Diversity Visa Lottery (DV Lottery), also known as Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, makes 50,000 diversity visas available annually to people who wish to immigrate to the United States. Winning applications are randomly selected among entries of individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
The U.S. Department of State holds a lottery every year to determine who gets one of the 50,000 diversity visas available. All interested candidates must apply through the State Department during the online entry registration period, which typically runs from October through December of each year. The online registration period for the 2013 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2013) was open from October 4 through November 5, 2011.
If you have been selected for further processing in the Diversity Visa program, after you receive instructions, you will need to demonstrate you are eligible for a diversity immigrant visa by successfully completing the next steps. When requested to do so, you will need to complete the immigrant visa application, submit required documents and forms, pay required fees, complete a medical examination, and be interviewed by a consular officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate to demonstrate you qualify for a diversity visa. Please note that, starting with the DV lottery-2012, all instructions are provided online.
The DV program has two eligibility requirements:
- You must be from an eligible country. You must have been born in an eligible country, or have parents who were born in eligible countries and who were not residents of your country of birth when you were born. For example, your parents might have lived temporarily in an ineligible country because of their jobs. Each year, the State Department announces the countries whose natives are not eligible to apply during the specific registration period.
- You must meet an education or training requirement: a high school education or the successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education, or at least two years of work experience within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.
Please be advised that participants of the DV lottery and those who wish to participate are often targeted by scammers. For example, some businesses might misrepresent their services when it comes to offering to help people trying to enter the Diversity Visa program. They may claim to have an affiliation with the U.S. government; special expertise or a special entry form that is required for the DV program; a high success rate for DV entries; an ability to increase an entrant’s chances of being selected; or that people from ineligible countries are still “qualified” to enter. Such unscrupulous businesses may charge substantial fees to complete the application process. You might also receive fraudulent e-mails and letters from people or entities claiming to be affiliated with the United States government saying that you have won the Diversity Visa lottery and asking you to pay for your visa. Please be aware that such emails and letters are scams sent out in an attempt to extract money from people hoping to immigrate to the United States.
In order to protect yourself from DV lottery scams, please remember:
- There is no charge to enter the DV program. Once you have submitted your entry, you will receive an acknowledgment from the State Department, as well as a unique confirmation number. If you are selected, you will pay the appropriate visa application and program fees in person at the U.S. embassy or consulate on the day of your visa interview.
- Selection of entries is random. The DV selection process takes place through a computer-generated random drawing. There is no way to increase an applicant’s chance of selection.
- Submit only one entry. If you (or someone working on your behalf) submit more than one entry for you, all of your entries will be disqualified. Spouses who are eligible for the DV program can apply separately; the spouse who is not selected can apply for a Diversity Visa based on the selected spouse’s entry. Having your spouse submit his or her own application is the only legitimate way to increase your family’s chance of immigrating to the United States through the DV program.
- The State Department does not notify selected applicants by mail or by email. Beginning with the DV-2012 program, entrants are responsible for checking the status of their applications through the Entrant Status Check online at www.dvlottery.state.gov.
- You may hire an attorney to enter the DV program for you, but your chance of being selected is the same, provided that you submit your information correctly on your own.
Khavajian Law has submitted DV Lottery applications for many people from different countries who wish to immigrate to the United States. To explore your immigration options, please contact us at 855-4VISALAW.