Diversity Visa Lottery

I have heard that I can get a green card through a lottery. Is this true?

Yes, but do not rely on it. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State and provides 55,000 permanent resident visas annually to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. You must meet strict eligibility requirements and a computer-generated random lottery drawing chooses applicants. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions with more visas going to regions with lower immigration rates. No visas are given to citizens of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past 5 years. Within each region, no one country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas in any 1 year.

Who is eligible to apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery?

You or your spouse must be a native of a country that is eligible to participate in the lottery. You may also be entitled to apply if one of your parents was born in a country that is eligible. The State Department publishes the names of eligible countries before each year's lottery. For more information, visit the State Department's Web site.

You must have a high school diploma or the equivalent to participate. The United States defines this as the successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education. This can be substituted with 2 years of work experience within the past 5 years in an occupation that requires at least 2 years of training or experience to perform.

How do I apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery?

There is only one way to enter the DV-2006 lottery. You must submit an electronic Diversity Visa (EDV) Entry Form. This form is accessible only at the State Department's Web site. Failure to complete the form in its entirety will disqualify the applicant's entry. In the past, the deadline for filing was in early January of the year preceding the lottery year. For example, the lottery application deadline for the 2006 lottery ended on Jan. 7, 2005. Selected applicants for 2006 are then notified in May or June of 2005 and given further instructions. DV-2006 visas will be issued between Oct. 1, 2005, and Sept. 30, 2006.

I was informed that I received a visa through the Diversity Visa Lottery. Can I bring my spouse and children to the United States?

Yes, you are allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.

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