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How to participate in a green card draw

Photo: depositphotos

Photo: depositphotos

The Green Card Lottery is an annual lottery introduced by the US Department of State to give approximately 50000 people a chance to obtain a US Permanent Resident Visa. Visas granted under this program are reserved for immigrants from countries that have traditionally low rates of immigration to the United States.

The deadline for submitting applications for the lottery each year is only about a month, and there are very few opportunities to correct the mistakes made when submitting documents. In fact, you may be disqualified for filing an irregular form. Therefore, it is very important to fill out the forms correctly and quickly. Here's how to apply for a green card lottery.

1. Determine capabilities

Consider whether you want a temporary or permanent entry to the United States.

Photo: depositphotos

Photo: depositphotos

The green card lottery is created only for people who want to become permanent residents of the United States. If you want to stay in the United States temporarily, for example, on vacation, visiting relatives, or for business - you need a temporary visa for a nonimmigrant stay or, if you are from a suitable country, you can apply for a visa waiver program. Citizens of Canada and Bermuda, subject to certain restrictions, do not need a visa to temporarily stay in the United States.

Consider if you are eligible for another form of immigration visa. If you have a sponsor, such as a family member or employer, or you are eligible for a special immigration visa, there may be other visa options available to you that are not eligible for the draw. Information about these options is available on the State Department website: However, you can apply for the lottery, even if you are registered for an immigrant visa in another category, as long as you meet the above lottery requirements. Therefore, even if you are applying for a different type of visa, you can also apply for a lottery.

Find out if you are a suitable country.

Photo: depositphotos

Photo: depositphotos

Each year, the State Department determines which countries can participate based on countries that have a low percentage of immigration to the United States in previous 5 years. People from countries not included in the list are not eligible to participate in the lottery. Lottery instructions provide a complete list of eligible and unacceptable countries by region. There are 3 ways to determine that you are from the right country:

  • If you were born in one of the suitable countries;
  • If your spouse was born in one of the eligible countries, while you are both named in the selected record, visas are issued for immigrants if you enter the United States at the same time;
  • If at least one of your parents was born in one of the suitable countries, until such time as none of your parents was born in your country, and none of your parents were legal residents of this country at the time of your birth (for example, they were there temporarily on vacation, on work, on study, etc.).

Determine whether your education / work experience meets the requirements. To be eligible to apply for the lottery, you must meet one of the 2 education / employment requirements. You must:

  • Have a secondary education or alternative. This means that you must complete the 12 year course in primary and secondary education, or
  • Work the 2 of the year for the last 5 of years at a job requiring 2-years of training or experience to perform. This is determined through O * Net, a database that is located on the US Department of Labor website:

Consider any factors that may prevent you from participating. Lottery is not a way to circumvent the general rules and requirements for permanent residence. If your application was made during a lottery, the factors that will prevent you from entering the United States, such as criminal activity, will be taken into account.

2. We collect and provide documents

Beware of scammers. Be careful not to fall prey to scammers involved in the application process.

  • Some applicants received emails or letters asking for money to be transferred in connection with the application. The Department of State does not provide information to applicants by e-mail or regular mail, and there is no fee for the lottery.
  • The department recommends candidates not to use a consultant or agent to help file their applications. If the applicant has someone else who prepares and submits the application, the applicant must be present during the preparation and retain the confirmation of the notification with a unique confirmation number.

Do not hesitate dates. Lottery years can be misleading as it is difficult to immediately understand what they mean. For example, the 2013 application period was from October 1, 2013 to November 2, 2013. The 2013 application deadline marked the beginning of what is called the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2015) 2015. It is called the 2015 program because successful applicants receive their visas during the 2015 fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015.

Collect everything you need.

