Category Archives: Diversity Visa Lottery

Diversity Visa Lottery Officially Open!

enter to winHave you entered the 2014 visa lottery yet? (Officially called DV-2016, based on the year in which visas will actually be awarded.) It’s one of the best opportunities that people with no previous ties to the United States (such as a family member or a job offer) have to get a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence).

Registration just began, on October 1, 2014. It’s open to the same group of countries as last year — which means most of the countries in the world — with the exception of citizens of the following, who are already considered to be over-represented in U.S. immigration numbers (based on recent entry statistics) and are therefore NOT ELIGIBLE:

  • CHINA (mainland-born)
  • HAITI,
  • PERU
  • UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and

You must, however, meet certain educational and other requirements in order to apply. See the State Department’s instructions for details. ¬†Also realize that “winning” the lottery — that is, having your name selected — does not guarantee you a U.S. green card. In fact, the U.S. government always selects more names than it can actually grant green cards to, and only the applicants who can move through the system quickly and efficiently will succeed. See the “Diversity Visa Lottery Green Cards” page of Nolo’s website for details. And good luck!

With Immigration Reform Comatose, At Least the Visa Lottery Remains!

enter to winAll reports seem to say that Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) — which looked to be as close to becoming a reality as any similar efforts have in recent years — hit a brick wall as soon as it was passed from the Senate to the House of Representatives. (Are we surprised?) The current forecast for action on the bill is “none.” Although that will leave many people disappointed — including many with close ties to the U.S., as in already living, working, and raising families here — there’s an odd silver lining.

A random assortment of people from around the world with little or no previous connection to the U.S. will continue to receive U.S. green cards through the diversity visa lottery, which CIR had put on the chopping block! Well, perhaps not completely random. Despite the “lottery” moniker, applicants must show that they have achieved a certain level of education. And they may need the wherewithal to hire an attorney to help complete the process if they win, because the State Department always declares more “winners” than it actually has visas, and it becomes a race to finish the process before the end of the relevant fiscal year. See the articles on the “Diversity Visa Lottery Green Cards” page of Nolo’s website for details — and to help avoid the eventual scams that will pop up as they do every year.

By the way, there’s another bright spot in this year’s lottery. Same-sex spouses will now be able to accompany the winners and receive a U.S. green card, provided their marriage is legally recognized in the country or jurisdiction where it took place.

Get ready: The application period opens October 1!

Lottery Winners in Same-Sex Marriages: Don’t Be Deterred by Bad Advice!

If you won this year’s Diversity Visa lottery, and are working on getting a green card or immigrant visa to the U.S., and you’re part of a same-sex couple, you were probably excited to hear of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision. By overturning a major portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), this cleared the way for same-sex couples in legally recognized marriages (whether they occurred in the U.S. or another country) to enjoy immigration as well as other benefits.

There’s just one problem: The U.S. State Department and other immigration authorities have been classically slow to catch on. Even after the Windsor decision, some of them were reportedly advising would-be Diversity Visa applicants that no, their same-sex marriages don’t count, and they can’t bring their spouses to the United States.

That’s wrong advice. The government memos are supposedly flying, and hopefully by now DV visa applicants are not being steered in the wrong direction. But if you gave up on bringing your same-sex partner before, it’s time for some quick action now (and ideally a call to an attorney). Even if you’re not married yet, it’s not too late, as described in, “Won the Diversity Visa Lottery: Can I marry my same-sex partner and bring her to the U.S.?

Checked Your Diversity Visa Lottery Results Yet?

Tickets in a basketThe results of the “DV-2014” Diversity Visa Lottery (also called the “Green Card Lottery”) are now available, as of May 1, 2013, from the U.S. State Department. Winners will not receive any calls, emails, or other communications advising them — they need to go online and check the results themselves. (In fact, if you’ve received any calls or emails claiming you’ve won, it’s probably a scam, so watch out!)

For detailed instructions on finding out whether you have won, see the “How Will You Know If You Have Been Selected for the DV Lottery?” article on Nolo’s website. And if you have won, you’ll need to act quickly, so be sure to read, “How to Read the Diversity Visa Lottery Cutoff Numbers on the DOS Visa Bulletin” and other articles on the “Diversity Visa Lottery Green Cards” page of the Nolo website.

If you didn’t win this time around, I’d like to wish you better luck next year — except that there may not be a next year. The current, Senate version of proposed comprehensive immigration reform would eliminate the DV lottery in favor of other grounds of immigration eligibility.


Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Now Open!

Today’s the day (October 2, 2012) to enter the annual Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2014)! That is, if you’re from one of the eligible countries and have the proper educational or work background, as described in “Do You Meet the Education or Work Experience Requirements of the Diversity Visa Program?

Entries can be made only online, via the State Department’s lottery page. The final day for registering is November 3, 2012 at noon Eastern time.

Registration is free, so don’t be fooled by scam artists wanting to charge money to help you enter! Also be sure to read the articles on the “Diversity Visa Lottery Green Cards” page of Nolo’s website, which will not only provide further information on this topic in plain English, but help you understand what happens if your name is drawn as a “winner.” You’ll need to act quickly in order to turn that winning slot into an actual green card.

Lottery-Eligible Countries for 2012 Registration (DV-2014) Announced

Wondering whether you can enter the United States green card (diversity visa) lottery this year? The U.S. Department of State (DOS) just published the instructions, which includes this year’s list of eligible and non-eligible countries. As you may know, the visa lottery is open only to natives of countries whose citizens are the least represented when it comes to U.S. immigration, so the list changes annually.

For DV-2014, here’s the list of countries whose natives are not eligible to register:

CHINA (mainland-born)
UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and

If you don’t see your country’s name on the list, and you meet the other eligibility requirements (described at “Winning a Green Card Through the Visa Lottery“), you are free to submit a registration, which you can do between noon on October 2, 2012, and noon on Saturday, November 3, 2012. (These are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).) Last year’s country list included Guatemala, but not this year’s!

Diversity Visa Lottery Entrants: Get Ready for May 1 Results

If you submitted an entry for the DV-2013 lottery (meaning you would have done so in the fall of 2011), tomorrow, May 1, 2012, is when you’ll be able to find out the results. They won’t be announced publicly: You will need to go to the State Department’s Electronic Diversity Visa website and enter your confirmation number, name, and year of birth.

If you win, congratulations — but realize that you are only at the beginning of the green card application process. You will need to submit various forms and documents, and prove that you are not inadmissible to the U.S. (for health, security, or financial reasons), and do so before the visas run out. (For more on inadmissibility, see Inadmissibility: When the U.S. Can Keep You Out.)

It might be worth your while to hire an experienced immigration attorney to help with this part of the process.