How To Apply For the USA Green Card Lottery

As we start moving into the fall, my office begins to receive inquiries as to when the DV-2018, green card lottery, will begin accepting applications and how to apply .This article will give you a general understanding of the application process.

The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. Roughly 50,000 visas are available each year. We do not expect any reduction or increase in the number of visas for the DV-2018. The DV lottery usually opens from October to November each year.

To qualify for entry into this green card lottery, the entrant should first determine if they are from an eligible country. You can either visit the US State Department website at or to locate this list of eligible countries.

In the event an entrant is not from an eligible country, they could still qualify based upon a marriage to a person from an eligible country or the country of birth of either of the entrant’s parents, if the entrant was born in a country in which neither parent was born and in the entrant’s parents were not residents at the time of the entrant’s birth.

In addition, there is also the requirement that every DV entrant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience. A high school education or equivalent is defined as successful completion of a 12 year course of study of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Only formal courses will meet this requirement.  Correspondence courses or GED equivalents will not.  Documentary proof of the satisfactory completion of the educational requirement will be required at the time of the consular interview.

As to the work experience requirement, the applicant should go onto the US Department of Labor website and check the online database at  to determine if the work experience has a specific vocation preparation range of at least 7 or higher.

To conduct this search, go to and under the “find occupations” select “job family”, make your selection, and click “Go”. From there click on the link for your specific occupation and select the tab “job zone” to find the designated job zone number and specific vocational preparation rating range. If your job is a 7 or higher, you are eligible.

The actual entry form is prepared online and in an electronic format.  It should take no more than (30) thirty minutes to complete the online application and will also require you upload a digital photo of yourself.  There is no fee, it is free to enter.

If applying for yourself and your wife, you can each submit your own applications. Do not submit more than one entry or you will be disqualified.  Any of your single children under the age of 21 can also be included with your application.

As to the age requirements, you have to be a minimum of (18) eighteen years of age. You can submit the application even if you are in the United States, but if you are illegal, it will not be a waiver to file for an Adjustment of status application.

After 6-12 months from the Date of the lottery close, the US Department of State will notify winners via their confirmation number by the entrant accessing the Entrant Status check page on the website. This information will provide the entrant with further visa processing instructions and immigrant visa appointment time and date.

Best of luck!  I do have a number of clients that have won their green cards thru the DV lottery, so take a chance and apply!