• Jennifer Grady

Apply Now for the Diversity Visa Lottery for the Chance to Obtain a Green Card (Lottery Open Oct. 1

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For Fiscal Year 2017, 50,000 Diversity Visas  (DVs) will be available.

There are no USCIS filing fees to register for the DV program. (*Be weary of potential scams from “notarios” or immigration agents and consultants).

Applicants who are selected to the program (“selectees”) must meet simple, yet strict, eligibility requirements in order to qualify for a diversity visa.  Selectees are chosen through a randomized computer drawing, or lottery.  Diversity visas are distributed among six geographic area, and no single country may receive more than seven percent (7%) of the available diversity visas per year.

Eligible Countries

Of note, natives of the following countries are ineligible to apply for the Diversity Visa because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years.  However, even if an applicant’s country listed above, he or she may still be able to apply based on the exceptions below.

  1. Bangladesh,

  2. Brazil,

  3. Canada,

  4. China (mainland-born),

  5. Colombia,

  6. Dominican Republic,

  7. Ecuador,

  8. El Salvador,

  9. Haiti,

  10. India,

  11. Jamaica,

  12. Mexico,

  13. Nigeria,

  14. Pakistan,

  15. Peru,

  16. Philippines,

  17. South Korea,

  18. United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories,and

  19. Vietnam.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible for the Diversity Visa.


There are two requirements that a Diversity Visa applicant must fulfill in order to be able to apply.

Eligibility Requirement #1

The applicant must be a native of a qualifying country.

If the applicant is not a native of a qualifying country, there are two circumstances under which he or she may be eligible to apply.

1. Based on Spouse

2. Based on Parents

If the applicant claims alternate chargeability through either of the above, he or she must provide an explanation on the E-DV Entry Form.

Listing an incorrect country of eligibility or chargeability (i.e., one to which the applicant cannot establish a valid claim)

may disqualify the entry.

Eligibility Requirement #2

To do so, the applicant must have either:

1. At least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education; or

2. Two (2) years of work experience within the past five (5) years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform. The U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database will be used to determine qualifying work experience.

Risks of Applying

Certain risks come with applying for the Diversity Visa lottery.  For example, if an applicant wins the lottery but is ultimately refused a Green Card, the applicant has in effect announced to the US government that he or she is hoping to get a Green Card.  This can make it more difficult to obtain short term visas, like visitor or student visas, which require that the applicant assure the US government that he or she intends to return to their home country after the visa expires.

Even entering the lottery and losing is something that the applicant must declare in any later applications for a US visa, and may be taken into account when the officer determines whether it is likely that the applicant will return home on time.

When to Apply

The law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries.  Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified.  Starting May 3, 2016, applicants will be able to check the status of their entries online.

What Next?

To find out if you qualify for the Diversity Visa program, or to obtain assistance with filing your application, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call (323) 450-9010; or fill out a Contact Request Form.

#GreenCard #visalottery #GreenCardLottery #immigrationattorney #diversityvisalottery #Immigration #Immigrationlaw

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