U.S. Green Card Lottery


Have you ever heard someone comment that they or someone they know was selected among the winners of the United States’ Diversity Visa Lottery Program, popularly known as the Green Card Lottery? You were probably stunned and thought “Some people are just lucky. Jackpot!” right?

And with good reason: The prize of this lottery is not in money, but their winners get totally happy because they know they have come a long way in regards to meeting their basic needs resolved in the near future since they now they’ll be able to live and work legally in the United States. In this article, we will tell you what the Diversity Visa Lottery Program consists of and what are the requirements to participate in it.

What is the Green Card Lottery?

The term Green Card Lottery refers to a free immigration process whereby between October and November of each year, 50,000 individuals from countries that do not send a large number of immigrants to the United States are randomly selected by computer to become Lawful Permanent Residents of this country, also known as Green Card Holders, along with their immediate relatives. As a result of having a Green Card, these people can live and work in the United States.

What are the requirements to participate in the Green Card Lottery?

In order to participate in the Green Card Lottery, you must first be eligible and for this, you must at least meet two fundamental requirements:

 1. Your country of birth  must be among those who participate in the Green Card Lottery

You must have been born in a country that has sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the United States during the past five years. Since there are nations like Canada and China that year after year exceeds this amount their citizens have never participated in the Green Card Lottery.

With regard to the other countries, it is necessary to check if yours, in particular, is included in the respective list during the year in which you decide to participate in the program. Now, if that is not the case, you may still be able to participate in the Green Card Lottery if you are in one of the situations described below

How to participate in the Green Card Lottery if your country of birth is not among those who participate in the Green Card Lottery

If your country of birth is not among those who participate in the Green Card Lottery, you still have the possibility to participate in it if:

  1. None of your parents is a resident of the country in which you were born, so you could choose the country of birth of either of them to participate in the program, or
  2. On the other hand, you could choose your spouse’s birth country on your application, in case they were born in an eligible country.

2. You must have a High-School degree

In order to participate in the Green Card Lottery, you must be a High-School Graduate or have accumulated at least two years of experience during the last five years in a profession that requires training that lasts at least two years, according to the guidelines established by the US Department of Labor.

 3. General admission requirements

To comply with the above is not enough to participate in the Green Card Lottery, it is also necessary that, as it is required of any person applying for a US visa, you are not in any of the cases of inadmissibility established by the USCIS, such as bearing certain health conditions, or having committed specific crimes.

Finally, it should be noted that the fact of being married or, in general, having family ties with a US citizen does not prevent you per se to participate in the Green Card Lottery. However, we must inform you that you are at a disadvantage in this regard with respect to people who do not have such family ties. That is, they have a higher probability than you of being chosen among the winners of the program, and the reason for this is precise that you could apply for a Family-Based Visa, unlike other participants whose only way to obtain a United States visa of any kind would be to win the Green Card Lottery.

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If you need to advise on your eligibility to participate in the Diversity Visa lottery or on any subject related to immigrating to the United States feel free to contact us.

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