US Diversity Visa Lottery

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States congressionally-mandated lottery program for receiving a United States Permanent Resident Card. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery.


The Congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes available 50,000 diversity visas (DV) annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The visas are distributed on a regional basis, with each region sending fewer immigrants to the US in the previous 5 years receiving more diversity visas. Currently, Africa and Europe receive about 80% of the visas in the lottery. In addition, no single country can receive more than 7% of the total number of visas (3,500). In order to allow for those who do not pursue immigrant visas, and for the applicants who do not qualify, more ‘winners’ are selected in the lottery than there are visas available. Hence being selected from the lottery does not guarantee an immigrant visa to the U.S. To receive a diversity visa and immigrate to the United States, ‘winners’ must meet all eligibility requirements under U.S. law to qualify, and must be interviewed before the 50,000 green cards are distributed. Requirements include at least a high school diploma, or its equivalent, or two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years training. Over 13.6 million applications for the 2008 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2010) were submitted — an increase of 4.5 million, or 50%, from the 9.1 million applications submitted in the 2007 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2009). Starting with the DV-2008, several questions and options for answers have been added. Applicants are now required to provide information, such as the country where they currently live and their highest level of education achieved, in the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form).


DV Lottery Online Registration

The DV Lottery registration period is scheduled to start in October each year. Entrants will apply on Form DS-5501, Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form, available only during the DV open registration period. In October please visit the following US Dept of State DV Lottery registration page to fill out the DS-5501 form (which registers you in the DV lottery).


DV Lottery Status Check

DV Lottery Status Check is available. Entrants (who previously completed online DV entry through the official website at are able to check the status of their entry through the E-DV website at Entrants need to use their own confirmation page information from the time of their entry, to check the status to find out if their Diversity Visa Lottery entry was or was not selected. To review applicable instructions for DV entrants, see the US Diversity Visa Instructions.


Lottery Winner Notification

Diversity Visa lottery applicants selected are notified by mail between May and July of the next year, following DV Online entry. Lottery entrants selected are provided further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the U.S. Those selected in the random drawing are NOT notified by email. Those individuals NOT selected will NOT receive any notification. The Diversity Visa Lottery Instructions “Selection of Applicants” section provides information about the DV timeframe and process.

Qualifying Occupations

The law and regulations require that every diversity visa entrant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or have, within the past five years, two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years’ training or experience. To learn more about qualifying occupations, see the Diversity Visa Process page.


Additional Resources

US Travel State


Source: Visas Journey

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