The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery, is a United States government-sponsored program that makes available up to 50,000 immigrant visas annually. It was established with the Immigration Act of 1990 and is drawn from random selection among all entries from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. We discuss the lottery and what to do if selected here.
What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery, is a United States government-sponsored program that makes available up to 50,000 immigrant visas annually. It was established with the Immigration Act of 1990 and is drawn from random selection among all entries from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
The program aims to diversify the immigrant population in the United States by selecting applicants mostly from countries with low numbers of immigrants in the previous five years. To be eligible, applicants must have a high-school education or its equivalent, or two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience in the past five years.
Winners of the lottery are chosen by a computer-generated random drawing, and the visas are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration. Also, no visas are given to countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years. Once selected, the winners must meet all eligibility requirements under U.S. immigration law. These may include health, criminal, and security checks. Winning the lottery doesn’t guarantee a visa, but it does allow the individual to apply for one.
I was selected in the Diversity Visa Lottery, now What?
Congratulations on being selected for the Diversity Visa Lottery! Here are the general steps you’ll need to take after selection:
- Confirm Your Selection: Make sure you confirm your selection by logging into the DV Lottery site with your unique confirmation number.
- Complete the Online Visa Application (DS-260): After your selection, you need to complete the DS-260 form, an online immigrant visa application. You can access it through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
- Prepare for an Interview: After completing the DS-260 form, you will be scheduled for an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. The U.S. State Department will provide you with a specific date and time.
- Gather Required Documents: Before the interview, gather all the required documents. This may include but is not limited to:
- Passports for each applicant
- Two 2×2 inch photographs for each applicant
- Birth certificates
- Medical examination and vaccination documents
- Court and criminal records, if applicable
- Financial support evidence
- Attend the Medical Examination: You will need to complete a medical examination by an approved doctor. You will have to bring the results of the medical examination to the interview.
- Attend the Interview: At the scheduled time, attend the visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. All family members who plan to immigrate with you should also attend.
- Visa Approval and Fees: If your visa is approved, you may need to pay a USCIS Immigrant Fee. You will be given instructions on how and when to pay this fee.
- Immigrate to the U.S.: If your visa is approved and you’ve paid all necessary fees, you’ll receive a visa packet. Do not open this packet. You’ll present it to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer when you arrive in the United States.
Remember, being selected in the Diversity Visa Lottery doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive a visa. It means you’re eligible to apply for the Diversity Visa. Final eligibility is determined at the interview stage. Also, it’s important to act quickly after being selected, as there are more individuals selected in the lottery than there are visas available. Visas are granted in the order that the applications are processed, and the fiscal year has a limited number. As rules and processes may vary and change over time, it’s advisable to check the latest information and guidelines from the official U.S. State Department or embassy websites.