Green Card Lottery

What is Green Card Lottery ?

The Green Card Lottery is an annual giveaway of about 50,000 visas conducted by the U.S. State Department under the authority of the U.S. Congress. Green Cards are immigration documents in the United States that allow foreign nationals to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

The purpose of this program is to further diversify the immigration numbers of the United States by giving certain groups of people a greater chance at entering the country.

The official name of the program is the Diversity Visa Lottery because of this. However, “Green Card Lottery” is also a very common name for the program.

How Do I Apply ?

Application to the Green Card Lottery takes place in October and November of every year. To apply, immigrants have to register online with the U.S. State Department.

What Are the Requirements ?

There are only two requirements for the Green Card Lottery:

  • Education. Registrants must have a high school degree or two years of experience in a job that required two years of training.
  • Nationality. Registrants must be from one of the countries allowed to enter into the Green Card Lottery. A list of countries excluded from the lottery is posted on the State Department’s official webpage for the Diversity Visa.
  • List of Eligible Countries for Green Card Lottery

How Do I Know If I Have Won ?

After an Applicant has registered for the lottery, they will be given a confirmation number. It is of utmost importance that this number be kept safe as there is no way to have it replaced or retrieved.

On May 1 of the year following the registration period for the Green Card Lottery, registrants can use their confirmation numbers to see whether or not they have won by logging in to the State Department’s website.

Applying for a Visa

If an applicant has won the lottery they will be given another number. This second number effectively operates as a placeholder in line. When their number comes up they may then apply for the actual visa.

The Visa will be the document that will allow them to enter the United States.

Applicants can check the progress of the lottery and whether or not they can apply for a visa yet by checking the State Department’s Visa Bulletin.

Citizenship ?

One of the requirements for United States citizenship is permanent residency. Permanent residency is the status that accompanies Green Cards.

Many people who win the Green Card Lottery choose to pursue citizenship a few years after they get their Green Cards.


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