The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program was established by Congress in 1990 to allocate up to 55,000 visas annually to foreign applicants from countries with low immigration rates to the United States. Through a computerized system, entries are randomly selected, and those chosen receive Diversity Visas (DVs), enabling them and their immediate families (spouses and unmarried children under 21) to immigrate to the U.S.
The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State, and applicants are required to submit their applications electronically on the Diversity Visa Lottery page of the State Department's website. The entry period typically occurs between October and December each year, and there is no fee for submitting an entry application. Winners are notified by mail, and all applicants can check their entry status on the State Department's Diversity Visa website.
Countries are divided into six geographic regions, and within each region, every applicant has an equal chance of winning. However, regions with lower immigration rates to the U.S. are allocated more visas.
To qualify for the Diversity Visa Lottery:
Applicants must be citizens of a country that has sent fewer than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years. A list of eligible countries can be found in the Diversity Visa Lottery Instructions for each year. Additionally, applicants must either have a high school education or its equivalent (completing 12 years of elementary and secondary education) or possess at least two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.
It is crucial to carefully read the Lottery Instructions before applying, as the requirements and application materials are stringent and complex.