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What is green lottery for USA?

The green lottery, also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery, is a United States government lottery program that allows people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States to apply for a Diversity Visa (DV). The lottery aims to diversify the immigrant population in the United States by selecting applicants mostly from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. in the previous five years.

What are the requirements for the green lottery?

There are a few basic requirements to be eligible for the green lottery:

  • You must be a native of a qualifying country – countries that have sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years generally qualify.
  • You must have a high school education or equivalent work experience.
  • You cannot have a criminal record or certain health conditions.
  • You must have a photo that meets the submission requirements.

In addition, there are strict eligibility requirements based on the applicant’s country of birth. People born in countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years are not eligible to apply for the green lottery.

What countries are eligible for the green lottery?

The eligibility of countries for the green lottery changes each year based on immigration rates. For the 2023 green lottery (DV-2023), natives of the following countries are eligible to apply:

Africa Asia Europe North America Oceania South America, Central America, and the Caribbean
Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sudan Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia The Bahamas Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

As you can see, natives of countries like India, China, Mexico, Philippines, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and others that have high immigration rates to the U.S. are not eligible for the green lottery.

How does the green lottery work?

Here is a step-by-step overview of how the Diversity Visa Lottery works:

  1. The lottery opens for registrations online during a designated registration period, usually in October each year.
  2. Hopeful applicants fill out the online form with personal details and submit a digital photo that meets requirements.
  3. After registration closes, a computer randomly selects applicants and assigns them a confirmation number.
  4. Winners are notified and confirm their eligibility by submitting supporting documents.
  5. Once approved, winners and their families are granted permanent resident status (green cards).

Millions of people register each year for the very limited spots. For example, for DV-2023 around 15 million people registered and only up to 55,000 green cards will be issued.

What are the benefits of winning the green lottery?

There are several benefits if you are lucky enough to be selected in the green lottery:

  • You and your spouse and children under 21 can immigrate to live and work permanently in the U.S.
  • You have all the rights of a U.S. permanent resident, including access to healthcare and education.
  • You can apply for U.S. citizenship after meeting eligibility requirements.
  • Diversity visa winners are not required to have an employer sponsor or specific job qualifications.
  • There are no application fees if selected – it’s a free green card if you win.

The biggest benefit is being able to immigrate and work in the U.S. permanently without needing an employer or family sponsor. The green card can be a life-changing opportunity.

What are the odds of winning the lottery?

The odds of winning the diversity visa lottery depend on the number of applicants from your country and globally in the registration period. Some approximate odds for recent lotteries:

  • DV-2022: Around 5% if from Africa, 2% if from Europe, 0.5% from Asia
  • DV-2023: Around 5% if from Africa, 0.9% if from Europe, 0.4% from Asia

Applicants from countries with relatively low immigration to the U.S. have a higher chance. But no matter where you are from, the odds are very low given the amount of competition. It’s always a long-shot, but someone has to win!

How can I maximize my chances of winning?

While winning ultimately comes down to the luck of the draw, there are a few tips that can help maximize your chances:

  • Apply as early as possible within the registration period for your region.
  • Provide accurate and complete information on the application.
  • Submit a recent digital photo that meets composition and technical requirements.
  • If married, apply separately from your spouse to double your chances.
  • Check application status online and respond to requests in a timely manner.
  • Only apply during years you meet all eligibility requirements.

What are common green lottery scams to avoid?

Unfortunately, many fraudulent websites and services target green card lottery applicants. Here are some common scams to watch out for:

  • Application fees – The official diversity visa registration is free. Never pay for registration.
  • Increased odds promises – No one can influence the random selection process.
  • “Guaranteed” win services – These are always fake – wins cannot be guaranteed.
  • Document processing fees – You only pay direct government fees, never third parties.

In summary, apply directly through the official government website, never pay any individual or agency, and be wary of win guarantees. Report any suspected fraud to the FTC.

When should I apply for the green lottery?

You can only apply during the annual online registration period, which usually runs for about a month sometime between October and November for the lottery held the following year. Specific dates are announced each year on the State Department’s website:

For example, for the DV-2023 lottery, the registration period ran from October 6, 2021 to November 9, 2021. Key steps include:

  1. Check State Dept. website in September for registration dates.
  2. Complete online form and upload photo in October.
  3. Check application status starting May the following year.
  4. If selected, begin visa process and document submission.

So in summary, you need to register during the 1 month window each fall, and then continue the process throughout the following year if selected in the lottery.

