The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is often referred to as the green card lottery because the program awards immigrant visas on a random basis. The program provides a limited number of visas to applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Those selected who meet the program’s requirements are known as diversity immigrants.

The diversity visa lottery is only open for about a month each year, and applicants in Lombard and elsewhere typically apply for entrant status approximately two years in the future. The U.S. Department of State administers the diversity visa lottery and component programs.

An Overview of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is authorized by Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. Under this law, the Attorney General reviews the statistics of immigrants granted lawful permanent resident status over the past five years to determine which countries have high and low admission rates.

Generally, those with fewer than 50,000 immigrants are considered to have a low admission rate. This means that residents of those countries are eligible to apply for the diversity visa lottery.

No more than seven percent of the available 50,000 visas may go to those from a single country. Applicants enter the lottery by registering for the program during the registration period. The lottery winners are selected by a random computer drawing.

Eligibility Requirements for a Diversity Immigrant Visa

The requirements to receive a diversity immigrant visa are relatively straightforward. However, in the application, the State Department warns that the requirements will be interpreted strictly.

National Origin Requirements

First, the applicant must meet the requirements regarding national origin. If the applicant was not born in an eligible country, there are two other ways in which the requirement may be satisfied. First, if an applicant’s spouse was born in an eligible country, the applicant may qualify if the two apply and enter the U.S. together.

The second way the origin requirement may be satisfied is if the applicant was born in an ineligible country but neither of the applicant’s parents were born in that same country. Additionally, if the applicant’s parents did not legally reside in that country at the time of the applicant’s birth, the applicant may meet the country requirement by claiming one parent’s country of birth instead of his or her own country of birth.

Education and Work Experience Requirements

The second component of the requirements for a diversity immigrant visa concerns the applicant’s education and work experience. To fulfill the requirement on the grounds of education, an applicant must have achieved a high school education or have successfully completed 12 years of formal elementary and secondary education.

Alternatively, an applicant may satisfy this component through a demonstration of work experience. Applicants will be considered qualified if they have, within the past five years, worked, trained and gained experience in that position from a minimum of two years.

The Department of State uses a certain methodology to determine compliance with these requirements. A well-practiced immigration attorney may be able to determine whether an applicant in Lombard has fulfilled the work and education requirements to be eligible for a diversity immigrant visa.

After the Diversity Visa Lottery

The Department of State conducts a random lottery to select the applicants who may become eligible for diversity immigrant status. Lottery winners will not be notified independently and must check with the Department’s Entrant Status Check function using their confirmation number to see whether they have been selected. Those selected will receive directions on the next steps to take and fees connected with the immigration process.

Those in Lombard selected through the diversity visa lottery must still meet other requirements for admission to the U.S. For further information or assistance, many applicants find it helpful to consult a skilled visa lawyer, so call today to see how one could help you.

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