Photo: depositphotos

Photo: depositphotos

Make sure that you have collected all the information you need to complete the application and a digital photo for each person that will be included in your application (only you, spouse, children) before you start filling out the application. Once you open the application form, you will only have 60 minutes to complete and submit it. You cannot save or load a form for later submission. If you do not complete the form within 60 minutes, you will have to start over. You will need to know the following information:

  • Your name, exactly as in the passport;
  • Your date of birth;
  • Your gender;
  • The city where you were born;
  • The country where you were born (as well as the name of the country in which you were born);
  • The country to which you can qualify to participate in the lottery;
  • Your mailing address;
  • The country where you live today;
  • Your phone number (optional);
  • Your email address - make sure you have direct access to this email;
  • The last education (highest) you received as of the day you filled out the application;
  • Your current marital status - include your spouse's name, date of birth, gender, city / city of birth and country of birth. Visa applications based on same-sex marriage are currently treated in the same way as opposite-sex spouses if the marriage was contracted in a jurisdiction where such marriages are legal.
  • Information about your children - name, date of birth, gender, city / town of birth, and country of birth for all living unmarried children under the age of 21, regardless of whether they live with you or intend to accompany or follow you, to join you when you immigrate to the United States. Your children include all living children, children legally adopted by you, and stepchildren who are unmarried and under the age of 21 on the date of your electronic application, even if you are no longer legally married to the parent of the child, and even if the child does not currently reside with you and / or will not immigrate with you.

Collect photos.

Photo: depositphotos

Photo: depositphotos

You must provide a recent photo of yourself, your spouse, and all of the children listed on your application. You do not need to include a photo of a spouse or child who is already a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, but you will not be penalized if you do. You must submit a photo for each person - group photos are not allowed. If the photos weren't taken with a digital camera, you can scan the non-digital photos into your computer, or someone else will scan them and send the images to you.

Verify photos. Go to the lottery site and click on the “Confirm Photos” button to make sure the photos you submit meet the program requirements.

Fill out the application.

Photo: depositphotos

Photo: depositphotos

The application must be submitted online through the lottery website. It can not be sent by mail. Go to and click “Start Recording”. You must complete the application form completely and accurately. Include photos that you have checked. There is an online help link on the lottery website that provides more information on how to fill out an application.

Make sure you receive a confirmation number. After completing your application, click on “submit”, but do not close this page until you receive a message confirming that your application has been submitted. This message will include a confirmation number. Print a confirmation page if possible. Don't lose your confirmation number, because you will need it for several months to check the lottery results.

3. Notification of lottery results

Know that you will not be sent a notice of the result. The State Department will not contact you to tell you whether you have been selected. In addition, the Department will not ask you to send money via regular mail or telegraph service, as part of this process. The Department may, however, send an email to you to view the Applicant’s Status Check by checking the status of the new information about your application.

Be patient. Results will not be available for several months after the end of the application period. Check the lottery website for a date when you can begin to find out if you have been selected. For example, for applications from 2013 (DV-2015), results have been available starting at noon EDT 1 in May 2014.

Check out the results. You can access the results by clicking on the Applicant Status Check on the lottery website, You will need a confirmation number, last name / surname, and year of birth to check your status. Keep in mind that if you have not been selected, you should check again at a later date, as there may be another list.

4. We get a visa

Keep up to date. If you are selected through a lottery, you only have time until the end of the current US fiscal year to apply and get your visa. For example, if you applied during the 2013 application period of the year, or DV-2015, you could find out about your status from 1 in May of 2014, and you had to apply and get a visa during the 2015 of the fiscal year, i.e. 1 October 2014 to September 30 2015.

Follow the instructions of the Applicant Status Check. When checking the status through the Applicant’s Verification Status, you will receive instructions on what to do next. Next steps will include an interview at a US embassy or consulate.

Think about your status if you are already in the United States. If you are already in the US, you can apply for American citizenship in the immigration service to change your status. To do this, you must have the right to regulate your status, and you must make sure that USCIS can complete the action on your Diversity Visa case, including the processing of documents from your spouse and children during the program’s deadlines.

Read also on ForumDaily:

You can apply for a new green card lottery from October 4

How to move to the United States: the option of work or investment

The categories of persons who receive the green card the longest

Which of the relatives can be transported to the US by a green card holder

How to get married in the USA

Marriage with an American: useful tips from the US Migration Service

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