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On October 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of State (DOC) began accepting requests to register for the 2017 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2017). Also known as the Green Card Lottery, the program provides green cards to 50,000 randomly selected people from countries with relatively low immigration to the United States. The Diversity Visa program also offers a way for foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States even if they don’t have family members or employers sponsoring them.

 

Entering the Diversity Lottery

 

  • ●     There is no fee to register in the lottery. Should your application be selected, the only required payment is the visa fee.
  • ●     You must meet eligibility requirements and submit your online application by Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at 12:00 noon EDT.
  • ●     Entries may not be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service.
  • ●     Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified. However, each eligible family member (child or spouse) in your family is considered a separate applicant and can submit his or her own application.

 

Determining Diversity Lottery Eligibility

 

  • ●     Natives of most countries qualify with exception to those from Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, México, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland). Those born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible as well. See a full list of eligible regions and countries.
  • ●     You must meet certain education or work experience requirements by having either: (1) a U.S. or home country high school degree, or (2) worked at least two years in a job where two years’ training, experience, or education is required.

 

Winning a Diversity Visa

 

  • ●     50,000 entries will be randomly selected for green cards. You can check your status by using the Entrant Status Check tool on the diversity lottery website starting on May 3, 2016.
  • ●     Beware of green card scams. The DOS will not send you a notification or letter via email or postal mail. If you receive a any notification saying that you have been selected to receive a diversity visa, it is not legitimate. The only email you will receive from the DOS will only notify you that you can check your status online.
  • ●     If your application is selected, you’re not guaranteed a green card. You must meet all eligibility standards and all processing of your entry and issuance of your diversity visa must be completed by midnight on September 30, 2017.
  • ●     Immediate family members of successful lottery applicants are eligible for green cards as well, provided they meet the same admissibility standards.
  • ●     Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 may be eligible for green cards regardless of where they were born.
  • ●     If selected and eligible for a visa, you may either secure an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you’re already in the United States and qualified to do so, you can adjust your status by filing an application and supporting documentation with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

 

Getting Help with Your Diversity Visa Application

 

An immigration lawyer can provide assistance in determining your DV eligibility and  submitting your DV application, submitting your visa application if you’re selected in the DV lottery, and helping ensure completion of the visa process within the required time period.