There are only 10 days remaining to register for the green card lottery. The open registration period began October 2 and will end Saturday, November 3 at noon Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4). However, if history is any lesson, the U.S. State Department computer servers will likely become overwhelmed with last minute applications, so do not wait until the last several days to register.
Known as “DV-2014” (named for the year in which so-called diversity visas are awarded), the annual green card lottery provides 50,000 visas to 100,000 winners out of at least 9 million applicants to natives of countries all over the world, except those with significant numbers of immigrants already living in the U.S.
Specifically, this excludes the following visa-ineligible countries (and islands that are part of the United Kingdom): ANGUILLA, BANGLADESH, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland born), COLUMBIA, BERMUDA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CAYMAN ISLANDS, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, FALKLAND ISLANDS, GIBRALTAR, GREAT BRITAIN, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, MONTSERRAT, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, PITCAIRN, SOUTH KOREA, ST. HELENA, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland), and VIETNAM.
Last year, Bangladesh was declared ineligible for the first time, reducing the number of applicants by 7.6 million. And this year Guatemala is a visa-eligible country.
Part of the reason for the green card lottery’s continuing popularity is the relatively low entry requirements. All the applicant needs to qualify is proof of a secondary high school education and birth in a visa-eligible country (any country not in the above list). If you have no criminal history and can prove you can support yourself financially (either via savings, a job offer, or sponsorship by a friend or relative) then you should be able to pass your visa interview and get a green card.
All DV applicants will receive a confirmation number that looks like this: 20142UPV0LIQOL9D. Then, beginning May 1, 2013, they can enter their number, last name, and birth date on the State Department Entry Status Check (ESC) site to see if they won.
Winners can adjust status if they are living in the U.S., or interview at the U.S. Consulate in their home country if they are living abroad. But in some cases, winners already living in the U.S. under a temporary visa may choose to return home for their interview.
Although applying is relatively easy if you have a good passport photo in digital format, there are many pitfalls, both at the application stage and the interview stage. For example, if you fail to list all your children (even step children) under the age of 21, you will later be disqualified if you win.
And what do you do if you are separated from your wife, but do not have a photo of her that passes the online photo check?
Further, if you are DACA-eligible and from a visa-eligible country (not Mexico) then you have a choice to make whether or not to enter.
And should you use a visa lottery service or enter on your own? If so, which one?
All of this and much more is discussed in the ninth edition of our booklet Win the Green Card Lottery, the COMPLETE Do-It-Yourself Guide to the USA Diversity Visa Lottery. The first three chapters are available at no cost on the Free Downloads page at myGreencard.com.