The basics of the program
The Green Card Lottery is held by the government annually. Each year, 110,000 applicants are randomly chosen from the pool of all applicants with qualifying entries. When the program’s registration period closes, entries are randomly selected by geographic region by way of a computer. All entries from each geographic region have an equal chance of winning.
Once selected, the winners are sent a notification from the Kentucky Consular Center, providing information on how to apply for their visa. From there, winners are contacted by a consular office and they will be required to provide proof that all eligibility requirements (such as work experience) have been met. Note that green card winners are not required to have a sponsor in order to gain entry into the United States, such as is the case with regular green card applicants.
Applying for the program
Every August, the U.S. State Department puts out press releases that outline the detailed instructions on how to apply for the program, and registration typically begins in October. Application forms are available online only. It’s important to ensure that the information provided on the form is accurate and complete, because if any information is not legible, missing, inaccurate or otherwise not in compliance with regulations, the entry will be disqualified. There is no fee to enter the Green Card Lottery, but there is a charge for winners to obtain an immigrant visa as well as a visa lottery surcharge.
Information required for application
The U.S. Green Card Lottery application form requires applicants to provide the following information:
- Full legal name
- Date and place of birth
- Full mailing address and telephone number
- Email address
- Country of eligibility
- Marital status
- Number of unmarried children under 21 years of age
- Spousal information, if applicable
- Recent photos of applicant
In addition to providing this information, applicants must also meet two application eligibility criteria:
First, he or she must be a native (having been born in) a qualifying country. Not all countries’ residents are eligible for the Green Card Lottery; the lottery is only open to those countries that have low immigration to the United States. Note that this criteria refers only to the applicant’s country of birth, not the country of current residence or citizenship.
Second, applicants must have completed a foreign equivalent of the requirements of an American high school diploma or have had at least two years of work experience in the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training and/or experience.
(Photo by giuseppemilo via Flickr)
Article written by Edwin