The green card lottery, or the Diversity Immigrant Visa program
, is a federally mandated lottery program for receiving a green card. The lottery happens every year and offers some 55,000 permanent resident visas to people wishing to immigrate from countries which are determined to have a low rate of immigration to the US. Obtaining this green card and status is the first step in becoming a full fledged US citizen.
If you were born in a country that immigrated more than 50,000 people to the US in the last five years than you are not eligible for the green card lottery. For instance, people wishing to immigrate from the following countries are ineligible under the diversity visa: United Kingdom, South Korea, El Salvador, Canada, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam.
Exceptions to the Diversity Requirements
Many countries like Cuba, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran and Burma are not on the ineligible list even though they have immigrated more than 50,000 people to the USA in the last 5 years. This is because the rule only applies to people who have immigrated through the family-sponsored or employment categories. It does not refer to individuals who have entered the country under refugee or asylum status.
Understanding The Distribution Process
There is a science to how these green card lottery visas are distributed. They are distributed on a regional basis, with each country that sends fewer immigrants to the USA in the past five years receiving more diversity green cards. Generally speaking, Africa and Europe receive the majority of diversity visas and no single country can receive more than 7 percent of the total number of visas allowed.
More winners are selected in the lottery than there are visas available. By doing this, the green card process allows for those that don’t end up qualifying to be included. Meaning that being selected for the lottery does not in anyway guarantee an immigrant visa to the US. To be selected you must have at least a high school diploma (or its equivalent) and also have at least two years of work experience in a field that requires a minimum of two years training. Also, this accounts for people who don’t follow up on their application.
The diversity lottery instructions very explicitly state that all entries received within each region during the entry period will have an equal chance of winning. Statistically, this has been shown to not be the case and is one reason having help through the process, like the all inclusive services provided through these links is essential to guaranteeing your entry to the American Dream. For instance, countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt and Ethiopia are much less likely to qualify than some of their African counterparts.
The Inherent Risks of Entering the Green Card Lottery Process
Entering into the diversity lottery, according to the US Department of State, is the same thing as petitioning the US Government for immigration. This is another reason it is so important to have valuable help on this long and often times confusing process. By just entering the lottery some individuals have experienced difficulties in obtaining a nonimmigrant visa for more short term needs. This problem of dual intent will often occur when an applicant is sending the Government mixed messages about non immigrant status and also the desire to obtain a green card. Having somebody in your corner that is familiar with the process is the most priceless resource you can have.
The US Government, since the 9/11 attacks, has made several efforts to eliminate the green card lottery. While none has succeeded in abolishing funds for the diversity lottery, the push to do so has been gaining momentum in the past half decade. This is another reason that it is just so important to have quality help in this process and to get the balling soon soon and correctly. The process may seem daunting but with the right help it’s not too far out of reach.