Each year, the State Department conducts a lottery through its Diversity Visa (DV) program to distribute applications for 50,000 U.S. immigrant visas. Winners of the lottery have a chance to apply for an immigrant visa, which can be used to enter the U. S. Winners are selected randomly, and there currently is no fee to enter the lottery.
Starting in 2003, entries to the DV lottery must be submitted only through the internet application procedure and only during the application period, which typically starts in the fall of each year. Paper entries or mail-in requests are no longer accepted. Lottery entrants must include a passport-style digital photograph and separate digital photographs of any spouse and children under 21 years of age. Group photographs are not allowed.
Applications for the Green Card Lottery are accepted every year for a limited time.
Entrants may submit only one entry during any particular DV lottery; those who submit more than one entry will be disqualified. Spouses may submit separate entries, however, if each meets the eligibility requirements. If only one spouse qualifies to apply for the lottery as being the national of a country eligible to participate in the DV lottery, the other spouse may enter in the application of the Diversity Visa the country of nationality of the eligible spouse.
The DV lottery has two eligibility requirements:
1. The entrant must be from an eligible country. You must have been born in an eligible country, or have parents who were born in eligible countries and who were not residents of your country of birth, when you were born. For example, your parents might have lived temporarily in the ineligible country because of their jobs.
Every year, the State Department announces the countries whose natives are ineligible for application. For the DV-2005 lottery, natives of the following countries were not eligible to apply: Canada, China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Applicants should check with the State Department to determine the ineligible countries for future DV lotteries.
2. Entrants must meet an education or training requirement. You will have met the education requirement if you have a high school education or have successfully completed a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education. You will have met the training requirement if you have at least two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.
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