Foreignborn.com - US Visas & Immigration
US Immigration and US Visa Help for Foreign-Born for More Than a Decade
Search
Ask a Visa & Immigration Lawyer
US Visa and Immigration Lawyer
Online Now
 letters left
Answers to US visa and immigration questions
A Service of  A Service of The National Association of Foreign-Born     The National Association of Foreign-Born
Related Articles
Share This Article:
Click for Overview | See Related Articles box for more topics »

Diversity Visa Lottery DV-2012: USA Green Card Lottery
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Green Cards

Diversity Visa Lottery Green Card Lottery USA Immigration FAQs 2010 2011 2012

International Money Transfer - International Money Order
THIS ARTICLE

Also see: Green Card Lottery - Diversity Visa Lottery Program

  1. What do the terms "eligibility", "native", and "chargeability" mean? Are there any situations in which persons who were not born in a qualifying country may apply?

  2. Are there any changes or new requirements in the application procedures for this Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery registration?

  3. Are signatures and photographs required for each family member, or only for the principal Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery applicant?

  4. Why do natives of certain countries not qualify for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery program?

  5. What is the numerical limit for DV-2012?

  6. What are the regional Diversity Visa (DV) limits for DV-2012?

  7. When will entries to the DV-2012 program be accepted?

  8. May persons who are in the U.S. apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program?

  9. Is each applicant limited to only one entry during the annual Diversity Visa Lottery registration period?

  10. May a husband and a wife each submit a separate Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery entry?

  11. What family members must I include on my Diversity Visa Lottery entry?

  12. Must I submit my own Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery entry, or may someone act on my behalf?

  13. What are the requirements for education or work experience?

  14. How will Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery winners be selected?

  15. May winning entrants adjust their status with the USCIS?

  16. Will entrants who are not selected be informed?

  17. How many entrants will be selected?

  18. Is there a minimum age for applicants to apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program?

  19. Are there any fees for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program?

  20. Do Diversity Visa Lottery applicants receive waivers of any grounds of visa ineligibility or receive special processing for a waiver application?

  21. May persons who are already registered for an immigrant visa in another category apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program?

  22. How long do applicants who are selected remain entitled to apply for visas in the Diversity Visa category?

  23. When will online Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery registration be available?

  24. Will I be able to download and save the registration form to Microsoft Word or another program and then complete it?

  25. If I do not have access to a scanner, can I send photos to my relative in the U.S. to scan the photos, save the photos to diskette, and then mail the diskette back to me to apply?

  26. Can I save the entry form online so that I can fill out part of it and then come back later to complete the remainder?

  27. If the submitted digital images do not conform to the specifications, the procedures state that the system will automatically reject the entry form and notify the sender. Will I be able re-submit my entry?

  28. Will the confirmation notice that my completed entry has been received by the State Department be sent immediately after submission?

  29. How will I know if the notification of selection that I have received is authentic? How can I confirm that I have in fact been chosen in the random Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery?

 



1. What do the terms "eligibility", "native", and "chargeability" mean? Are there any situations in which persons who were not born in a qualifying country may apply?

Your country of eligibility will normally be the same as your country of birth. Your country of eligibility is not related to where you live. "Native" ordinarily means someone born in a particular country, regardless of the individual's current country of residence or nationality. But for immigration purposes “native” can also mean someone who is entitled to be “charged” to a country other than the one in which he/she was born under the provisions of Section 202(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.

For example, if you were born in a country that is not eligible for this year’s Diversity Visa Lottery Program / USA Green Card Lottery, you may claim chargeability to the country where your derivative spouse was born, but you will not be issued a DV-1 unless your spouse is also eligible for and issued a DV-2, and both of you must enter the United States together with the diversity visas. In a similar manner, a minor dependent child can be “charged” to a parent’s country of birth.

Finally, if you were born in a country not eligible to participate in this year’s Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program, you can be “charged” to the country of birth of either of your parents as long as neither parent was a resident of the ineligible country at the time of the your birth. In general, people are not considered residents of a country in which they were not born or legally naturalized if they are only visiting the country, studying in the country temporarily, or stationed temporarily in the country for business or professional reasons on behalf of a company or government from a country other than the country in which the applicant was born.

