diversity visa dv lottery

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery is a congressionally-mandated immigration program that allows people from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States to apply for a diversity visa. Up to 55,000 diversity visas are available each fiscal year through the DV lottery.

The lottery aims to diversify the immigrant population in the United States by providing visas to applicants from countries that are underrepresented among immigrant groups already in the US. The program helps ensure that potential immigrants from all parts of the world have an opportunity to legally immigrate to the United States.

Background of the DV Lottery Program

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program was created through the Immigration Act of 1990. The legislation established a new class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” who would be issued visas through a lottery system.

The first diversity visa lottery was held in fiscal year 1995. Since then, 50,000 diversity visas have been available every fiscal year, increasing to 55,000 in fiscal year 2023. Over the history of the program, well over one million diversity visas have been issued to applicants from around the world.

Eligibility for the DV Lottery

There are several requirements that applicants must meet to be eligible for a diversity visa through the lottery:

– Native of an eligible country – The applicant must have been born in an eligible country. Countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the US over the past 5 years are not eligible.

– Education/work experience – Applicants must have either a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of recent work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience.

– Admissibility to the United States – Applicants must meet criteria regarding health, character, and security standards to be admissible to the US as immigrants.

– Valid entry – Applicants must submit a valid entry during the specified registration period. Only one entry is allowed per person during each registration period.

The DV Lottery Application Process

Each fiscal year, the DV lottery registration opens in October and closes in November, offering a 30-day period to submit entries. The entry form requests basic biographical information and must be submitted electronically through the official lottery website.

Applicants are selected through a computer-generated random lottery drawing. In May of the following year, selectees are notified and asked to complete an application with more detailed information to proceed further.

Selectees undergo interviews and background checks before being issued a diversity visa. If approved, the visa allows them to legally immigrate to the US as a permanent resident.

Benefits of Winning the DV Lottery

Being selected in the diversity visa lottery can be a life-changing opportunity, offering several major benefits:

– Opportunity to immigrate – Winning the lottery provides the chance to legally immigrate for applicants who may otherwise have difficulty doing so.

– Permanent resident status – Diversity visa recipients are granted permanent resident status upon admission to the US, allowing them to live and work permanently.

– Ability to sponsor family – As permanent residents, diversity visa immigrants can later sponsor family members to join them in the US.

– Pathway to citizenship – After living in the US for several years, diversity immigrants can apply for US citizenship.

While the odds of being selected are low, the diversity visa lottery presents a rewarding chance for immigration that changes lives. With only 55,000 visas available each year, the lottery provides a valuable immigration opportunity for thousands hoping to start a new life in the United States.


The Diversity Visa Lottery serves the important purpose of promoting immigration from underrepresented nations across the globe. While eligibility is limited and the odds of winning low, the lottery transforms dreams into reality for many hoping for a chance to legally immigrate to the United States. The program brings the diversity and promise of immigration to life for tens of thousands of people each year.


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