The DV lottery or Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and makes up to 50,000 immigrant visa available each year for nationals of countries of low U.S. immigration rates. Those immigrant visas allow the foreign individuals to enter the U.S. as Lawful Permanent Residents, i.e. green card holders. The DV lottery program requires that the applicant holds a high school diploma or at least 2 years of experience in the last five years in a qualifying occupation as defined on the Department of State website .
The applicants to the DV Lottery are required to fill out the online E-DV Entry Form available at www.dvlottery.state.gov to process their entry into the DV lottery system and keep their confirmation number. The entry registration period for any given fiscal year usually opens early October and closes early November. The results of this selection are published in the beginning of May the following year until September 30 of the selection year. With their confirmation number, the applicant will be able to verify on that same website whether they have been selected for the DV lottery since they will not receive notification of their selection.
Once selected for the DV lottery, and in order to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence, the individuals will have to establish that they:
Usually, the time frame between the actual selection and any further correspondence from the DOS may be months because the DOS works in the order of confirmation numbers. It is also possible that the individual who was selected is not called for interview because the visa did not become available according to the confirmation number. If and when a visa appointment is scheduled with your U.S. Consulate, you will have to gather additional documentation to present on the day of your appointment. The same goes if you follow the adjustment of status process.
When granted, the immigrant visa will only remain valid for a certain period of time, usually not exceeding 6 months. Thus, it is important to note that a foreign individual granted such an immigrant visa has to enter the U.S. within the six months following the visa grant to validate such visa. Though the Immigration Service does not expect the person to permanently move to the U.S. at that time, the foreign individual will need to take steps towards that goal within a reasonable period of time.
The DV lottery process can be complicated to follow and can be unforgiving if the steps are not followed properly and within the time frame set by the DOS. Thus, having an experienced immigration attorney to assist you during this DV lottery process can be crucial to your obtaining permanent residence.