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Is USA Visa Lottery open?

The USA visa lottery, also known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, is a program run by the U.S. Department of State that makes 55,000 diversity immigrant visas available each year to randomly selected applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The visa lottery aims to diversify the immigrant population in the U.S. by providing visas to people from countries that have sent fewer than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the past 5 years. The lottery is open to natives of qualifying countries around the world.

Is the USA visa lottery open now?

Yes, the Diversity Visa Lottery program for fiscal year 2023 (from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023) is open now. The registration period opened on October 5, 2022 at 12 pm EDT and runs until November 8, 2022 at 12 pm EST. This means there is still time left for eligible individuals to submit an entry. Results of the lottery are expected to be available starting in May 2023.

When does registration open and close?

The registration period for each fiscal year’s diversity visa lottery opens in early October and closes in early November, about a month later. For fiscal year 2023, the registration period is:

  • Opens: Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 12 pm EDT
  • Closes: Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 12 pm EST

These dates mark the beginning and end of the time period when interested individuals can submit entries online at to be considered for the diversity visa lottery. Entries are no longer accepted after the close of registration. The entry submission period lasts about 4 weeks each year.

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

To enter the diversity visa lottery, you must meet these basic requirements mandated by U.S. immigration law:

  • Be a native of a qualifying country – Countries whose nationals are eligible depend on the region and visa lottery year. Native usually means country of birth.
  • Have a high school education or equivalent minimum
  • Have at least 2 years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least 2 years of training
  • Meet all eligibility requirements for immigrant visas to the United States

In addition, entrants must provide recent photographs meeting very specific technical specifications and other identity documents. There are also strict rules against duplicate and fraudulent entries. Meeting the requirements does not guarantee receiving a visa, as visas are awarded through randomized selection.

What are the regional visa limits?

Visas awarded through the lottery each year are limited based on geographic regions:

  • Africa: 19,000 visas
  • Asia: 5,000 visas
  • Europe: 14,000 visas
  • North America: 2 visas (Bahamas only)
  • Oceania: 1,500 visas
  • South America + Central America + Caribbean: 2,500 visas

The visas are distributed among six global regions, with most visas going to African nations. The regional visa limits help ensure diversity within the immigrant population.

What are the steps to apply?

Applying for the diversity visa lottery involves the following steps:

  1. Determine your eligibility – Make sure you meet all requirements based on country of origin, education, and work experience.
  2. Obtain required documents – Have digital copies ready of your passport photo and high school diploma.
  3. Submit your entry – Fill out the online entry form and upload documents during the registration period.
  4. Check the results – Starting in May, check if you have been randomly selected to receive a visa.
  5. Apply for the visa – If selected, apply for the diversity visa through the regular immigrant visa process.
  6. Attend your visa interview – Go to your scheduled visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate.

Completing all steps does not guarantee receiving a visa, as visas are limited. But properly submitting an entry is required to potentially obtain a visa through the lottery.

What information is required to apply?

The required information you must provide on the diversity visa entry includes:

  • Full name
  • Birth date
  • Gender
  • City where you were born
  • Country where you were born
  • Country of eligibility or chargeability
  • Digital photo meeting requirements
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Highest level of education completed
  • Marriage information (if applicable)

You also must provide your passport number, country of issuance, and expiration date. Other identity documents may be required. All information provided in the lottery entry must be accurate.

Can someone who is married apply?

Yes, individuals who are married can apply for the diversity visa lottery. Both the primary applicant and spouse can each submit an entry if desired, as long as all eligibility requirements are met. If either spouse is selected, the other is entitled to a diversity immigrant visa as well.

Keep in mind that if the spouse is not a native of an eligible diversity visa country, the primary applicant is only eligible if their spouse is a native of an eligible country. The exceptions are natives of Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, and South Korea, who remain eligible to apply regardless of their spouse’s country of origin.

How are winners selected?

Winners are selected through a randomized computer drawing from among all eligible entries received during the registration period. Each entry has an equal random chance of being chosen within its region. The computer drawing is conducted by the Kentucky Consular Center and observed by independent auditors.

No single country can receive more than 7% of the available diversity visas in any one year. Selection does not guarantee being issued a visa, it only determines who is permitted to apply for diversity immigrant visas that year.

When will winners be notified?

Individuals whose entries have been randomly selected to receive diversity visas in the lottery are notified by letter from the U.S. Department of State starting in May following the entry period. For example, for fiscal year 2023, selectees will be notified starting in May 2023. Notification letters are sent to the mailing address provided on the original entry.

