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How to Enter the Diversity Visa Lottery

Updated on December 1, 2008
Photo by unkld.
Photo by unkld.

Ineligible Countries 2010

Citizens of these countries are NOT eligible to enter the DV Lottery, unless they are the spouse or child of a citizen of an eligible country.

  • BRAZIL  
  • CANADA  
  • mainland CHINA (People born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.)  
  • INDIA  
  • MEXICO  
  • PERU 
  • UNITED KINGDOM and its dependent territories (except Northern Ireland) 

Every year, the United States Government makes 50,000 immigrant visas available to residents of countries who have sent fewer than 50,000 immigrants to the US in the previous year. This program is known as the Diversity Visa Lottery, or DV Lottery.

The recipients of the 50,000 visas are chosen randomly from the submitted applications from each country that is eligible for the lottery.

The DV Lottery is free to enter. You must have a minimum of a high school degree, and be a citizen (or the spouse or child of a citizen) of one of the eligible countries. (See the sidebar on the right for a list of countries that are NOT eligible.)

You are eligible to enter the DV Lottery even if you are already in the US on a nonimmigrant visa or if you have already applied for an immigrant visa under a different visa program.

Applications for the DV Lottery are accepted only for a short period every year, usually from the beginning of October to the beginning of December. Each applicant may submit only one entry, but married couples can submit one application for each spouse. Children under 21 who have completed their high school education may also enter both individually and as dependents of their parents.

All applications must be submitted through the DV Lottery website. If you do not have access to a computer, you can ask or hire someone to do it for you. However, be very wary of scam artists. Otherwise, entering the DV Lottery is very simple.

In order to enter, you need one recent passport-style digital (JPEG) color photograph that is 600 x 600 pixels in size (full requirements and examples of correct and incorrect photographs are available at the DV Lottery's photo validation page) and the following information:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • your gender
  • your city and country of birth
  • your country of eligibility (if different from your country of birth)
  • your education level
  • your current country of residence
  • an address to send notification if your application is chosen
  • your email and phone number (optional)
  • your marital status
  • the number of children you have who are under 21

If you have a spouse and children under 21, you will also need a picture and the same information about them.You do NOT need to submit photos or info for children who are already US citizens or legal permanent residents (LPR).

Visa recipients are randomly selected by computer and will be notified by mail about 6-8 months after submitting their application. (Usually between May and July.) Unsuccessful applicants will be able to check the status of their application (save your confirmation number!) online, but will not receive any notification by mail.

A successful application will be valid for about one year, or until the 50,000 visas have been issued. If it is not claimed within the time limit, it will expire and the applicant will have to try again. Successful applicants may still have to undergo background checks, interviews, or similar before receiving their visa, especially if they are residents of countries considered to be state sponsors of terror.

For more information and a full set of instructions (available in multiple languages) and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the Diversity Visa Insturctions page.


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    • dicaslotofacil profile image

      dicaslotofacil 5 years ago

      My visa took a long time to exit

    • profile image

      Rashid Mohammed 6 years ago

      Why India is not eligible for this lottery ???

    • profile image

      Mike Warn 9 years ago

      Hi,I'm webmaster doing link exchange for my website.So would you like to link exchange with us. I can provide you link according to your theme.If you are interested then please let me know.Hope to hear from you soon with positive responseWith best regardsMike Warn