There are a few different ways you can apply for a green card, which allows you to live and work in the US indefinitely, though the process can be long and complicated. Some of these include;
- Through a family member that already lives in the United States
- Through an employment opportunity
- By claiming refugee or asylum status
If these don’t apply to you, or if you don’t qualify for another reason, you can always take a chance
on the green card lottery.
How it works
Officially named the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program, 50,000 visas are issued every year by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and is completely free to enter.
According to recently published figures, there were 22.4m lottery entries from around the world in 2017 with roughly 125,000 of them being selected at random. Not all entrants will follow through with the application process and some of those that do may not complete it. This is why so many names are drawn from all the entries when only 50,000 are actually eligible.
Each person selected is put on a waiting list and given a number in order of selection. Entrants are then invited to apply for their green card (by the USCIS if you are currently living in the US under a non-immigrant or another legal status, and by a US Dept. of State consulate if you are outside of the US) as they work their way through the waiting list.
The first 50,000 entrants that complete the application process successfully will be awarded a green card. The remainder of the 125,000 entrants that were originally selected at random will have either decided not to apply, been unsuccessful with their application or unfortunately will not have had the chance to apply as there were 50,000 successful applications before their waiting list number came up.
Who is eligible?
There are a couple of eligibility criteria that you need to be aware of before making an entry to the lottery.
Country of birth – The DV program is limited to those born in qualifying countries which are subject to change each year.
Education / Work Experience – You must have successfully completed education to a minimum of high school standard or equivalent. This is defined as 12 years of education at elementary and secondary level…or…you must have worked at least 2 years within the last 5 years in a job which requires a minimum of 2 years training or experience to perform.
You can check your eligibility here…
How to enter
Register online to be selected to apply for a permanent green card via the lottery’s website https://dvlottery.state.gov
You must complete the application in English, however, there are detailed instructions available in various languages which you can find by following the link to instructions above.
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