Diversity Visa Lottery

October 29, 2019
Beata Leja

At noon Eastern Standard Time (EST) on November 5, 2019, registration for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the “Green Card Lottery” or “Diversity Visa Lottery,” will close. This program, established by the U.S. government to encourage immigration from countries that traditionally have low U.S. immigration rates, provides 50,000 immigrant visas for individuals from certain countries that meet specified requirements. The requirements include the following:

1. Birth in a qualifying country;

      • If an individual was not born in a qualifying country, he or she may still qualify for the lottery if his or her spouse is from an eligible country OR if his or her parents were born in an eligible country and did not reside in the applicant’s birth country at the time of the applicant’s birth. For more information, see the FAQs on Page 8 of the instructions.


2. Possess a high school education or its equivalent OR two years of employment within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.

      • When determining whether an occupation requires at least two years of training or experience, the government relies upon the Department of Labor’s O*NET database.

To apply, an individual must submit an application at by noon (EST) on November 5, 2019. The Department of State will then randomly select individuals from the qualified entries and begin notifying chosen applicants on May 5, 2020 through their electronic account. Please note there is no fee for submitting a lottery application. Therefore, be wary of any phone calls, emails, or letters stating that you must submit a fee to be included in the lottery, as these are likely scams.

If chosen, the individual must then apply for permanent resident status (e.g. “green card”), and the government will review the application just as it does any other individual applying for this same status. Therefore, applicants will not be eligible if they have any issues that would prevent them from immigrating into the U.S., such as certain criminal convictions, past deportation orders, or a bar to re-entering the U.S.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for a Diversity Visa or a green card, please contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C.

The material contained in this alert does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.

© 2023 Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. All rights reserved. Information may not be reproduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C.

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