USA Visa Lottery – Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

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The US Visa Lottery is a program that awards up to 50,000 immigrant visas (Green Cards) each year to people from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. The lottery is a chance for you to get a Green Card and permanent residence in the U.S., which means that you can live, work, and study in the U.S. indefinitely, and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.

The lottery is free and open to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria, regardless of their age, education, occupation, or marital status. However, the lottery is also very competitive and random, as millions of people apply each year, but only a few are selected. Therefore, you need to know how the lottery works, how to apply for it, and how to increase your chances of success. In this article, we will guide you through the process of applying for the US Visa Lottery and getting a Green Card and permanent residence in the U.S. 

Eligibility and Application Process

The US Visa Lottery, also known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program, is a program that awards up to 50,000 immigrant visas (Green Cards) each year to people from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. The lottery is a chance for you to get a Green Card and permanent residence in the U.S., which means that you can live, work, and study in the U.S. indefinitely, and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. The lottery is free and open to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria, regardless of their age, education, occupation, or marital status. However, the lottery is also very competitive and random, as millions of people apply each year, but only a few are selected. Therefore, you need to know how the lottery works, how to apply for it, and how to increase your chances of success.

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To be eligible for the US Visa Lottery, you need to meet two main criteria: nationality and education or work experience. These criteria are explained below

Nationality:

You must be a citizen of a country that is eligible for the lottery. The list of eligible countries changes every year, based on the immigration statistics of the previous five years. For example, for the DV-2025 lottery, the following countries are not eligible: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. However, there are some exceptions and special rules for certain regions and countries, such as Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Northern Ireland. 

Education or work experience: 

You must have either a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of qualifying work experience in the past five years. A high school education or its equivalent means that you have completed 12 years of formal schooling, starting from primary school. A qualifying work experience means that you have worked in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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If you meet these two criteria, you can apply for the US Visa Lottery online during the designated registration period. The registration period usually lasts for about a month, between October and November of each year. For example, for the DV-2025 lottery, the registration period was from October 4, 2023, to November 7, 2023. You should check the official website for the exact dates and times of the registration period each year.

To Apply for the US Visa Lottery Online

  • Visit the official Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website and click on the “Begin Entry” button.
  • Fill out the online application form with your personal and biographical information, such as your name, date of birth, gender, country of birth, country of eligibility, email address, phone number, mailing address, marital status, number and details of children, and passport information. 
  • Submit your application and receive a confirmation number. You should print or save your confirmation number, as you will need it to check the status of your entry online. 

Once you have submitted your application, you have completed the first step of the USA Visa Lottery. You do not need to pay any fee or submit any documents at this stage. You just need to wait for the results of the lottery, which are usually announced in May of the following year. The results are available online on the E-DV website, and you can check them using your confirmation number. The U.S. Department of State does not send any emails or letters to notify the applicants of the results, so you should beware of any scams or frauds that claim to do so.

Visa issuance and travel to the U.S.

After you have applied for a visa online, prepared for the visa interview and the medical exam, paid the visa fees, and submitted the documents, you need to wait for the outcome of your visa application. The outcome can be one of the following:

  • Approved: This means that your visa application has been accepted and you are eligible to travel to the U.S. You will receive a visa packet that contains your passport with the visa stamped on it, your medical exam results, and other documents. You should not open the visa packet, as it will be inspected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer when you arrive in the U.S.
  • Denied: This means that your visa application has been rejected and you are not eligible to travel to the U.S. You will receive a letter that explains the reasons for the denial and your options to appeal or reapply. You should read the letter carefully and understand why your application was denied. 
  • Pending: This means that your visa application is still being processed and you have not received a decision yet. You may receive a request for more information or documents, such as a security check, a background check, or an administrative processing. 

If your visa application is approved, you can start preparing for your travel to the U.S. Here are some things that you should do before you depart:

  • Get your visa stamped
  • Book your flight
  • Prepare for your arrival

You should pack your essential documents and belongings for your trip to the U.S. You should bring the following documents with you:

  • Your passport
  • Your visa packet or your confirmation page
  • Medical exam results
  • Vaccination record
  • Quarantine plan
  • Any other documents that the embassy or consulate or the CBP officer may ask for

Rights and responsibilities of Green Card Holders

After you have received your visa and traveled to the U.S., you will become a Green Card holder and a permanent resident of the U.S. This means that you have the right to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely, and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. However, it also means that you have certain responsibilities and obligations that you need to fulfill and respect.

As a Green Card holder and a permanent resident, you have the following rights:

  • You have the right to work in the U.S. at any legal work of your qualification and choosing, except for some jobs that are restricted to U.S. citizens for security reasons. You can also start your own business or invest in a U.S. company. You do not need a work permit or an employer sponsorship to work in the U.S.
  • You have the right to travel within and outside the U.S. freely, as long as you do not abandon your permanent residence in the U.S. You can use your Green Card as a valid travel document to re-enter the U.S. after a temporary trip abroad. However, if you plan to travel outside the U.S. for more than six months, you may need to apply for a re-entry permit to avoid losing your status. You can also apply for a U.S. passport after becoming a U.S. citizen.
  • You have the right to access public education and health care in the U.S., as well as other social services and benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, depending on your eligibility and income. You can also apply for federal financial aid for higher education, such as grants, loans, and scholarships.
  • You have the right to sponsor your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old to join you in the U.S. as permanent residents. You can also sponsor other relatives, such as your parents, siblings, and married children, but they may have to wait longer for a visa to become available. You can also apply for U.S. citizenship for your children who were born abroad after you became a permanent resident.
  • You have the right to apply for U.S. citizenship after meeting the eligibility requirements, such as living in the U.S. for at least five years, being at least 18 years old, having good moral character, passing the English and civics tests, and taking the oath of allegiance. As a U.S. citizen, you can enjoy more rights and benefits, such as voting, running for office, traveling with a U.S. passport, and being protected by the U.S. government when abroad.

The US Visa Lottery, also known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program, is a program that awards up to 50,000 immigrant visas (Green Cards) each year to people from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. The lottery is a chance for you to get a Green Card and permanent residence in the U.S., which means that you can live, work, and study in the U.S. indefinitely, and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. The lottery is free and open to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria, regardless of their age, education, occupation, or marital status. However, the lottery is also very competitive and random, as millions of people apply each year, but only a few are selected. 

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