Every year, the United States of America opens its door through a U.S Green Card Lottery (formally known as the Diversity Visa Lottery) to tens of thousands of foreigners who wish to come and live in the United States of America and become citizens of the country. On the average, 50,000 candidates among those who apply across the globe are granted such “privilege”.

While this is a good venture by the United States of America to compensate for its tight immigration measures, not all countries are eligible for this application. The list of countries and their eligibility status changes every year with each application and can only be confirmed at the time of application from the US Lottery official website.

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usa visa lottery

Green cards also referred to as permanent resident cards, are issued by the Federal Government of the United States and qualifies immigrants to legally live, study and work in the country.

The Immigration Act was established in 1996 in the spirit of increasing multiculturalism of the immigrants in the United States and even though governed by the principles of chance, it is not as simple as the lottery on Sunday, since it is not enough to buy a ticket to be able to participate in it.


As a result of this act, people from different parts of the world are given a chance to move to the US, as long as they have followed the stipulated legal process.

While the United States Department of State, which is in charge of the lottery, accepts application every year, there is no definite timing to this but online registration for the green card lottery usually begins towards the end of every year, around the first week of October, and continues until the first week of November.

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After that, names of individuals are randomly selected from countries that are currently underrepresented in the United State immigration.

The Diversity Visa Lottery allows a maximum of 50,000 randomly selected applicants from qualifying countries an opportunity to live and work permanently in the United States, with a path for U.S. citizenship. It is free to enter and application forms are officially filled online at the Dept. of State website with the address www.dvlottery.state.gov. Eligibility criteria, including qualifying countries, can also be found at that link.

The online form filled by an applicant is called Form DS-5501 or Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. It is available only during the Diversity Visa open registration period and cannot be downloaded and filled out because paper entries are not accepted.

According to the  US Citizenship and Immigration Services, those who win the lottery must live outside of the US and should visit their country’s consulate if they wish to immigrate to the US.

Requirements For a U.S  Diversity Visa Lottery (US Green Card Lottery)

As part of the application, you would be required to fill an online form that will contain the following:

PART ONE- Entrant Information

*your full name *date of birth *gender *city where you were born *country where you were born *country of eligibility or charge-ability for the DV program

*Entrant photograph. (Attach a compliant and recent digital photograph of yours. The photographs require a great deal of attention to ensure that it meets the required specifications)

*Mailing address *Country where you live today *Phone number *E-mail address *What is the highest level of education you have achieved, as of today?

* What is your current marital status? *Number of children

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PART TWO- Derivatives

*Spouse full name *Date of birth *Gender *City where the spouse was born *Country where the spouse was born *Spouse photograph.

*Child #1 name *Date of birth *City where child was born *Country where child was born *Child photograph

NOTE: You or your spouse must be native to a country that is eligible; you are also eligible to apply if one of your parents was born in a country that is eligible to participate.

When you are done filling out all the required information, you can then submit your online form at the web address where you would be given a unique reference/ serial number for you to remember as that is what you will use to check the outcome of your application in due course.

Each applicant can be able to check the status of their application at www.dvlottery.state.gov usually starting from 1st  May of the following year.

In general, more than 150 countries are eligible to participate in the U.S DV Lottery program while there are a few that are not eligible; one of the reasons for the ineligibility is that some of the following countries have more of their citizens immigrate into the United States over the past 5 years: Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, El Salvador, Nigeria, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland), Canada, Haiti, Pakistan, Vietnam, China(Mainland), India, Peru, Colombia, Jamaica, and the Philippines.