Feeling Lucky? U.S. Department of State Holds Annual Green Card Lottery Feeling Lucky? U.S. Department of State Holds Annual Green Card Lottery

Feeling Lucky? U.S. Department of State Holds Annual Green Card Lottery

Commonly referred to as the “Green Card Lottery,” the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is a congressionally-mandated lottery program awarding permanent residence or a “green card” to foreign nationals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Because there are very limited avenues to permanent residence (most of which require employment- or family-based sponsorship), this lottery program provides a far faster and less restrictive opportunity for permanent residence to those foreign nationals who qualify and are ultimately selected.
 
Foreign nationals seeking to participate in the lottery must have been born in an eligible country and possess either a high school diploma (or equivalent) or two (2) years of qualifying work experience. Applications may be submitted online via the Department of State’s website at www.dvlottery.state.gov/ until 12:00 PM EST on November 7, 2016. Late entries will not be accepted. There is no cost to participate in the lottery.
 
50,000 winners of the Green Card Lottery will be selected at random, and applicants can return to the Department of State’s website between May 2, 2017 and September 30, 2018 and use their unique confirmation number to confirm whether they have been selected. If selected, winners may apply for permanent residence and complete the process during the 2018 fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. Winners who fail to complete the green card process by September 30, 2018 will not be permitted to carry over their selection to the following year. Winners of the lottery must still meet all other requirements for U.S. permanent residence.
 
It is critical that all applicants for the Green Card Lottery read the application instructions very carefully prior to submitting their applications. Applications that do not meet the very strict requirements will be disqualified. Complete instructions, including the list of eligible countries of birth, are available at the website noted above. Applicants should also be aware of scams targeting Green Card Lottery applicants. Application submission and confirmation of selection should be completed only through the Department of State’s website, and any questionable or fraudulent communications related to the lottery should be reported.
 
Foreign nationals who have already initiated the green card process through employer-sponsorship are not precluded from the Green Card Lottery, and employers should share this lottery information with all eligible employees, as it may provide a faster and less expensive path to permanent residence.
 
Contact Christl P. Glier or any member of Ice Miller’s Immigration practice with questions regarding the Green Card Lottery or other immigration matters.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances. 

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