Each year, 50,000 immigrant visas (green cards) are made available through a lottery to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. This lottery is called the "Diversity Visa" lottery, or DV Lottery.

The State Department holds the lottery every year, and chooses winners randomly from all qualified entries. Anyone who is selected under this lottery will be given the opportunity to apply for permanent residence (green card). 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.

Who can apply for DV Lottery?

  • Not all country citizens are allowed.

    Citizen from certain countries that have already sent more then 50,000 immigrants (green cards holders) in last 5 years. For DV-2012, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years:
    CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, RUSSIA, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.
    This means that you or your spouse must be a native of a country that is eligible to participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery. You may also be eligible to apply if your parent was born in a country that is eligible to participate. (The State Department will publish the names of countries that are eligible to participate before each year's lottery.)

  • Individual educational and work qualification

    You must have a high school diploma or the equivalent, defined in the United States as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR you must have 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.

Apply for DV Lottery

Before each year's lottery drawing, the Department of State will publish explicit instructions on how to apply in press releases and the Federal Register . Please follow all directions exactly. Millions of applicants are rejected each year for failure to follow the directions. Please watch the State Department Website for more information on the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. Instructions are usually posted in August, and the registration period is usually held in October each year.

  • The Department of State will only accept completed Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Forms submitted electronically at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period beginning at 12:00 pm EST (GMT-5) on October 5, 200 5 and ending at 12:00 pm EST (GMT-5) on December 4, 2005.
  • All entries by an applicant will be disqualified if more than ONE entry for the applicant is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. Applicants may prepare and submit their own entries, or have someone submit the entry for them.
  • Successfully registered entries will result in the display of a confirmation screen containing the applicant's name, date of birth, country of chargeability, and a date/time stamp. The applicant may print this confirmation screen for his/her records using the print function of their web browser.
  • Paper entries will not be accepted.
  • The entry will be disqualified if all required photos are not submitted. Recent photographs of the applicant and his/her spouse and each child under 21 years of age, including all natural children as well as all legally-adopted and stepchildren (except a child who is already a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident), even if a spouse or child no longer resides with the applicant or is not intended to immigrate under the DV program, must be submitted electronically with the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. Group or family photos will not be accepted; there must be a separate photo for each family member.

How much does the Lottery cost?

There is no fee for entering the diversity visa lottery. If you win, you must pay a fee for an immigrant visa and a separate visa lottery surcharge.

How can I find out if I won?

Only the winners will be notified by mail at the addresses listed on their applications. Winners will be sent instructions and information on fees. Being selected as a winner in the diversity visa lottery does not automatically guarantee that you will be issued a visa, even if you are qualified. The number of entries selected is greater than the number of immigrant visas available, because not everyone selected will be qualified for the visa or will choose to complete the processing. Once all 50,000 visas have been issued, the diversity visa program for the year will end.

Where can I find more information on DV Lottery?

Please watch the State Department Website for more information on the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. You may also call the State Department's Visa Lottery Information Center at 1-900-884-8840 for more information. Please note: There is a charge for each call. You may also contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A listing of U.S. Embassies and Consulates can be found at the State Department Website.

Note: stay away from the fraud website and services claiming to get you green card through DV lottery. Please see Department of State Warning on Fraudulent/Impostor DV Lottery Websites .