exhausted, whichever happens first. If a DV winner is successful in their application, they may also bring a spouse and minor children but their applications must also be adjudicated before September 30 of the program year.