Immigrants from all over the world apply for the Green Card Lottery each year for a chance to win entry to the United States. The Diversity Visa Program is the program’s official name and it was established as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. The goal of the program is to increase immigration to the United States from certain countries to improve the overall diversity of the immigrant population in the United States. If you are interested in applying for the green card lottery, here are the guidelines for how to apply.

Eligibility And Qualifications

Through this program, 50,000 visas are awarded each year using a random process to choose from applicants from an underrepresented county. Those who are selected can obtain their green card, also known as permanent residency. People who wouldn’t have another means of obtaining legal immigration to the United States have that opportunity through this program.

Numbers collected in the 2018 Diversity Visa Program show that more than 23 million immigrants applied for the program. Applying for the green card lottery is free and you can enter it every year beginning in early October. The application is submitted online. Winners of the lottery can obtain a green card for themselves and their immediate family members.

If you are coming to the United States for another reason other than permanent residency, such as to continue your studies, take a vacation, or for business purposes, you are not eligible for the green card lottery. To enter the United States for those reasons, you must either qualify for a waiver or some form of temporary visa. If you have a sponsor that will allow you to qualify for another type of visa, it might be easier to obtain your permanent residency through that program. You can still apply for the green card lottery, however, if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Green Card Lottery Application Requirements

In general, to apply for the green card lottery, you must be born from a country that in the last 5 years has sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the United States. Canada, India, Mexico, China, and the United Kingdom send a lot of immigrants every year, so those countries don’t make the list. The variation tends to be minimal between countries that are eligible or not.

If your spouse was born in an eligible country, you could still qualify for the green card lottery if by using their country of origin on your application. If neither of your parents was a legal resident of the country of your birth, you can use your mother or father’s country of origin.

Additionally, applicants must either have a high school degree or its equivalent or two years of work experience. Eligible experience must have occurred within the past five years and be in a profession that the U.S. Department of Labor identifies as one that requires two years of training.

The last requirement to meet the application requirements for the green card lottery is that you must be otherwise admissible to the United States. This includes being free from terrorism connections, criminal activity, national security concerns, lack of labor certification, prior removals, unlawful presence in the United States, and other such factors. In some cases, you might be able to apply for a waiver.

Submitting Your Green Card Lottery Application

It is very important that you submit your green card lottery application completely and accurately. Even if your application is chosen, it may be rejected if it’s not properly submitted. Unfortunately, the Department of State doesn’t communicate whether there was missing or inaccurate information within your application when sending a rejection. It might be best to apply for the green card with a licensed attorney who is experienced in this process so you can ensure you do everything correctly.

To apply for your green card, go to the Department of State’s website to begin filling out your application. You will have 60 minutes to complete your application, so make sure that you have all necessary documentation and digital photos before you get started. Here is the information that you will need to enter into the application:

  • Your name (must match what’s on your passport)
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • City of birth
  • Country of birth
  • The country claimed for lottery eligibility
  • Full and current mailing address
  • Contact information including phone number and email
  • Level of education
  • Marital status and information about your spouse and children (adopted and step-children as well) including their name, date of birth, gender, city of birth, and country of birth


You will receive a confirmation number when you are finished with your application, and you will be able to use it to check the lottery results. If you are selected, you can receive your visa(s) two fiscal years in the future.

When To Expect Your Application Results

Once the results are available, you will receive a notification that you can check the results on the status page. Many drawings will occur, so you should check regularly for updated results. Use your confirmation number, last name and year of birth to check your results.

Speak With Pride Immigration For More Information

If you want the peace of mind that your green card lottery application is filled out accurately, contact Pride Immigration today. Our experts are here to help with this or another type of visa that you might be seeking. We can answer any questions you have about the visa process and make sure you do everything you need to do to help gain entry to the United States.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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