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Greencards > Lottery

DIVERSITY (LOTTERY) IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM
DIVERSITY VISA (GREEN CARD LOTTERY) PROGRAM

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States congressionally-mandated lottery program for receiving a United States Permanent Resident Card. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery. The lottery is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 to provide for a new class of immigrants known as "diversity immigrants" (DV immigrants). The Act makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Those born in any territory that has sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years are not eligible to receive a diversity visa. For DV-2011, natives of the following nations are ineligible: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam [1]. The entry period to apply for the DV-2011 was from October 2, 2009 to November 30, 2009.

The first program was DV-1995, and the following 13 countries were ineligible from the start: Canada, China (mainland), Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Changes to the list of countries over the years include the following:

  • DV-1996: Colombia now ineligible.

  • DV-1998: Poland now ineligible.

  • DV-2002: Poland and Taiwan now eligible, Pakistan ineligible.

  • DV-2004: East Timor added, eligible.

  • DV-2005: Russia now ineligible.

  • DV-2007: Poland again ineligible.

  • DV-2008: Brazil and Peru now ineligible; Serbia and Montenegro listed separately, both eligible.

  • DV-2009: Ecuador and Guatemala now ineligible.

  • DV-2010: Russia now eligible; Kosovo added, eligible.

  • DV-2011: No changes.

The visas are distributed on a regional basis, with each region sending fewer immigrants to the US in the previous 5 years receiving more diversity visas. Currently, Africa and Europe receive about 80% of the visas in the lottery.[4] In addition, no single country can receive more than 7% of the total number of visas (3,500).

In order to allow for those who do not pursue immigrant visas, more 'winners' are selected in the lottery than there are visas available. Hence being selected from the lottery does not guarantee an immigrant visa to the U.S. To receive a diversity visa and immigrate to the United States, 'winners' must meet all eligibility requirements under U.S. law. Requirements include at least a high school diploma, or its equivalent, or two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years training.

Winning chances

All applicants from the same region have the same chance of winning the lottery. Probability estimates can be made based on data released for DV-2008

Region

Applicants (%)
Applicants
(approximate)
Winners
Winning chance
(estimate) 
Africa
41%
2,624,000
52,824
2.01%
Asia
38%
2,432,000
14,142
0.58%
Europe
19%
1,216,000
26,149
2.15%
North America
17
Oceania
1,713
South and Central America and the Caribbean
2%
128,000
1,845
1.44%
Total
100%
6,400,000
96,690
1.51%

For more information about how to apply for the Diversity Visa program, refer to the following weblink with the US Dept. of State:

http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1318.html

 

 

 

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