Do I need to find a US sponsor for green lottery?

No, diversity visa lottery winners do not need a U.S. sponsor or employer to apply. Some key advantages of the green lottery include:

  • You do not need an employer or family member to sponsor you.
  • You do not need a job offer or specific qualifications.
  • Your financial situation does not matter – no minimum income required.
  • Processing fees are lower than many other visa types.

One of the main benefits of winning the diversity lottery is that you can get a green card without employer sponsorship or relatives in the U.S. Your own qualifications and application are all that is required if selected.

Can I bring family if I win green lottery?

Yes, winning the green card lottery allows your spouse and unmarried children under 21 to also immigrate with you to the U.S. on diversity visas.

Your spouse and children must be listed on the original entry form. Their visas will be processed at the same time as the primary applicant if all requirements are met.

Children over 21 and parents cannot immigrate on your diversity visa. However, once you become a permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor additional family members later through other visa categories.

How long does green lottery visa last?

Diversity visa immigrants receive permanent resident status (green cards) if approved through the lottery process. Some key details include:

  • The green card does not expire and is valid indefinitely.
  • You must enter the U.S. within 6 months of visa issuance.
  • You can live and work in the U.S. permanently with unrestricted travel.
  • You must renew the physical green card every 10 years.

So in essence, winning the green card lottery gives you permanent resident status for life in the U.S. There are no visas expiration if you remain a resident and renew your documents on schedule.

Can I apply for green lottery again if I don’t win?

Yes, you can and should apply for the green card lottery again in future years if you do not win. There are no limits on how many times you can enter the lottery if eligible.

Many people try for years before being selected. Since winning is random, entering every year until selected or aging out gives you the best odds over time.

Just be aware that you can only apply once during each registration period. Duplicate entries are automatically disqualified by the lottery system.

Does my immigration status matter for green lottery?

Your current immigration status does not matter for eligibility in the diversity visa lottery. Both immigrants and non-immigrants can qualify for the green lottery if they meet the requirements based on country of birth and other criteria.

Some examples of people who can apply include:

  • Student or work visa holders currently in the U.S.
  • Refugees or asylum seekers.
  • People with temporary protected status (TPS).
  • Individuals currently out of status in the U.S.
  • Undocumented immigrants.

The key is meeting the requirements based on country of birth and education/work experience. Your current immigration status does not determine eligibility, so anyone from an eligible country can apply.

Can I adjust status if I win green lottery?

If you are currently living in the U.S. on a different visa and win the green lottery, you may be eligible to adjust status and get your green card without having to return home.

To adjust status through the diversity visa program, you must:

  • Have been physically present in the U.S. when you won the lottery.
  • Remain legally in the U.S. with a valid visa status.
  • Not have worked illegally at any point.
  • Adjust status within the designated timeframe.

Talk to an immigration attorney to determine if you qualify for adjustment of status before making any plans. The process can be complex depending on your situation.

What are the educational requirements for green lottery?

To be eligible for the green card lottery, you must have either:

  • A high school education or equivalent,
  • OR in the past 5 years, two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years of training.

There are a few exceptions:

  • Younger applicants may qualify with just a high school degree and no work experience if they have certain specialized skills.
  • Applicants 55 or older do not need education or work experience to qualify.

In most cases, finishing high school or gaining some specialized work skills is required. The qualifications aim to ensure diversity visa immigrants can support themselves in the U.S.

Can I still qualify if I don’t meet education requirements?

There are two exceptions where you can still qualify without meeting the standard green lottery education requirements:

  1. Younger specialized workers – You can qualify with just a high school degree if you have at least two years of work experience in the past five years in an occupation requiring specialized training. Examples include engineering, sciences, social services, architecture, accounting, etc.
  2. Older applicants – If you are at least 55 years old, you do not need any formal education or specialized work experience to enter the lottery.

So if you lack higher education or extensive work history, you may still potentially qualify under one of these exceptions. The requirements aim to ensure immigrants can support themselves in the U.S.


In summary, the green card lottery or Diversity Visa Program offers a chance for immigrants from underrepresented countries to legally live and work permanently in the United States. Winning the lottery can be life-changing, but requires meeting eligibility criteria, navigating a complex application process, and luck in the random selection.

While the odds of being picked are slim, the rewards of a green card without sponsorship are worth the effort of registering each year you qualify. Just avoiding scams, reading all instructions carefully, and completing all steps on time can help maximize your chances of success in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.