When Immigration Matters

Winning a Green Card—The Diversity Visa 2017 Lottery.

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Jun 19, 2015 9:30:00 AM

dvlottery-resized-600You can win the right to live and work in the United States.  The DV 2017 Lottery program begins accepting applications on October 1, 2015 usually through early November 2015.  The Department of State will announce the exact dates soon.  All applications are accepted electronically at www.dvlottery.state.gov. 

 What is the Diversity Lottery Program

 Each year the United States Government grants 50,000 green cards to people from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States of America.  This year’s (2016) Green Card DV-Lottery is called the DV-2016 Lottery because 2016 is the year when winners may enter the USA on their new green card.  The 2016 Fiscal Year starts on October 1, 2015.

 The State Department’s (DOS) computer program randomly selects approximately 100,000 applications since many will not complete the visa process as required.  However, the DV lottery program closes once 50,000 visas are issued or the fiscal year ends.  If you receive a diversity visa through the random selection program DV 2014, you will be authorized to permanently live and work in the United States.  You will also be allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.  After winning the DV lottery and completing the visa process, you, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old will receive Green Cards.  You may apply for U.S. Citizenship after maintaining permanent residency for five (5) years. 

 What are the requirements to participate in the Diversity Lottery Program

Most individuals worldwide can enter the Green Card DV-Lottery, as long as they meet two simple, but strict eligibility requirements. First, you must be a national of a country eligible to participate.  Natives from countries who have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years are not eligible to enter the Diversity Visa Lottery.  South African citizens are eligible to participate in the DV Lottery. 

In most cases, an applicant is a citizen of the country in which he or she was born. However, there are two other ways a person may be able to qualify. First, if a person is from a country that is ineligible to participate but is married to a person from a country that does qualify, the applicant can claim his or her spouse’s citizenship.  However, the applicant and spouse must be issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously. Second, if an applicant was born in a country that is not eligible to participate in the Lottery but neither of his or her parents were born there or resided there at the time of his or her birth, such person may claim to be a citizen of his or her respective parent’s country of birth. 

 Second, the applicant must have a high school education or its equivalent OR within the past five years have two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years training or experience. A "high school education or equivalent" is defined as successful completion of a twelve-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Documentary proof of education or work experience must be presented to the consular officer at the time of the visa interview.

 How do I enter the DV Lottery Program


  • 1.All entries must be submitted electronically.


  1. Only one entry per person is allowed.  Each eligible family member may submit an entry.  For example, a husband, wife and child under 21 can each submit an entry.  You may submit the entry yourself or someone may do so on your behalf.


  1. State your Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, and Country of Birth.


  1. State your marital status.  “Legally Separated” replaces the term “Separated” used in previous DV programs as an option under the question “What is your marital status?” Legal separation means that a court has formally declared that you and your spouse are legally separated. Legal separation means that your spouse would not be eligible to immigrate as your derivative.


  1. State the Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, Country of Birth of the applicant’s spouse, all natural children, as well as all legally-adopted children and stepchildren who are unmarried and under the age of 21 even if the spouse or child does not currently live with you and/or will not immigrate with you.


  1. List the Country in which you presently live.


  1. State your highest level of education.  You must choose one of ten options: (1) Primary school only, (2) High school, no degree, (3) High school degree, (4) Vocational school, (5) Some university courses, (6) University degree, (7) Some graduate level courses, (8) Master degree, (9) Some doctorate level courses, and (10) Doctorate degree.


  1. A digital photo of each applicant, his or her spouse, and each child must be submitted with the Entry Form.  Each digital photo MUST be in .jpg digital format and the camera setting should be either normal or high quality.  The recommended digital photo is 300mm by 300mm, with a print resolution of 150dpi.  The background of the photo should be plain white and the applicant should not be smiling in the photo.


  1. State your mailing address.  Email and telephone number are optional.  Signatures are not required on the entry form.


  1. Finally, there is no fee to enter the DV Lottery


You can check the status of your entry on the DV Lottery website.  You can access the DV Lottery Entry Form at www.dvlottery.state.gov   Additional information on the DV Lottery program is available at http://www.travel.state.gov.  On or about May 5, information on the Entrant Status Check on the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website is updated to inform all entrants if their online registration was selected or not. You will need to enter your confirmation number, which you obtained when you filled out your entry form, to check your entry status. If you have lost your confirmation number, you will not be able to check the status of your entry.


If your entry is selected, you will be directed to a confirmation page that will provide further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the United States. Entrant Status Check is the ONLY means by which selectees are notified of their selection. The Department of State does not mail out notification letters or notify selectees by email, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates will not provide a list of selectees. Individuals who have not been selected also will be notified ONLY through Entrant Status Check. You are strongly encouraged to access Entrant Status Check yourself and not to rely on someone else to check and inform you.


If you receive notification through the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website that you have been selected for further processing in the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program, you must successfully complete certain forms and file them with a US consulate before a consular interview can be scheduled to determine if you will receive a visa. You should complete these steps as soon as possible.  If you receive notification through the E-DV website that you have been selected for further processing in the DV Program, and you are physically present in the United States, you may be eligible to adjust status to obtain permanent residence through the DV Program.  It is important to hire an attorney at this stage to assist you. 

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