Green Card Through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program

Administered by the Department of Sate (DOS), the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) is one of four ways a foreign national may seek permanent residence in the United States (the other three are through 1) a family member, 2) employment and 3) asylum).  The DV program makes available up to 50,000 immigrant visas annually to individuals, selected randomly from among all entries from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.  The government’s fiscal year (FY) is from October 1 to September 30.

The submission of names into the DV program for the lottery drawing begins on October 1 and ends on November 30 the year before the effective fiscal year, and DOS begins announcing the selected names on May 1 the following year.  For example, in order to be eligible for selection for the DV program in FY 2015, the entries must have been entered between October 1 to November 2, 2013, and those selected will receive notice beginning May 1 and after.

The entries are submitted electronically.  Those who are selected will be provided instructions on how and when to apply for their immigrant visas.  Most will be residing outside the U.S. when they learn they have been selected for the DV program.  A smaller number will already be in the U.S.

In general, those who have been selected for the DV program must apply for and get approved their green card/visa within the fiscal year of the program for which they were selected.  For example,those who have been selected for 2015 DV must apply for and get approved for the green card (or visa if they are abroad) between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015.  There is no carry over.

Here are some helpful government links regarding the Diversity Visa Program:

USCIS Policy Memo: click here

Diversity Visa Lottery 2015 instructions:  click here

Visa Bulletin: click here and then select current month

BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) case regarding pending adjustment asylum application: click here