The Green Card is the most popular and desired immigrant visa globally. The USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services issue the green card.
There are various ways to use to get a green card. Some methods include getting a job, family, or as a refugee, though not everyone falls under these categories.
The waiting periods can be very long and tiring if you qualify under the employment category. But thanks to the Green Card Lottery, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Anyone can participate in the green card lottery and win if they’re lucky.
The United States Green Card grants the holder of the permanent visa stay and works in the US. To add to these benefits, you get almost every right of a United States citizen.
Compared to other visas, the green card differs in that the holder gets an independent identification document.
What are the Merits of Having a Green Card?
Being among the most sought-after immigration visas in the world, a holder of the Green Card;
- Enjoys entry into the United States unlimited number of times
- Lives in the United States with no restrictions
- Holds their previous citizenship
- After living in the states for three to five years, you can apply for United States Citizenship
If you get a job opportunity;
- You will not require a work visa
- You are free to choose your employer
- You can change employers and even contracts of employment indefinitely with no issues
- You’ll get only a few strict work requirements compared to other non-American citizens
Getting specific permits like business licenses will be easier and faster if you want to be self-employed.
Students who manage to get a green card will get a chance to study in the US with no student visa. They may get a tuition fees reduction to 80%.
What Are the Chances of Winning the Lottery?
If you are a noncitizen, you can get a Green Card through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program). This program allows millions of people to participate in the lottery each year. Out of this vast number, about 50,000 people win the lottery!
This program is the “Green Card Lottery” or “DV Lottery” as winners emerges from a draw.
Citizens from countries with a history of low immigration rates to the US have the best chance of winning. So, you might be among the lucky 50 000 people worldwide, do not despair.
In the fiscal year 2021, more than 23 million people worldwide applied for the green card lottery. The winners were the first 50,000 individuals to register post notification.
The reason behind the program drawing more than 50,000 names is;
- Not every individual selected will start applying for the green card immediately
- Some of the selected applicants may begin the application process not complete it
Who Is Eligible for the DV Green Card Lottery?
Enrolment into the DV Program is open to each person in the whole world. However, you must meet the following requirements:
- It Works Best If You Are a Citizen of a Qualifying Country by Birth
To enter into the DV Green Card Lottery, your country of origin must have a low immigration rate to the US. Persons born in states with high rates of Immigration to the US can’t participate in this lottery.
The basis of determining eligibility is only by your country of birth, not current citizenship.
If your native country is among the following, you cannot enter this year’s DV program:
- China, which includes Hong Kong SAR
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- South Korea
- The United Kingdom, apart from Northern Ireland
If you’re born in an ineligible state, there may be exceptions for you to qualify for the DV program if;
- You have a spouse born in an eligible country. You can claim the state of birth of your spouse as your country of eligibility. But, you must ensure that both of you are on the duplicate entry and plan to enter the US concurrently.
- If you were born in an ineligible state, you could claim the country of birth of either of your parents. Neither of them must have been a resident of your birth country at the time of your birth. The land of birth of your parents shall apply, assuming it is an eligible state.
- Work Experience or Education
To qualify for the DV Lottery, you must have completed a US high school education or a foreign equivalent.
- Work Experience
You need to have worked in these qualifying occupations for at least two years within the previous five years.
When entering the DV Lottery, you don’t need to prove satisfying these requirements. After winning the lottery and applying for the green card, a consular officer will request these proofs.
If you don’t match the requirements above, do not apply to this program.
Applying for the DV Green Card Lottery
First and foremost, paper entries are no longer there. Otherwise, if you meet the eligibility criteria, apply in an electronic format.
The official government site for entering the US DV Lottery free of charge is www.state.gov. When the entry opens, you can only apply once per year. You risk getting your lottery applications thrown away if you make several applications.
Depending on an individual situation, the steps you take when applying for a Green Card will vary. However, most applicants go through this the general process;
- File an immigrant petition if you are eligible. Someone else will file the immigrant petition on your behalf if you aren’t.
- The USCIS checks the petition and may or may not approve it. If the USCIS approves it, and there is a visa chance in your category, you apply for the green card. You can apply through the USCIS, the US Department of State or a dedicated lottery website.
- Book a biometrics appointment. You will provide your fingerprints, passport photos, and a signature.
- Attend an interview
- Get a verdict on your green card application.
When Does The Green Card Lottery Take Place?
There is always a new online registration period each year. It usually takes place in autumn, from early October to November.
As soon as the entry opens, you should register. If you wait till the last moment, you risk missing out due to the heavy website traffic.
You will get a confirmation number when you finish the online entry application. You can check the status of your application on www.dvlottery.state.gov using the number. Do so as early as you can.
The present lottery is the 2022 Green Card lottery. The lottery name and the year in which it’s held differ. For instance, the current DV lottery (2022) has the name DV-2024. This means that winners must receive their Green Cards by the last date of Fiscal Year 2024.
Validity Period of the Green Card
A green card is valid for a lifetime. But, Immigration may revoke it under certain circumstances. However, you must renew the Permanent Resident Card every ten years, just as an identity card. If you fail to renew your residence card, you risk paying a fine.
The DV Lottery Status Check
Come May 2022; you can confirm your result for DV-2023 with the entrant status check. You can check the status of your DV-2023 Green Card Lottery if you applied before 9th November 2021.
You can check the website of the state department on www.dvlottery.state.gov. Check as soon as you can.
What to Do If You ‘Win’ DV Visa Lottery
Have you won the DV green card lottery? If yes, you’ve just passed the initial stages; there is still more to do.
Winning the lottery does not guarantee you a direct green card. The US government often discloses more winners than green cards for its worth. So, you should follow up fast before the green card supply runs out.
There is very crucial work that lies ahead, i.e. filling application forms, the interview etc.
After winning the lottery, there are steps you need to follow, depending on where you reside.
If you live out of the United States, visit the nearest US consulate for more details. The consulate will inform you when to continue taking the next steps in the application.
If you reside in the US, you can process your green card information via the USCIS.
Sometimes, applicants miss the visa opportunity due to delays in the immigration department. If chosen in the DV lottery, you should hire an immigration legal expert to help you.
You must prove that you will care for your financial need while staying in the US. Applicants who have won the green card lottery may find it hard to prove this point.
Applying for a green card is free of charge. If you applied for your green card through other avenues, it wouldn’t hurt applying for the lottery too.
As much as it is a lottery, it has stringent rules. Read and understand the rules as stated in the instructions before you apply.
Beware of frauds that may send you false emails that you have won the green card lottery. Never send money to people sending you emails claiming that you have won.