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How do I know if I won my green card?

Winning the green card lottery is an exciting event that can lead to obtaining lawful permanent resident status in the United States. However, many lottery entrants are left wondering how they will know if they have actually won the lottery and what the next steps are. Here are some quick answers to common questions about green card lottery results and notifications:

  • The U.S. government notifies selectees through the entrant status check on the E-DV website. You cannot receive notification through email or postal mail.
  • You will need your unique confirmation number from your original lottery entry to check your status online.
  • The E-DV website will list your status as “selected” if you have won a diversity visa.
  • Notification of lottery results takes place between May and July of the year following the lottery drawing you entered.
  • Being selected does not guarantee you will receive a visa. Your selection must still be confirmed through the visa application process.

If you see your status listed as “selected” on the E-DV website during the specified notification period, then you have won a diversity visa through the lottery. The next steps will be to submit documents and complete visa processing and interviews in order to be issued an actual green card.

When and How are Green Card Lottery Results Announced?

Green card lottery winners are notified through the official online Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website maintained by the U.S. State Department. This is the only way you can receive official notification that you have won a diversity visa. Notification through email or postal mail is never used for the green card lottery.

To check your green card lottery status, you must enter your unique confirmation number from your original lottery entry at the Entrant Status Check site. The U.S. government will never contact you requesting this number, so only share it through the official status check site.

Green card lottery results and selection notifications take place between May and July of the year after the original lottery drawing you entered. For example, if you entered the 2023 green card lottery held in 2021-2022, you would check your status in May-July 2023. The specific notification dates vary each year but fall within this timeframe.

When you check your status on the E-DV website during this window, your entry will be listed as either “selected” if you won or “not selected” if you did not win. If your status is “selected,” you have won a diversity visa through the lottery pending confirmation through the visa application process.

Green Card Lottery Selection Letter

In addition to checking your status online, some lottery winners also receive a selection letter from the U.S. government by postal mail. This letter provides instructions on next steps to apply for the green card. However, it is important to understand that you do not need to receive this letter in order to confirm your winning status. The Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website is the authoritative source on whether you have won a diversity visa or not. Do not assume you did not win simply because you did not receive a selection letter.

What Does it Mean to be Selected in the Green Card Lottery?

If your entry status is shown as “selected” on the E-DV website results page, it means you have won a diversity visa through the green card lottery, pending successful completion of the visa application process. But “selected” status does not guarantee you will receive a green card just yet.

Being selected in the lottery only means you are eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status under the diversity visa program. You must still successfully complete required steps including submitting documents, completing visa interviews, and receiving approval of your visa application.

Approximately twice as many people are selected each year as there are available diversity visas, so being chosen as “selected” does not guarantee a visa will be available. It is crucial to complete your visa application in a timely manner once notified of your selection.

Of those selected, only about 50% usually complete the visa process successfully and obtain a green card. Common reasons for being selected but not obtaining a visa include failing to provide required documents, ineligibility discovered during interviews, or running out of available visas before your application is processed.

In summary, if your status is “selected” it means you have won the green card lottery and may now move forward with applying for lawful permanent resident status by submitting required paperwork and completing the necessary steps over the next year. But selection does not mean you are guaranteed a visa just yet. You must successfully complete the application process.

What are the Next Steps if You Win the Green Card Lottery?

If you discover your green card lottery entry has been selected, you must take the following next steps to apply for your diversity visa and begin the immigration process:

  1. Submit your DS-260 visa application form online.
  2. Gather required civil documents such as birth certificates, court records, and more to prove eligibility.
  3. Complete medical examination with an authorized doctor.
  4. Provide photos meeting visa requirements.
  5. Pay required visa processing fees.
  6. Attend visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate.
  7. Receive final approval of your diversity visa.
  8. Enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident within the timeframe specified for your lottery year.

You will need to pay close attention to the specific instructions and deadlines provided for the lottery year you entered to ensure you complete these steps properly and in a timely manner. Processing times can vary widely. Some steps may need to be completed within just a couple months of notification while other stages can take many months.

If your application is found eligible and a visa number is available, you will be issued a green card soon after entering the U.S. Your status will then be adjusted from diversity visa holder to lawful permanent resident. Remember, despite being “selected” you are not guaranteed to receive a visa until your application is approved after completing all required steps.

Can I Check the Status for Someone Else’s Green Card Lottery Entry?

You cannot check E-DV green card lottery results for another person, except in very limited circumstances. The U.S. government’s Entrant Status Check website only allows you to access the status for your own entry using your unique lottery confirmation number.

