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Green Card Lottery period starts in the US

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The annual US Diversity Immigrant Visa program's (DV-2016) application period started on 1st October.

Also known as the 'Green Card Lottery,' introduced in 1990, main purpose is to increase immigration to the US from countries with traditionally low immigration rates. 50,000 applicants are selected at random by computer.

Green Card is the popular terms for a lawful permanent residence visa in the US. Other types of 'green cards' include the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 employment based immigrant visas and green cards based on marriage to an US citizen or permanent resident.


There are a number of countries which the US State Department has excluded from the Diversity Immigrant Visa scheme this year, as the US feels that there are already enough immigrants from these countries:

  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China (mainland)
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland)
  • Vietnam.

However, a person born in one of these countries may still apply if neither of their parents was born in that country; or if they have a spouse born in a country which is included in the scheme.

Application requirements

In order to submit your entry under the Diversity Immigrant Visa program you will need to meet certain other requirements. You must have completed at least twelve years of schooling, or have two years work experience within the past five years. If you do not meet these criteria then you should not apply to the scheme.

If you are lucky enough to be selected under the scheme it is relatively easy to gain immigration to the US, however the chances of being selected are slim. There were fifteen million applicants in 2010 and only 50,000 visas. The computer selection will happen in May.

Applicants picked under the lottery scheme will then be subject to further checks, when they make a green card visa application. These checks are to determine:

  • You do not have any serious criminal convictions.
  • You are able to work or support yourself upon entry into the US.
  • You are not a threat to US national security.

Successful applicants are permitted to bring their husband or wife, and any children under the age of 21. However you must also meet the usual visa requirements for entry to the US. The program does not include any travelling expenses to the US, or provide any housing, employment or healthcare benefits.

The current program closes on 3rd November. A list of successful applicants selected under the lottery scheme will be published on the State Department's website.