Diversity Visa Lottery

Information for non citizens

Each year, the U.S. government gives 50,000 visas to applicants who are natives of low-admission countries.  Low-admission countries are countries where fewer than 50,000 people have immigrated during the preceding five years.  No matter where a person is currently residing, if he/she is a native of a qualifying country, as the law defines "native" under the lottery rules, he/she may enter the lottery.  The person may be living in the United States, his/her native country, or any other country in the world.

The U.S. Department of State runs the green card lottery.  Each year they publish a list of the countries whose natives are ineligible.  The list changes every year, so a person must check every year to see if they include his/her country.  Among those countries whose natives have been excluded from the lottery in past years are India, South Korea, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Vietnam, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Jamaica, Poland, Haiti, and Mexico.  However, as migration patterns change some of these countries may be included in the future.

Lottery entry rules can change every year.  The U.S. Department of State usually issues the new rules in August.  To get the latest lottery information visit the Department of State Web site.  To qualify to win the green card lottery, a person must be a native of a country with low immigrant admission over the past five years.  The person must also have at least a high school education or its equivalent or have worked in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience.