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Diversity Lottery

The Diversity Visa Lottery Program (DV) offers 55,000 new immigrant visas each year for people from underrepresented nations. A nation is considered underrepresented if less than 50,000 people from that country have immigrated to the U.S. in the last five years.

Since the DV ’99 lottery, 5,000 of these 55,000 visas have been allocated for use under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA). The U.S. Department of State (DOS) holds the lottery every year, and randomly selects roughly 110,000 applicants from all qualified entries they receive. These 110,000 applicants will then be given the opportunity to apply for Permanent Residency. Please note, however, that once 55,000 visas (including those allocated under NACARA) have been issued for this fiscal year group , the DV program closes for that year . It is, therefore, essential that approved applicants act quickly to apply for permanent residency under this program.

If you receive a permanent residency visa through the DV Program, you will be:

  • Authorized to live and work permanently in the U.S.; and
  • Allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. to live with you.

To be eligible for the DV Program:

  • You should have either a high school education or its equivalent, or two years work experience within the last five years in a job that demands two years of training.
  • You or your spouse must be a native of a nation that is eligible for the Diversity Lottery Program. You may be eligible if your parent was born in a nation eligible to participate in the lottery.

The Diversity Lottery Program randomly picks the 110,000 visa candidates. Individuals are chosen to receive the visa by chance and not by merit.

Documents required for a Diversity Lottery visa

Typically, to apply for the DV program, you simply need to submit a letter detailing your personal information. However, you must follow directions exactly when writing this letter. Any deviation from the directions could result in disqualification. Details on this year’s DV Program can be obtained either by speaking with our lawyers/legal representatives or by contacting the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Procedure to apply for a Diversity Lottery

Each year, DOS publishes specific instructions on how to apply for the DV program. These instructions are typically made available in the month of August and the registration period usually begins in early October. Only the winners will be notified by mail at the addresses listed on their applications. Winners will be sent instructions and information on fees. Being selected as a winner in the DV program does not automatically guarantee that you will be issued a visa, even if you are qualified. The number of entries selected is greater than the number of immigrant visas available because not everyone selected will be qualified for the visa or will choose to complete the processing. Once all 50,000 visas have been issued, the DV program for the year will end.