The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, better known as the green card lottery, makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available each year to randomly selected individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
In most cases, the green card lottery is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a permanent resident of the United States. But in other cases, there are reasons not to enter the green card lottery. Reasons to reconsider before applying to the green card lottery include:
You want to visit the U.S. with a non-
You are from an ineligible country.
Again, the green card lottery is in place to help individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Therefore countries with many immigrants to the U.S. generally are not eligible. The eligible countries for the green card lottery may change each year. It’s based on which nations and which areas of the world) sent the fewest numbers of immigrants to the U.S. in proportion to the size of their populations over the previous five years.
In the most recent lottery (known as DV-2017), people from most countries were eligible. The only countries not qualified for the green card lottery were:
You are currently in the United States without status.
The green card lottery is not an amnesty program, and therefore you should not expect it to be a remedy for past immigration violations. A person who is in the U.S. without legal status that wins the green card lottery will not be permitted to apply for their residence from within the U.S. (“adjust status”) unless they had some other legal permanent residence visa petition (family- or employment-based) filed before April 30, 2001. If you return to your home country to attempt to complete the process, you will almost certainly not be allowed to return to the U.S. Depending on your time spent in the U.S. without legal status, you will be prohibited from returning for 3-10 years.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, use caution and contact an experienced immigration attorney.
CitizenPath is the online service that makes immigration forms simple. The website provides simple, step-by-step guidance through USCIS applications and petitions. The low-cost service helps to simplify the process by explaining each question and providing alerts if your answer to a question could be a problem. Most people do not need a lawyer to prepare USCIS forms, but many need a little assistance. That’s where CitizenPath can help. CitizenPath provides support for the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130), Citizenship Application (Form N-400), Green Card Renewal (Form I-90), and several other popular forms.