Lottery

Officially called the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program), the “green card” lottery makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.

To enter the lottery, you must apply during the entry time.  The Department of State administers the lottery and has detailed instructions for entry and eligibility requirements.

Most lottery winners reside outside the U.S. and immigrate through consular processing and issuance of an immigrant visa. Some are residing in the United States in a nonimmigrant or other legal status. These winners residing inside the U.S. can apply to adjust status in the U.S.

For visa availability, check the latest month’s Department of State Visa Bulletin. Section B contains a chart showing the current month’s visa availability in the Diversity Immigrant category. The chart shows when the Diversity Immigrant cut-off is met. When the cut-off is met, visas will be available in that month for the applicants with Diversity Immigrant lottery rank numbers below the specified cut-off numbers for their geographic areas.

Section C contains a chart showing the Diversity Immigrant category rank cut-offs for the following month, which represents the advance notification of Diversity Immigrant visa availability. As soon as a monthly Visa Bulletin is published, anyone with a lower rank number than the rank cut-off number shown in Section C is eligible to file for adjustment of status. This provides lottery winners the opportunity to file for adjustment of status up to six or seven weeks before a visa number can actually be allocated. This gives USCIS additional time to determine your eligibility for adjustment of status before the end of the fiscal year.

A Diversity Immigrant-based adjustment application cannot be adjudicated until a visa can be allocated, as indicated in the Visa Bulletin’s current Diversity Immigrant rank cut-offs for a particular month.

The adjustment of status process for diversity visa winners must be completed by September 30 of the fiscal year the lottery pertains to. Visas cannot be carried over to the next fiscal year.

 

Sources: USCIS.gov, Travel.state.gov