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American Green Card: Diversity Lottery Program

The Diversity Lottery Program helps 50,000 people a year obtain permanent residency (a Green Card) if they are from of a country with low rates of immigration to America.

The program is based around a lottery-style selection process and run by the State Department's National Visa Center. Qualifying entrants selected from the lottery pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence, allowing them to live and work in America permanently.

Applicants must be from a country which has not sent more than 50,000 immigrants to America in the past five years, and if invited to apply for permanent residency they will be allowed to bring their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to America.

To be eligible for the Diversity Lottery:

Diversity Lottery Program

Nationals from these countries are not eligible to enter the Diversity Lottery
China (Mainland born)
Dominic Republic
El Salvador
South Korea
United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories

Being selected as a winner in the diversity visa lottery does not automatically guarantee a visa, even if the applicant is qualified. The number of entries selected by the National Visa Center is always greater than the number of immigrant visas available, because not everyone selected will be qualified for the visa or will choose to complete the processing.

Instructions listing information relevant to the Diversity Lottery Program is usually made available in August, and registration for the lottery is usually held in October each year. Once all 50,000 green card visas have been issued, the Diversity Visa Program for the year will end.