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When Is The Next US Green Card Lottery?

By Michael Niren April 20, 2016 (Updated May 21, 2021) 5 min. read
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Update May 8, 2021: 2022 Diversity Visa Program entrants may check their status at dvprogram.state.gov beginning May 8, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT, through September 30, 2022.

Update Feb 28, 2021: US President Biden revoked a previous executive order made by former US president Trump which temporarily banned some immigrant visas during the Coronavirus pandemic. Those who have received or hold a valid and unexpired diversity visa may now seek entry into the US.

Update May 10, 2019: After holding the randomized computer drawing, the U.S. State Department has announced the winners for the Fiscal Year 2020 of the Diversity Visa Program, which hands out 50,000 permanent resident cards, known as green cards, each year, despite President Donald Trump’s promise to end it.

Update September 10, 2019: The next green card lottery winners will be picked by September 30th, 2018. Individuals must have applied for the diversity green card between October 18, 2017, and November 22, 2017. For the Diversity Green Card Lottery 2020, the registration period was between October 3, 2018, and November 6, 2018. If you have not entered either of these periods you will have to wait for the 2021 lottery.

How to Enter the US Green Card Lottery

For many, the Green Card Lottery represents the chance for a new life in a new country. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, commonly known as the Green Card Lottery, makes available up to 50,000 immigrant visas each year. The lottery randomly selects eligible applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

As the U.S. Department of State explains, the Diversity Visas “are distributed among six geographic regions and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.” This even distribution allows for a more equal opportunity for potential immigrants from these regions. If you are considering immigrating to the United States and you are from an eligible country, this could be a valuable opportunity for you. So when is the next green card lottery?

The Next US Green Card Lottery

While there is no word yet on exact dates for this year, the Green Card Lottery generally opens its registration period in early October and closes in early November. Based on the general timeline for the lottery, the registration this October will be for DV 2018. For example, according to the official Electronic Diversity Visa website, registration for DV 2017 opened on October 1, 2015, and closed on November 3, 2015. Entrants for DV 2017 will be able to begin checking their status using their confirmation numbers on May 3, 2016.

It bears mentioning that the only way to find out if you have won the Green Card Lottery is through the official Electronic Diversity Visa website. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reported problems with fraud, whereby “scammers pose as the U.S. government in an attempt to get money from people hoping to get a visa.” The Department of State does not notify successful applicants by email or letter mail. A search regarding the dates for the upcoming lottery can also result in a slew of websites offering confusing and often misleading information about the lottery. We rely on official government information and hope that our readers will do the same.

We will be tracking official developments regarding DV 2018, so for updates, you can check with us here on our blog.

More About the Green Card Lottery

While the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is a lottery, the process doesn’t end there. After applying for the lottery online at www.dvlottery.state.gov, those who are selected must proceed with applying for an immigrant visa. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website lays out the stages for applicants: first, entrants must register for the lottery. Next, they must wait to find out their status. Upon winning the Green Card Lottery, an applicant must confirm their qualifications.

Only if a lottery winner is truly eligible will their win count. Next, they must submit an immigrant visa and alien registration application. If/when a visa number becomes available for the applicant, they will proceed to the interview stage. After the interview, they will find out if their application has been accepted or rejected.

As this process makes clear, simply winning the lottery is not enough. To make the most of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, an applicant must still put forward a complete, persuasive application. All supporting documents must be supplied to the relevant authorities at the appropriate times, all fees must be paid, and a medical exam must be completed by an authorized physician.

Furthermore, as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains, the process is different for those who win the lottery while living in the U.S. with “nonimmigrant or other legal status.” Such individuals must apply instead for an adjustment of status. To do so, they must establish that they “have been selected for a diversity visa by DOS’s lottery; have an immigrant visa immediately available at the time of filing an adjustment application (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status); and be admissible to the United States.”

Every additional step can add to the challenges of the application process. Every immigration situation is unique and comes with its own set of potential complications.

If you are uncertain as to how to proceed with your immigration application, an immigration legal professional can help you ensure that your application is prepared accurately.

For exact dates for this year’s lottery, keep checking our blog for updates.

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