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Each year, the United States Department of State annually administers the statutorily-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

As per the USCIS, the 2020 Diversity Lottery opened for registration on October 3, 2018 and will run until 12 noon Eastern Standard Time, on November 6, 2018. 50,000 (Fifty Thousand) permanent resident cards (also known as green cards) will be available.

Applicants who are selected into the program must meet simple but strict eligibility requirements to qualify for a diversity visa. They must be from a country that the United States has designated on the list of countries eligible to apply, have at least a high school education or equivalent, or two years of work experience within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.

If an applicant was not born in an eligible country, there are two other ways they might be able to qualify.

  1. If their spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible; or
  2. If one of their parents is from a country whose natives are eligible for the lottery program.

The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing. The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year. The list of countries from which individuals may apply this year, may be found at https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Diversity-Visa/DV-Instructions-Translations/DV-2020-Instructions-Translations/DV-2020-Instructions-English.pdf/

Kindly note that for this year, individuals from the following countries are not eligible to enter the Diversity Lottery, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigration to the United States in the last five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born are not eligible; but those born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Please contact an immigration lawyer if you have questions about eligibility for, and/or the application process for the Diversity Lottery.