The Green Card Lottery is an immigration diversity program run by the United States Department of State every year.
During the course of the program 50,000 immigrants are given Green Cards annually all around the world.
Green Cards are immigration documents that prove that a U.S. immigrant is legally allowed to live and work in the U.S. for as long as they so choose. Green Card holders are technically called lawful permanent residents by the U.S. government.
Since the point of this program is to continue and provide for diversity within U.S. immigration, some restrictions are placed on the lottery.
Comparatively, the Green Card Lottery has nowhere near the restrictions that other immigration programs must meet. However, it does have two, rather strict, requirements. The first being that the applicant must have an adequate education to join the workforce once in the U.S. The second being that the applicant must be from an eligible country.
Eligible countries are selected based on their immigration numbers to the United States. Countries with high rates of immigration are not included in the eligibility list.
The government considers 50,000 immigration visas granted to the nationals of one country counts as a high level of immigration. These countries comprise the list of Designated Countries of Origin.
It should be noted that there are some places which are considered to be eligible even though they technically belong to an ineligible country. This will be discussed in greater detail here:
There is only one African country which is not eligible for the 2015 Green Card Lottery: Nigeria. Due to a large number of visas granted to the area and rampant fraudulent applications in previous lotteries, Nigeria has been excluded from this round of Green Cards.
The following Asian countries are excluded from the lottery: Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam. Even though Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau are part of China, they remain eligible for the Green Card Lottery.
Only one North American country is eligible for the Green Card Lottery: The Bahamas.
South America, Central America and the Caribbean are grouped together into one region for the Green Card Lottery. Brazil, Colombia, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and Peru are all ineligible for the Green Card Lottery.