Exceptions are made for the following special circumstances only:

  • A spouse may check the status for their husband or wife if the confirmation number and other details are provided.
  • A parent may check for a child under age 14.
  • An adult child may check for a parent over age 79.

In these cases, the family relationship must be included as part of the original lottery entry in order for a relative to have access to the status results. Outside of these specific situations, the E-DV website will not provide green card lottery results or notification of selection for anyone other than the person named on the entry.

How Long After Winning the Lottery do You Get a Green Card?

The time frame for receiving a green card after winning the diversity visa lottery can range fairly widely from several months to a year or more. Factors that impact processing times include:

  • How promptly you file all required paperwork after notification of selection
  • Processing backlogs at the government agencies reviewing applications
  • Any issues that require additional documents or investigation
  • The volume of applications received ahead of yours from other lottery winners

Typically, it takes at least 6-12 months once you submit your visa application before being issued a green card, if approved.

Your visa must be issued by September 30 of the fiscal year of the lottery you won. For example, if you won the 2023 lottery, your visa must be issued by September 30, 2024. This deadline can create a rush toward the end as the annual cutoff approaches each year.

Providing documents promptly and completing required steps as early as possible can help speed up processing and ensure you receive your green card well before the deadline. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney can also help accelerate the complex process.

Patience and persistence are key when navigating the green card lottery process. While winning the diversity visa is an exciting first step, you must be prepared for many more months of paperwork and interviews before finally receiving permanent resident status.


Checking your green card lottery results through the E-DV Entrant Status Check website is the only official way to confirm whether you have won permanent resident status through the diversity visa program. If your status is shown as “selected,” you may move forward with the visa application process, understanding that final approval is still required.

The visa application involves submitting documents, completing interviews, and cooperating with requests from the State Department and immigration officials. The entire process from lottery entry to receipt of a green card generally takes 12-18 months.

While winning the green card lottery can be a thrilling event, it is also the starting point for a lengthy and complex immigration journey before you finally arrive in the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Patience and diligently following each step along the way will maximize your chances of success.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I was selected for further processing in the DV program?

You must check the status of your entry using the Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website. This is the only way to confirm whether you have been selected, which allows you to apply for a diversity visa. The website will clearly state “selected” or “not selected” during the specified notification period each year.

Do I automatically get a green card if selected?

No, being selected only means you may now apply for a diversity visa leading to a green card. You must still successfully complete all required steps in the visa application process in order to be approved and issued a green card. There is no guarantee even if selected.

When can I check the status of my green card lottery entry?

You can only check your E-DV lottery results during the annual notification period, which generally falls between May and July each year following the lottery. The E-DV website provides specific dates you can check during this window.

What if I do not receive a selection letter in the mail?

You do not need to receive a mailed selection letter in order to win the green card lottery. The status listed on the E-DV website is the authoritative determination of whether you were selected or not. Follow the website instructions even if no letter arrives.

How long after being selected will I get my green card?

It typically takes at least 6-12 months after submitting your visa application before receiving a green card. The exact timeline depends on processing backlogs, how promptly you provide documents, and other individual factors of your case.

Year Total Applicants Total Selected Total Visas Issued
2017 14.7 million 105,000 49,568
2018 19.7 million 138,000 42,597
2019 23 million 110,000 54,184

How many people win the diversity visa lottery each year?

The number of selectees each year is greater than the available visas. Typically 100,000-200,000 applicants are selected annually, but only around 50,000 diversity visas are issued. Selection does not guarantee visa approval.

Can my spouse or child also apply for a green card if I am selected?

Yes, if you list your spouse and eligible children as derivatives on your original lottery application, they can be included in your visa application and also receive green cards if you are selected and approved.

If I am selected, do I automatically get an interview appointment?

No, you must separately schedule and complete a required visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy after submitting your application. Selection does not automatically schedule this appointment.

Can I mail extra documents to support my visa application?

You should not mail any documents unless specifically requested to do so by a consular officer. Provide only what is asked of you during the visa application process.

What disqualifies someone who was selected from getting a diversity visa?

You can be disqualified for ineligibility discovered during the application, running out of visas for your region/country, or failing to pursue the application in a timely manner. Selection does not guarantee visa issuance.

If my spouse wins the lottery, do I also get a green card?

Only if your relationship is documented as a derivative in the original lottery entry. Otherwise, you must independently qualify for your own green card or immigrant status if not originally listed.

How soon after selection should I start completing the steps for a visa application?

You should begin as soon as possible, even within the first month of notification. This helps ensure you complete the lengthy process within the required time frame before visas run out.

Can I enter the green card lottery again if selected?

No, you are only allowed to win once. Any person selected through the lottery will be disqualified from all future diversity visa programs. You cannot apply again if you have already won.