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Immigration Services -

Green Card Lottery

Each year, 50,000 immigrant visas are made available through a lottery to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. None of these visas are available for people who come from countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years. Anyone who is selected under this lottery will be given the opportunity to apply for permanent residence. If permanent residence is granted, then the individual will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. You will also be allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.

The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program 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 provides for a class of immigrants known as "diversity immigrants". Section 203(c) of the INA provides a maximum of up to 55,000 Diversity Visas (DV) each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The annual DV program makes permanent residence visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated random lottery drawing chooses selectees for diversity visas. The visas, however, are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the period of 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.

REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY:

To enter the DV lottery, you must be a native of one of the countries, whose natives qualify:
In most cases this means the country in which you were born. However, there are two other ways you may be able to qualify. First, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible but your spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible, you can claim your spouses country of birth provided both you and your spouse are on the selected entry, are issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously. Second, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but neither of your parents was born there or resided there at the time of your birth, you may claim nativity in one of your parents country of birth if it is a country whose natives qualify for the DV-2008 program.

To enter the lottery, you must meet either the education or work experience requirement of the DV program.

Education or Work Experience: You must have EITHER a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.

If you cannot meet these requirements, you should NOT submit an entry to the DV program.

Countries that could not participate in previous year's Lottery:

BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLUMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, PERU, POLAND, RUSSIA, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except NORTHERN IRELAND) and its dependant territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.