How To Apply For A Green Card Lottery?
Today’s Blog is Part 1 of the 3-Part series on ‘How To Apply For A Green Card Lottery’, in which we will take a look at qualifying requirements for a green card lottery and its criterias. Let’s begin.
The Diversity Visa Program, commonly known as the green card lottery, is a United States lottery system that allows around 55,000 foreigners to apply for an immigrant visa number. Usually, to make an immigrant visa available, a candidate needs a petitioner. A U.S.-based employer or a family member has to submit an application for a candidate to obtain a green card. Every year, the green card lottery provides immigrant visas to randomly chosen people from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.
Around 20 million people take part in the green card lottery every year with hopes of being one of the 55,000 individuals who are chosen. To take in the lottery, candidates should be from an under-represented country with lower migrants in the U.S. This lottery is one of the few alternative ways for migrating to the United States for individuals who don’t have any family members in the U.S. or an exceptional education.
The green card lottery for 2024 began on October 5, 2022. Let’s look at the requirements for the green card lottery.
Qualifying Requirements For Green Card Lottery
The qualifying requirements to register for the Diversity Visa Program are quite less, and they may differ a little on a yearly basis. The requirements for the 2024 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2024) are as follows:
CRITERIA 1: Being Born In An Eligible Country
You should have been born in an eligible country. The objective of the green card lottery is to entice and encourage individuals belonging to countries with a lesser rate of immigration to the U.S. Which is why people from countries with high rates of immigrants in the U.S. are not qualified.
Citizens of countries that are not eligible to apply for DV-2024, because more than 50,000 individuals of these countries have already immigrated to the U.S. in the last five years are as follows:
- China (including Hong Kong SAR)
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- South Korea
- United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories
Though mainland Chinese citizens are not allowed to apply, individuals born in Macau SAR, and Taiwan are qualified.
If you belong to any of the mentioned unqualified countries, you have two alternatives to become eligible for the green card lottery which are as follows:
Becoming Eligible Through Spouse:
Is your spouse from one of the eligible countries? If that is the case then you can claim the country of birth of your spouse, given that both you and your spouse are named on the selected entry, are deemed eligible and given diversity visas, and enter the United States at the same time.
Becoming Eligible Through A Parent:
Were you born in a country whose citizens are not qualified, but neither of your parents were born or a legal resident of that country at the time of your birth? Were either of your parents born in a country that is eligible? If so then you can claim the birth country of one of your parents and be eligible for the DV-2024 program.
CRITERIA 2: Education And Work Experience
Every green card lottery candidate should meet the requirement for education and work experience. The requirements for education and work experience are as follows:
Minimum requirement of a high school education or its equivalent, meaning a successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education; or
Work experience of two years within the past five years in a profession that requires a minimum of two years of training or experience to perform. The Department of State will utilize the Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to decide eligibility for work experience.
There is no minimum age requirement to apply for the lottery. However, the condition for a high school education or work experience for every primary applicant at the time of application will usually disqualify most individuals who are under 18 years of age.
How To Apply For The Green Card Lottery?
If you intend to apply for the green card lottery, you can submit an entry during the entry acceptance period, which usually lasts for a month each year. To apply, you should be ready with your digital photos. Typically individuals can complete the digital application within an hour.
When Should You Apply?
When the entry dates are open, try to apply as soon as possible. Don’t delay and wait until the last week of the registration period, as registrations by hundreds of thousands of people can result in website delays. Late or paper entries will not be accepted by the U.S. State Department.
You should apply for the lottery only once a year. The State Department states that people who submit more than one application during the registration period will be rejected. You can be listed as the derivative applicant on another individual’s entry. This can be done by married couples. Each spouse may file one application if they meet the eligibility criteria. If either spouse is picked for the lottery, the other will be eligible to apply for a green card as a derivative dependent.
Where Can You Apply?
You can file your green card lottery entry online on the official website of the U.S. State Department to support the Diversity Visa Program. Be cautious of any other website that is open for entries for the green card lottery, as it could be a fraud. There are no charges for registration.
What Documents Will You Need To Apply?
Usually, you’ll be required to provide basic details about yourself and your family. You will also need to list your spouse and all children if it is applicable to your situation. It is pertinent to note that failing to list your qualified spouse is a strong reason for getting disqualified. Furthermore, you will be required to submit a digital photo of yourself and all derivative family members accompanying you. The requirements for the pictures are as follows:
- The photo must be of the same composition and quality as U.S. visa photos
- The picture should have been taken within the last 6 months to match your current appearance
- The picture should be In color and in focus
- The picture should be in a size that the head should be between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches or 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin. For details on the size requirements.
- The picture should include a full-face view directly facing the camera with a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
- The picture should be taken dressed in clothing that you usually wear on a daily basis
- The background of the picture should be plain white or off-white
Further guidelines related to dressing in photos are as follows:
- The picture should not be taken in a uniform, with the exception of religious clothing that is worn by the applicant on a daily basis.
- The picture should not be taken in a hat or head covering that covers the hair or hairline unless it is worn daily for a religious purpose. The full face of the applicant should be visible, and the head covering should not cast any shadows on the face.
- The pictures should not be taken while wearing wireless hands-free devices, headphones, or similar items.
- The applicant should not be wearing eyeglasses
Requirement Of Passport For Green Card Lottery
Additional requirements were put on lottery applicants in the 2021 ruling. The Department of State requires candidates to have a current, unexpired passport. In addition to this, the rule makes it easier for the State Department to quickly disqualify all applications that have not provided all the information or documentation accurately.
The Cost Of The Diversity Visa Program
There are no charges to enter the Diversity Visa Program. Make sure that you are making the application on the official government website.
If you get selected and apply for a Diversity Visa, you will have to pay the required fee for visa application at the time of applying, which is currently $330, and give an interview directly to the consular cashier at the U.S. consulate or embassy. People who are already present in the U.S. with another immigration status might be able to adjust their status to permanent residence. You will be required to pay all the necessary ‘adjustment of status’ charges directly to the USCIS, that is currently $1,225.
Green Card Lottery Winners
The Department of State randomly chooses persons through a computerized system from all the qualified applications.
The U.S government will not contact you through any means in case you have been selected. To know whether you have been selected, you must go to the Entrant Status Check. You may check your status through the unique confirmation number from your registration.
If you have been selected, you will get directed to a confirmation page providing further instructions on acquiring your Diversity Visa. It is crucial to respond earlier. Your visa will not be put on hold or carried to the next year.
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