US Green Card Lottery Program Overview
Would you like to obtain a US green card from the immigration department? Have you heard that you can enter a US green card lottery application program? What is the program all about? How do you complete a green card lottery application? Read on....
The US Green Card Lottery Application Program, legislated by the US government, awards 50,000 green cards to people from all around the world per year. The winners are selected randomly in a lottery process from a computer-generated list held by the US government. All 50,000 annual winners are issued a green card, authorizing them and their families to live, work and study in USA. The green card lottery application program is the easiest way to obtain a green card.
This program was established in the 1996 Immigration Act in order to give immigration opportunities to natives from countries other than the main source-countries of immigration to the USA. This official government program aims to diversify the American population by creating immigration opportunity for under-represented ethnic groups. If you are not a US citizen, this is your chance to take advantage of this opportunity.
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There are very few basic eligibility criteria for registering for the US green card lottery application program: to be eligible, a person needs to be born in a qualified country (almost all countries qualify, with a few exceptions). In addition, the person applying for the green card lottery must either have a high school education or 2 years of work experience in a required field.
Unlike normal applications for a US green card, lottery application winners do not have to be sponsored by a family member or by an employer. This is generally the quickest and easiest way to obtain a US green card. It is interesting to note that the application forms require information on your country of birth and not your country of citizenship.
What is the US Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery Program?
Each year, 50,000 immigrant visas are made available through a green card lottery application program to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. None of these visas are available for people who come from countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years. The State Department's National Visa Center holds the green card lottery application every year, and chooses winners randomly from all qualified entries. Anyone who is selected under this program will be given the opportunity to apply for permanent residence. If permanent residence is granted, then the individual will be issued a green card and authorized to live and work permanently 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.
What Does the Law Say About the Lottery?
The legal foundation for the US Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery Program comes from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Please see INA § 203 for more information about the actual laws affecting US green card lottery applications.
Who is Eligible to Enter the Application Program?
- You or your spouse must be a native of a country that is eligible to participate in the US Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery application program. You may also be eligible to apply if your parent was born in a country that is eligible to participate. (The State Department will publish the names of countries that are eligible to participate before each year's lottery.)
- You must have a high school diploma or the equivalent in order to apply for the lottery, defined in the United States as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR you must have two years of work experience within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.
- See the State Department for information on the US DV green card lottery application program.
How do I Complete a US Green Card Lottery Application?
Before each year's drawing, the Department of State will publish explicit instructions on how to apply in press releases and the Federal Register. Please follow all directions exactly. Millions of green card lottery applicants are rejected each year for failure to follow the directions. Please watch the State Department Website for more information on the Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery Application Program. Instructions are usually posted in August.
How Much does the Application Cost?
There is no fee for entering the US diversity visa green card lottery (if you apply directly with the US government). If you win, you must pay a fee for an immigrant visa and a separate visa lottery surcharge. Some companies charge to help customers apply for the program, but are not affiliated with the government.
How Can I find Out if I Won?
Only the US green card lottery application winners will be notified by mail at the addresses listed on their applications. Winners will be sent instructions and information on fees. Being selected as a winner in the diversity visa green card lottery does not automatically guarantee that you will be issued a visa, even if you are qualified. The number of green card lottery entries selected is greater than the number of immigrant visas available because not everyone selected will be qualified for the visa or will choose to complete the processing. Once all 50,000 visas have been issued, the diversity visa program for the year will end.
How can I Find Out More Information About the US Green Card Lottery Application?
Please watch the State Department Website for more information on the US Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery Program. You may also call the State Department's Visa Green Card Lottery Information Center at 1-900-884-8840 for more information. Please note: There is a charge for each call. You may also contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A listing of U.S. Embassies and Consulates can be found at the State Department Website.
US green cards and the US green card lottery program facts
- US green cards are actually pink in color. US green cards used to be green many years ago.
- Most US green cards are issued for a period of 10 years, after which renewal is necessary.
- Your chances of being successful in the lottery program depends on how many apply.
- Millions applied for the last program.
- US green cards are officially called Form I-551 or the Permanent Resident Card.
- US Green Card Lottery Application winners are expected to meet all US immigration criteria.