USA Visa Lottery – How to Apply for American Visa Diversity Lottery


The USA visa lottery  otherwise known as Diversity Immigrant Visa program is administered by the Department of State as a way to increase the diversity of the immigrants coming to live in the United States.

Each year, the Diversity Visa program allows more than 50,000 randomly selected people — only from countries that don’t send many immigrants to the United States — to obtain permanent residency (commonly called a “green card”). It’s a way for individuals and families who otherwise wouldn’t have any way to legally immigrate to the United States to get a green card.

The aim of the lottery is to diversify the immigrant population in the United States, by choosing applicants mainly from countries with low immigration to the United States in the previous five years. Eligible applicants for a diversity visa should follow the procedures below to have a full grasp of what this program is all about.


USA Visa Lottery – How to Apply for American Visa Diversity Lottery

Entering the Diversity Visa lottery (aka green card lottery) involves filling out a simple form online, and it doesn’t cost anything. You can enter the lottery every year from early October through early November. The winners are selected at random by a computer, and they and their immediate families receive green cards.

Diversity Visa Cost

There is no fee to enter the green card lottery. However, if you’re selected and choose to apply for a Diversity Visa, you’ll need to pay the mandatory green card application fees. Once selected, you’ll receive information and details of the required fees on the Diversity Visa website at

Diversity Visa Timeline

The winners of the green card lottery are typically notified 7 months after submitting their entry. Once selected, it can take up to 14 months to be scheduled for your interview and receive your visa, depending on how soon you apply for your visa.

For example, if you applied for the 2023 green card lottery during the registration period (Oct-Nov 2021), the winners would be announced sometime in May 2022. You would only be allowed to apply for your visa during fiscal year 2023, which is from Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023. The sooner you apply during that year, the sooner you will be scheduled for your visa interview and be issued your visa.

Once you have your visa, you must enter the United States on or before the expiration date printed on your visa. A Diversity Visa is typically valid for up to 6 months from the date of it was issued.

Diversity Visa Eligibility – USA Visa Lottery

There are two main requirements when applying for a Diversity Visa:

1. Country of birth

In order to be eligible for the Diversity Visa, you must have been born in a country that sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past 5 years. There is some yearly variation in the countries that are eligible, but Canada, China, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom never make the list, because these countries all send a large number of immigrants to the United States.


For the 2023 application period, nationals from the following countries were not eligible to apply:

China (including Hong Kong SAR)
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
South Korea
United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories

For more information, the State Department provides a list of all eligible countries.

If your native country is not eligible, there are still two ways you could qualify for the Diversity Visa:

If your spouse was born in an eligible country, you can apply with your spouse and choose your spouse’s birth country on your application.
If neither of your parents were legal residents in your own country of birth, you can choose your mother or father’s country of birth.

2. Education

The second major requirement for Diversity Visa applicants is that you must have at least a high school degree, or at least two years of work experience within the past five years in a profession that requires at least two years of training, as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

How to Enter the Green Card Lottery

Participating in the lottery is relatively easy. You fill out a form on the State Department’s website while it is available, from early October through early November. Most of the questions are easy to understand; however, there are a few places where these extra suggestions may be helpful:

For “country of birth,” list the country you were born in, regardless of where you currently live. If the country has a different name now than it did when you were born, use the country’s current name.

For “country of eligibility,” list either your country of birth, or—if you qualify to use your spouse’s or your parents’ birth countries—list that country. The country you currently live in is irrelevant for this question.

Your spouse: You must list your spouse, even if he or she doesn’t live with you and does not intend to immigrate with you.

Your children: You must list all of your biological children and all of your adopted children, no matter how old they are. You should also list all of your step-children under age 21, even if you are no longer married to their parent.

You’ll also need to include a recent photo (taken within the past 6 months) of you, your spouse, and your children. Follow the same photo requirements as for a green card application.

Once you submit your application, it’s essential to keep your confirmation number, because this is the only way to know if you’ve been selected. Credit!