A Brief Introduction To the Diversity Visa (DV) Program


Administered by the U.S. Department of State, the Diversity Visa Program (DV Program) creates up to 50,000 immigrant visas that are awarded to randomly selected immigrants every year. It is also called the Green Card Lottery. The Immigration Act of 1990 initiated the DV program to diversify the population of immigrants in the United States. The DV program selects applicants mostly from countries with low rates of immigrants to the U.S. in the last five years.


The articles will elaborate on how the Diversity Visa Program works and how it helps immigrants obtain a green card.


Understanding the Diversity Visa Program


The DV program is called a diversity visa lottery because it entitles only randomly selected people to have the opportunity to establish permanent residence in the United States. According to data, more than 22.4 million people applied for this program in 2017. Only 50,000 lucky people get a green card or legal permanent residence in the U.S. every year.


The residents of countries that barely send immigrants to the United States have prominent chances of getting selected. The visas are distributed among geographic regions. The U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) make a final decision on the number of diversity visas issued every year. One country doesn’t get more than 7% of the total visas under the DV program.


When you’re selected for a DV visa, you legally become a permanent resident of the United States, and you would have the freedom to get a job or get married.


What are the requirements for the Diversity Visa?


For you to qualify as a diversity immigrant, you must meet the following requirements:


  • You must belong to a country which is allowed for the DV program
  • You must be at least 18 years old when applying as the head of the family
  • You must have at least high school education or equivalent or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation
  • Your application will be rejected if you don’t meet these requirements.


How to Apply or Register for a Diversity Visa?


There is a specific time of the year when you can submit your application for the diversity visa. The time of the year when applications are accepted is around October and November. For example, the applicants who wanted to register for DV-2020 Diversity Visa Program applied in 2018 between October and November.


The application process for the DV Program is simple and streamlined. You need to fill out the electronic DV entry form (E-DV) during the registration period. It’s important to apply well before the last week of the last date to avoid inconvenience.


You will provide your basic information: name, employment history, education, date of birth, marital status, etc. when completing the application form.


It’s not wise to miss opportunities like a diversity visa. So, make sure to apply when the State of Department starts accepting visa applications. You don’t have to pay any fee in order to submit the application. On top of that, it’s a simple process to complete the form.


After successfully submitting the application, the applicant receives a confirmation code. save that confirmation code for future reference. In case you lose the confirmation number, there is no way you can know whether or not you’re selected for the program.


Selected or Rejected: How to Know?


When you apply for the Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery probably between October and November, you will be able to know whether you’re selected or not by the end of May of the following year. The State of Department takes 6-7 months to process applications and announce the final results.


Visit the U.S. Department of State’s website to check your status using the confirmation number you received at the time of applying. Don’t lose the opportunity to permanently live in the United States by losing the confirmation number.


What’s the Next Step When You Get Selected?


If your entry has been selected, you will get a confirmation page providing further instructions.


It would be too early to sell your properties tender your resignation from the job or buy a ticket because acceptance of your entry doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get the visa. You have to go through a considerably lengthy process after your entry is selected. Let’s take a look at the steps to apply for the Green Card Lottery:


  1. Submit the Form DS-260

The first step is to submit Form DS-260 online to schedule the interview at the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate. Again, you need the confirmation number to access the form. A confirmation page is generated when you submit the form.


  1. Organize your documents

Before you show up for the interview, prepare all the supporting and relevant documents. You need the original copies of your documents, and a translator if your documents are not in English. It’s probably a good idea to have some extra copies of your documents in case the embassy needs them. Some of the documents required at the time of interview include:


  • Your original passport
  • Academic certificates and employment letters
  • Two photographs
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of Good Conduct
  • Marriage certificate or divorce papers
  • Military record, if applicable


If you and your family are applying together for the visa, make sure to prepare relevant documents for each member.


  1. Undergo medical examination


It’s necessary to go through a medical examination process to obtain the visa. The process might involve checkups, receiving vaccines or filling some important medical examination forms.


  1. Attend the Interview


The U.S. embassy will schedule your interview after the initial scrutiny. You must attend the interview and bring all the necessary documents along with you. At the time of your interview, you must produce the following documents:


  • Confirmation letter from the Diversity Visa website that you receive after your entry is selected
  • Passport and photographs
  • Form DS-260 confirmation letter
  • Medical examination reports
  • All the other supporting documents


During the interview, the consular might ask you some basic questions to determine whether or not you’re fit to get a diversity visa. You’re likely to get a notification in a few weeks after your interview.  


What is the Diversity Visa Lottery Fee?


Applicants don’t pay any fee when they initially apply for the DV program. However, after getting selected, you will be paying the application fee which is $330 per applicant. You might pay some extra charges for translation services. Remember, you have to pay the fee or your visa application will not be processed.


Got the Diversity Visa?


Congratulations! You are all set to conclude your property matters and plan to move to the United States. You can now book a ticket since you get the diversity visa stamped on your passport. You must pay the necessary USCIS fee ($330) after receiving the visa.


Before you enter the United States, the immigration department goes through your documents to make sure you’re traveling legally. So, don’t forget to take all of your documents along with you. The U.S. immigration officials have the power to deny your entry if you don’t have the necessary documents.


After you enter the United States, the next important step is to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS. Once you file the Form I-485, which costs $1,140, you will get a notification from USCIS about your Green Card via email.


Are there any Fraudulent DV Lottery Schemes?


There are DV visa scammers who take advantage when an applicant isn’t aware of the process. As mentioned earlier, there is no fee to submit your entry. Read and follow the instructions carefully on a trusted site to avoid scams.


If you wish to be a part of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program and move to the United States permanently, it’s advisable to take an in-depth look at the process and understand how to avoid fraudulent schemes.