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The Green Card Lottery: Encouraging Diversity

6 May 2009 3 Comments

Throughout the world people hope to win the “Green Card Lottery.”  Officially known as the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” the lottery offers a chance for a new life in the United States.

The lottery randomly selects 50,000 potential immigrants who come from countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States, and offers them a chance to apply for a Green Card which will allow them permanent residence in the USA, along with their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 .  The visas are not available to people who come from countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years.

The lottery is offered for 60 days, usually from October through December.  Eligible countries for applicants are designated each year.

Entering the Diversity Lottery is FREE.  It must be done on line.  Winners must pay a fee for an immigrant visa and a separate visa lottery surcharge.  Some people choose to pay a company a fee to assist with the lottery application, to ensure that it is accomplished correctly, or to ensure that they do not miss the opportunity by forgetting to apply at the designated time.   However, use of a company is not necessary.

In 2008, the number of applicants to the DV lottery was 9.1 million.  About 98,000 were offered the chance to apply for permanent residence.   This means about 1% of the people win the opportunity to apply for permanent residence.   (Note that more were offered the opportunity than the 50,000 actual spaces available.  Once winners are notified, applications are received on a first come first serve basis until the 50,000 immigrant spaces are filled.)  Thus, in the end, .5% or one in 200 DV lottery applicants will end up emigrating to the USA as a result of the Green Card Lottery.

The streets in America are not paved with gold, but America is paved with OPPORTUNITY for those who are willing to work hard.

Note to all potential immigrant friends with good hearts:

This blog does not have a newsletter sign-up, but if you would like to be notified about the details of the next diversity lottery when the details become available, send a smile and your e-mail address.


  • dale said:


    I would just like to know how long the whole process takes once you have signed up?



  • admin said:

    Hi, Dale. Assuming there is no change to the rules in the next diversity lottery opportunity: If you are a winner you will be notified by postal mail 5-7 months after submitting your online application. If you do not win you will not receive any notice. If you win, you must apply for the Green Card as quickly as possible. Once you successfully complete the process you will receive the green card by the end of September following the year of the selection as winner. So applicants in 2009 will be notified in 2010, but will lose the opportunity if they don’t complete the process by September 30, 2011.

  • Mark said:

    People from all over the world can win the American Green Card by registering to the DV Lottery program done by the US State Department every year.
    The chances are very high. People can register directly on the US site or use a professional company’s services. An organization that renders such services and makes sure the application is submitted correctly is USAGC Organization.