SEE UPDATED POST (October 18, 2017)
In fiscal year 2019, the annual Diversity Visa (DV) Program (Commonly known as “Green Card Lottery” or “DV Lottery Program”) will make available 50,000 immigrant visas (permanent resident visas) to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The permanent residence visas (also known as “green cards”) are made available to persons who meet the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. The DV visas are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas allocated to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas allocated to citizens of countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years. Within each region, no one country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas in any one year. There is no fee to submit an electronic entry for the green card lottery program.
Who is NOT Eligible?
For DV-2019, natives of the following countries are NOT eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
What are the Eligibility Requirements?
To be eligible to apply for the DV lottery, an applicant must be a native of one of the qualifying countries. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan ARE eligible, as well as persons from countries NOT listed above.
If the applicant was born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but his/her spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible, the applicant can claim his/her spouse’s country of birth provided both the applicant and the spouse are both named on the selected entry, are found eligible for, and issued diversity visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously.
If the applicant was born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but neither of his/her parents was born there or resided there at the time of the applicant’s birth, the applicant may claim “nativity” in one of his/her parents’ country of birth if it is a country whose natives qualify for the DV-2019 program.
In addition, applicants must also have either a high school education or its equivalent (defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education), or, within the preceding five years, two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.
Applicants for the DV-2019 lottery must submit an Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501) online, which is accessible only at www.dvlottery.state.gov. Failure to complete the form in its entirety will disqualify the applicant’s entry. There is no cost to submit an entry form. PAPER ENTRIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Applications will be accepted beginning at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 Eastern Standard Time (EST) until 12:00 noon Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Applications may be submitted by a third party, such as an attorney.
All entries by an individual will be disqualified if more than ONE entry for that individual is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. Successfully registered entries will be displayed on a confirmation screen that contains the applicant’s name and a unique confirmation number. Applicants should print the confirmation screen for their records and keep it in a safe place. Without the registration confirmation information, applicants will not be able to access the online system that will provide information about the status of their entries. Applicants also should keep access to their email accounts listed in their E-DV entry. Starting May 1, 2018, applicants will be able to check the status of their entry by returning to the website (www.dvlottery.state.gov), clicking on Entrant Status Check and entering the unique confirmation number and personal information provided in their entry confirmation page. Entrant Status Check will be the only source of information to find out if applicants were selected and for instructions on how to continue with their immigrant visa application process. The U.S. government will NOT notify applicants directly.
To receive an immigrant visa, applicants selected in the random drawing must meet ALL eligibility requirements under U.S. law. Interviews for the DV-2019 program will begin in October 2018.
Each applicant will be asked to submit the following information on the EDV Entry Form:
Full name (exactly as it appears on the applicant’s passport), date of birth, gender, city of birth, country of birth, country of eligibility or chargeability for the DV program, electronically-submitted entry photograph (see www.state.gov for photo specifications), mailing address, country where applicant lives at the time of the application, phone number (optional), e mail address, highest level of education applicant has achieved as of the day of the application, marital status, number of children that are unmarried and under 21 years of age, spouse’s information (full name, date of birth, gender, city and country of birth, and an electronically submitted entry photograph), and children’s information (full names, dates of birth, gender, city and country of birth, and an electronically submitted entry photographs).