Visa lottery (diversity immigrant visa program)

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is also called the DV Program, the visa lottery, or the  green card lottery. Every year from 1995 to 2020, the USA awarded 50,000 visas through the program. People get chosen by random selection (by chance) in the visa lottery. If you win a visa, you can live, work, and study in the USA. After 5 years, you can apply for citizenship.

visa lottery - permanent resident card

The visa lottery for 2020

There were 50,000 diversity visas awarded for 2020 in the United States’ visa lottery. The enrollment opened on October 3, 2018.  The deadline was on November 6, 2018, at 12:00. The lottery for 2020 is now closed.

The visa lottery program for 2021

There is no news yet about the diversity immigrant visa program for 2021. We will update this page when there is news.

Who can apply for the visa lottery?

  • You must have a high school education or a certificate that is the same as a high school diploma
    or
  • You must show that you have two years of work experience in a job that requires at least two years of training or experience. Your experience must be in the last five years.
  • You must complete the (DS-260) application online during the enrollment period. You cannot submit your entry at other times.

Warning about visa lottery fraud

There are many websites and people that try to trick you into giving money to get a US visa. Do not believe them. You do not need to pay. For example, a website such as www.usgreencardoffice.com will charge you $98 to file your application. Other websites pretend they official government websites. Remember:

  • It is free to enter the visa lottery 
  • You cannot increase your chance of winning by paying

you can read more information about diversity visa scams. And you can also find official information and enter the visa lottery.

Watch this video about how to apply to the lottery

People who cannot apply for a diversity visa 

Diversity visas go to people from countries who have not sent many immigrants to the USA in previous years. For example, people from these countries were not eligible to apply for  2020:

  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China (mainland-born)
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories
  • Vietnam

Tips for applying

  • Do not make more than one application. You will be excluded from the lottery.
  • Gather all your information before you start to fill in the form. This will make the process easier for you.
  • Make sure you complete all entries on the form.
  • Look at the website of the US embassy or consulate in your country to find out whether your country may have additional lottery information.

Learn more

Useful resources

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The information on this page is taken from the US Department of State. It is intended for guidance and is updated as often as possible. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice. If you are looking for a free or low-cost lawyer or legal help, we can help you find free and low-cost legal services.

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