Run by the US State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Diversity Visa Lottery is a program that offers up to 50,000 permanent resident visas (also known as green cards) to nationals of countries with low immigration rates to the United States.
The Diversity Visa Program, is run each year and as the name suggests was created in the Immigration Act of 1990 to add diversity to the US population.
Only nationals of countries with low immigration rates in the previous five years are eligible to participate in the lottery and as such, the list of eligible countries changes each year based on immigration rates to the US.
For the latest lottery period, DV-2020, nationals of the following countries were ineligible to participate in the program because they have had more than 50,000 nationals immigrate to the United States over the last five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
The registration period runs between October and November of each year. Registration for the lottery is completed online only (https://dvlottery.state.gov) and is completely free. Participants are urged not to use third parties to register.
The latest registration period (DV-2020) run between October 3rd and November 6th, 2018, the results of which became available online starting on May 7th, 2019.
Winners of DV-2020 who met the eligibility criteria will start migrating to the US starting in January, 2020 as long as they also pass the required background checks and interviews in their home countries.
The program allows winners to extend the benefit and migrated to the US along with their spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old.
The minimum requirements to participate include a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of qualifying work experience.
Those who do not meet this requirement are urged not to participate in the lottery.
“You should not continue with your DV application if you do not meet the qualifying education or work experience requirements explained below.
You will not be issued a visa, and any fees you pay will not be refunded,” reads a message on the State Department’s website.
Winners of the lottery who also pass background checks and interviews at US consulates are granted visas to migrated to the United States as permanent residents.
They then become eligible to become US citizens after five years as long as they meet the necessary requirements of naturalization.
If you participated in DV-2020, you can check if you are winner at this link: https://dvlottery.state.gov.
If you did not participate in last year’s drawing or participated but did not win, next open registration period will run between October and November, 2019.
The exact dates will be announced later by the State Department.