The letters will provide further instructions on applying for the immigrant visa. Selection only allows you to apply, it does not guarantee a visa will be issued.

How many winners will there be?

For fiscal year 2023, up to 55,000 diversity immigrant visas are available. However, no single country can receive more than 7% of the available visas.

The actual number of visas given out depends on how many lottery winners complete their visa applications and meet all eligibility requirements. Over the past 5 years, between 46,000-51,000 lottery winners have been issued diversity visas each year after completing the process.

Fiscal Year Total Visas Available Total Visas Issued
2022 55,000 46,095
2021 55,000 50,706
2020 55,000 51,723
2019 55,000 50,677
2018 50,000 48,858

So while up to 55,000 are available, the number issued is often a bit lower.

What are the chances of being selected?

The chances of being selected depend on the region you apply from and the number of entries received that year. Keep in mind millions submit entries each year but only around 55,000 are eventually issued visas. Some approximate odds:

  • Africa: 1 in 25
  • Europe: 1 in 200
  • Asia: 1 in 2,000
  • South America: 1 in 900
  • Oceania: 1 in 3,000

Oceania, Asia, and South America tend to have better odds than Africa and Europe. But all regions combined, your overall chance is around 1 in 120 currently. Focus on submitting just one complete, error-free entry to maximize your chances.

Can someone apply more than once?

Submitting more than one entry per person is prohibited by U.S. immigration law. Each individual can only submit one entry during each registration period. Duplicate entries are disqualified, and using computer programs or other methods to submit multiple entries also leads to disqualification.

If you are a married couple, you and your spouse can each submit one entry if desired. But each person can only send in one entry total each. Multiple accounts or entries for the same person are not allowed. The lottery uses sophisticated fraud screening, so avoid attempting multiple entries.

What are the educational requirements?

To qualify for the diversity visa lottery, you must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. high school education. This is defined as successful completion of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to graduation from a U.S. high school.

This education can be obtained in any country. Simply demonstrating the equivalent education is required, there is no minimum number of years of school required. But less than a high school level education is insufficient. Alternative credentials showing an educational level equivalent to U.S. high school completion may also satisfy the requirements.

How much does it cost to apply?

There is no fee charged by the U.S government to submit the online entry form for the diversity visa lottery program. The only cost is the regular internet and computer access required to apply online.

However, if you are selected and apply for a diversity visa, you will need to pay required visa fees as part of the regular immigrant visa application process. There is a $330 diversity visa lottery surcharge per person in addition to standard visa fees.

When are diversity visas issued?

Winning the diversity visa lottery only allows you to apply for the actual visa. Visas are issued to lottery winners who properly complete all application requirements in the following fiscal year.

For example, for fiscal year 2023 the registration period is in late 2022 but visas will not be issued until October 1, 2023 through September 30, 2024 – the 2023 fiscal year. Visas must be issued and admitted to the U.S. during the fiscal year for which the visa is available.

Can the visa be renewed or extended?

Diversity immigrant visas cannot be renewed, extended, or changed. These visas expire if not admitted into the U.S. by the end of the fiscal year for which they were issued.

For example, if issued a visa for fiscal 2023, you must enter the U.S. on that visa between October 1, 2023 and September 30, 2024. If you do not travel by September 30, the visa is no longer valid, though you can enter and reapply for a green card.

Can derivatives receive visas too?

If the lottery entrant listed a spouse and children on the original entry, then the spouse and children under 21 years old also receive diversity visas if the primary applicant is selected. They are called visa derivatives.

Spouses can still receive visas even if they were not originally listed on the entry if the marriage occurred after submission. But children must have been listed to receive visas. Derivatives must also meet all standard visa eligibility requirements.

Do diversity visa winners get green cards?

Yes, receiving a diversity immigrant visa allows you to then apply and obtain a green card as a permanent resident of the United States. Diversity visa holders applying for their green cards must meet the same eligibility criteria as other immigrants.

Green card processing typically occurs after arrival in the U.S. on the diversity visa. The visa allows immigration, then adjustment of status leads to receiving a physical green card. Diversity visa holders can then live and work permanently in the U.S.


The diversity visa lottery is an annual opportunity for around 55,000 applicants from underrepresented countries to legally immigrate to the United States by winning a random selection. Registration for the lottery is open for just one month each year. Eligible individuals who want a chance to win can submit free online entries.

Winners are randomly drawn by computer from millions of qualified entries. Those selected can apply to receive a special diversity visa in the following fiscal year. Diversity visa holders admitted to the U.S. can then process to obtain permanent resident green cards.