Diversity Visa Lottery
The United States sees an influx of more than one million immigrants each year, and more than 40 million people living in the US were born in another country.
This adds up to approximately one fifth of the world’s migrant population.
Yet despite these vast figures, there is surprisingly little diversity among US immigrant groups.
25% of US immigrants come from Mexico, with China being the next largest group at 12%.
One way the government has attempted to diversify the immigrant population of the United States is through the diversity visa lottery. Read on to learn more about the diversity visa lottery and how you can apply.
What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, otherwise known as the diversity visa lottery or the green card lottery, is a scheme targeted at migrants looking to obtain permanent residency. The lottery, administered by the Department of State, makes 50,000 immigrant visas available each year. The aim of the program is to diversify the immigrant population of the United States by selecting applicants from countries with low immigration numbers over the past five years.
In 2020, more than 14 million people from all over the world applied for a diversity visa.
The precise eligibility requirements for entering the lottery can vary from year to year, as the countries selecting depends on recent immigration numbers. If the US experiences a significant annual rise in immigration from one nation, it may cease to be eligible the following year.
In order to be eligible to enter, an applicant must meet the following two requirements.
- Must be a native of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. A list of eligible nations is published by the Department of State alongside each year’s diversity lottery.
- Must either be educated to at least high school level or have completed two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.
In addition to these requirements, all immigrants to the US must meet certain criteria relating to health, criminal backgrounds, and means of financial support.
If an applicant is not from one of the eligible countries, that does not not necessarily exclude them from entering the diversity lottery. A potential immigrant may claim the nation of their spouse if they are both planning to migrate, or claim the country of birth of one of their parents if it is on the list.
How to Apply
The diversity visa lottery can be entered online and is a relatively straightforward process. Listed below are the essential steps an individual will need to follow in order to submit an application.
Step 1: Check that you meet the most recent set of eligibility requirements for entering the lottery.
Step 2: Submit your Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form online. You will need to provide a lot of information about yourself and your circumstances in order to apply. This information will include details about your country of birth, education, marital status, and any dependents. You will also be required to submit a photograph of yourself. It’s important to note that there is a fixed time period each year during which registration is open.
Step 3: Applications will be selected randomly, based on the number of available visas for each region or country. You will be able to check the status of your application using your unique confirmation number.
Step 4: If selected, you must confirm your education or appropriate work experience.
Step 5: Submit your immigrant visa and alien registration application.
Step 6: Submit any supporting documents necessary for your application. This may include birth certificates, marital records, military service records, or police certificates.
Step 7: Attend a visa interview. This will take place at your chosen US embassy or consulate, and your spouse or children will also need to attend, if applicable. The interview will determine whether or not you can receive an immigrant visa, and you will be asked to provide proof of financial means, work and education requirements, and evidence of a recent medical examination.
Step 8: Shortly after your interview, you will either be approved or denied for a visa. If denied, you will be given the reasons for your ineligibility and you may submit another visa application in the future. If approved, you will receive your visa and can enter the United States on your scheduled date.
How Much Does it Cost?
There is no cost to enter the diversity visa lottery, and applicants who are unsuccessful will not have to pay anything. However, applicants who are accepted will have to pay various fees in order to become a lawful resident of the United States. These fees may include:
- Applicable forms and applications such as DS-260 and I-485
- Affidavit of Support fee
- Biometric services
- Medical examinations and vaccinations
- Translations of documents if necessary
- USCIS immigrant fee
- Diversity Visa processing fee
Diversity Visa Lottery Scams
There are a number of scams targeted at those looking to immigrate to the United States. These include fraudulent websites that charge a fee in order to submit a user’s visa application, or falsely claim to increase someone’s chances of winning the lottery. There have also been cases of fraudulent emails that notify an individual that their visa application has been approved, asking them to send a processing fee to guarantee their green card.
To avoid these scams, it’s important to take note of the following:
- The diversity lottery is always free to enter
- The only way to apply is by submitting the application on the US Department of State website
- Winners will never be notified by email
Get in Touch
If you want to learn more about the diversity visa lottery and whether you are eligible, get in touch with Davis & Associates today for a free consultation.