Understanding Diversity Visas

Understanding Diversity Visas


The Diversity Visa was established in 1990 to increase the number of immigrants from nations who have not, historically, sent as many people to the United States. 

How many diversity visas are there?

The US government issues roughly 50,000 diversity visas every year. 

Who is eligible for a diversity visa?

Prospective immigrants from countries who have sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years. 

If your country isn’t eligible you could apply with your spouse and choose their birth country if their birth country is eligible. If your mother or father comes from an eligible country, you could also choose their country.

Prospective immigrants must also have a high school degree or at least two years of work experience within the past five years in a profession that requires at least two years of training.

After that, you must be an admissible candidate, which means you can’t have a criminal record, certain medical conditions, or other issues that might make it difficult to approve your application. You will still have to go through an interview with a USCIS officer if your application is selected. 

Bring your appointment letter, your DS-260 confirmation page, your passports, your photographs, your medical exam, your original and supporting documents, and your visa fees. Once you have your visa you will travel to the US and request permission to enter. Note that permission to enter can still be denied if other travel bans or orders are in place.

If you are already legally in the United States for some reason (perhaps on a temporary visa) then you can submit a form I-485 to start the process of adjusting your status to LPR status.

How do I register for this year’s diversity visa lottery?

Visit the State Department website between October and November to put in your application. In most cases you will want to remain in your home country while applying. Applying is free so putting your name in is a risk-free proposition unless you don’t truly wish to come to the United States. 

Be sure to retain a copy of your confirmation number for your records. This will allow you to check the status of your application.

What are the chances of winning the green card lottery? 

The chances of winning the green card lottery are better than you might think! There is a 1:25 to 1:75 chance depending on the region you live in. That’s hardly a sure shot but it’s a possibility, and a once-in-a-lifetime chance for some immigrants.

The drawing is totally randomized, and done by computer. 

What are your options if you can’t win the green card lottery?

You may have other avenues for becoming a lawful permanent resident in the United States of America. To pursue them, reach out to John Hykel Law. Our law office has helped thousands of immigrants pursue their dreams of living, working, and studying in the United States, and we can help you, too.

See also:

What You Need to Know About US Visitor’s Visas

USCIS to Hold Second H-1B Lottery

Why An Immigration Attorney is Your Best Bet


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