The diversity visa program known as Green Card Lottery is another procedure of permanent immigration to the United States. Regarding the statistics released by The United States Department of State, 55,000 Diversity Visas will be issued in 2021. In this lottery, individuals are randomly selected using computers without human intervention. In the following paragraphs, we aim to explain the definition of the diversity visa, how to apply for it, essential steps after getting this visa, costs, and other details.
What is the Green Card Lottery?
This program allows nationals of countries with low immigration rates to the US to apply for residency in this country. The list of qualified countries for this visa can be found on The United States Department of State’s official website. The permit is issued to nationals from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, North America, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. In North America, Mexican and Canadian nationals are not allowed to apply for this visa. The good news is that applying for the diversity visa is free as well as the contribution of authorized countries is around 7%. It means that the Green Card Lottery chance for all eligible countries is equal, and there are no specific concessions among them.
As mentioned, citizens of all countries are not allowed to apply for a diversity visa. Citizens of the countries such as Bangladesh, South Korea, Canada or Nigeria cannot participate in this draw, because over the past five years, about 5000 people from these countries immigrated to the US.
What are the requirements to apply for the lottery?
The requirements to apply for a diversity visa are simple; however, the applicant must meet all of them. Otherwise, your application will be rejected. The requirements for applying for this visa include:
- Applicants must be born in a country that is on the list of authorized countries to receive the visa. If you were not born in eligible states, but one of your parents or your spouse was born in those countries, or your parent was legally resident at the time of your birth, you can still apply for the Green Card lottery.
- Applicants must also meet specific educational and work experience requirements. Having two years of job experience over the past five years is another necessity, a job that needs at least two years of training or experience. The US Department of Labor defines five categories called “job zones” to determine work experience. In job zone 1, some jobs do not require special preparation. The job zone 2 defines occupations that require some training. In job zone 3, posts require a moderate level of development and skill. In job zone 4, it is specified the professions which need a significant level of preparation. Job zone 5 also defines jobs that require extensive and professional training. Business owners whose careers are in the fourth and fifth categories can apply for the Green Card lottery.
- Applicants must not be less than 18. If you are ahead of the household and you are over 18 years old and have young children, you can still apply for this visa.
How can you apply for this lottery?
Registration and submission for applying diversity visa are done electronically at the dvlottery.state.gov without any cost. The registration deadline is around October or November, and the visa will be issued two years after registration. During the registration period, it is allowed only one entry per person. People with more than one entry are identified and disqualified through advanced technology. Due to the online application form containing straightforward questions, it is strongly recommended that you fill out the application form yourself, not the visa consultants. At the end of the registration process, you will be given a particular confirmation number. Keeping this number is a must because it lets you know about the status of your request. Keep in mind that the number cannot be reissued, so be very careful about this. When completing the Green Card lottery application, be sure to use an updated browser because the old one may not be compatible with the online Diversity Visa system.
What questions are there in the online application form?
As mentioned earlier, the questions in this form are simple but must be answered carefully. Failure to respond correctly to the questions leads to the disqualification of the application. The items to be questioned are First name and surname, gender, country of birth, date of birth, passport details, mailing address, the country where you currently live, marital status, the number of children as well as educational degrees.
A photograph of you, your spouse, and all your children should be attached to this form. This photo must have been taken over the past six months, and its standards are the same as for US visa photos. Note that married children and children who are 21 or older at the time of submission of application will not be listed on the form. Irrespective of whether your child intends to accompany you to the United States or not, his/her name should be written. Also, keep in mind that attachment of your child’s photo is a must.
Regarding marital status, if following a court order, you are still married, but living separately, your spouse is not allowed to immigrate alongside you via a Green Card lottery. This condition is called legal separation, and you can write it on your form. Also, if you are not legally separated from your spouse, you should list him or her, even if you plan to divorce before applying for a diversity visa. Failure to properly register the marital status on the application list will certainly disqualify the applicant.
When will the results of the lottery be announced?
If you submit your application between October and November, the results will be announced in May of the next year. The status of the application is tracked through the website using your confirmation number.
What happens if you win this visa?
Keep in mind that winning the Green Card lottery is not a guarantee of your entry into the US, you need to start a new process to get a visa, which will be discussed in the following.
You first need to complete the online visa application form called Form DS-260. You can obtain this form using the confirmation number you received in the previous steps. After submitting this form, you will gain a confirmation page that you must save it because this number is required in the next steps.
Along with these steps, your documents must be accurately translated into English by a reliable translator. The translation of the documents accompanied by their originals should be submitted. It is recommended you always keep a copy of your original documents throughout the process. Required documents include:
- Original passport
- Records related to job experience and education
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate or divorce
- Court and prison records
- Military records
To find out more about other documents that may be required, please refer to the consulate where you will apply for the diversity visa.
All applicants applying for a US visa, including the Green Card lottery, should be medically examined as part of the process of getting a visa. There are forms about the vaccination and some check-ups that are completed by an allowed physician after some examination. At the end of the examination, you will receive a sealed letter that you will need on the day of the interview. In some cases, the results of the tests are provided directly by the physician to the embassy. Scheduling an appointment, as well as the cost of the tests, is the responsibility of the applicant. There is a list of authorized physicians on the official website of the United States Department of State.
It is also necessary to attend an interview organized by the US Embassy. Interview information, including the date and location of the interview, can be tracked through the Green Card Lottery website. Passport, confirmation letter of Form DS-260, medical forms, passport as well as photographs are some of the essential documents you need to bring with you during the interview. The interview will be conducted by the Consular Officer to determine if you are eligible for the diversity visa or not. You will be informed of the consequences of the decision after the interview or a few weeks later.
How much does the Green Card lottery cost?
Applying for a diversity visa in the first step is no cost, but if you are selected, you will have to pay around $ 330 to continue the process. You will also need to buy a plane ticket and pay the USCIS fee after you have received the visa. The USCIS fee is about $ 220.
Upon arrival in the United States, you should file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS. It means applying for permanent and legal residency in the United States, and its cost is nearly $1,140. Finally, after a few weeks, the Green Card will be sent to your mailing address by USCIS.
Let’s sum up …
Although applying to obtain a diversity visa is not straightforward, it cannot be denied that it is a fantastic chance. To provide complete instruction to the applicants, the content of this article was devoted to defining essential issues regarding the Green Card Lottery. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.