If you claim alternate chargeability, you must indicate such information on the Diversity Visa Lottery electronic online entry form, in question #6. Please be aware that listing an incorrect country of eligibility or chargeability (i.e., one to which you cannot establish a valid claim) may disqualify your entry.


2. Are there any changes or new requirements in the application procedures for this Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery registration?
Yes. The registration period is now 30 days for DV-2012. Scanned photographs must now have a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch), rather than 150 dpi. Entry Status Check is now the only way to learn if you are selected, and if so, how to proceed with your immigrant visa / Green Card application, including the appointment for your interview.

All other requirements for DV-2012 remain the same. The Entry Status Check will be available for DV-2012 beginning May 1, 2011. If you applied for the DV-2011 program, you may check the status of your entry until the end of June 2011.


3. Are signatures and photographs required for each family member, or only for the principal Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery applicant?
Signatures are not required on the Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery Entry Form. Recent and individual photos of you, your spouse and all children under 21 years of age are required. Family or group photos are not accepted. Check the photo requirements.


4. Why do natives of certain countries not qualify for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery program?
Diversity Visas are intended to provide an immigration opportunity for persons from countries other than the countries which send large numbers of immigrants to the U.S. The law states that no Diversity Visas shall be provided for natives of "high admission" countries. The law defines this to mean countries from which a total of 50,000 persons in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based visa categories immigrated to the United States during the previous five years. Each year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adds the family and employment immigrant admission figures for the previous five years in order to identify the countries whose natives will be ineligible for the annual Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery. Because there is a separate determination made before each annual DV entry period, the list of countries whose natives are not eligible may change from one year to the next.


5. What is the numerical limit for DV-2012?
By law, the U.S. diversity immigration program makes available a maximum of 55,000 permanent residence visas each year to eligible persons. However, the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning as early as DV-1999, and for as long as necessary, 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. The actual reduction of the limit to 50,000 began with DV-2000 and is likely to remain in effect for the DV-2012 program.


6. What are the regional Diversity Visa (DV) limits for DV-2012?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines the Diversity Visa regional limits for each year according to a formula specified in Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Once the USCIS has completed the calculations, the regional visa limits will be announced.


7. When will entries to the DV-2012 program be accepted?
The DV-2012 entry applications must be submitted electronically between noon, 12:00pm EDT (GMT-4), on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 and noon, 12:00pm EDT (GMT-4), on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 (not before or after). Each year millions apply for the program during the registration period. The massive volume of entries creates an enormous amount of work in selecting and processing successful applicants. Holding the entry period during October and November will ensure successful applicants are notified in a timely manner, and gives both them and US embassies and consulates time to prepare and complete cases for visa issuance. You are strongly encouraged to enter early in the registration period. Excessive demand at end of the registration period may slow the system down. No entries whatsoever will be accepted after noon, 12:00pm EDT (GMT-4), on Wednesday, November 3, 2010.


8. May persons who are in the U.S. apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program?
Yes, an applicant may be in the U.S. or in another country, and the entry may be submitted from the U.S. or from abroad.


9. Is each applicant limited to only one entry during the annual Diversity Visa Lottery registration period?
Yes, the law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period; applicants for whom more than one entry is submitted will be disqualified. The Department of State will employ sophisticated technology and other means to identify individuals that submit multiple entries during the registration period. Applicants submitting more than one Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery entry will be disqualified and an electronic record will be permanently maintained by the Department of State. Applicants may apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program each year during the regular registration period.


10. May a husband and a wife each submit a separate Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery entry?
Yes, a husband and a wife may each submit one Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery entry if each meets the eligibility requirements. If either is selected, the other would be entitled to derivative status.


11. What family members must I include on my Diversity Visa Lottery entry?
On your entry you must list your spouse, that is husband or wife, and all unmarried children under 21 years of age, with the exception of children who are already U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents. You must list your spouse even if you are currently separated from him/her, unless you are legally separated (i.e. there is a written agreement recognized by a court or a court order). If you are legally separated or divorced, you do not need to list your former spouse. You must list ALL your children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age, whether they are your natural children, your spouse’s children, or children you have formally adopted in accordance with the laws of your country, unless such child is already a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident. List all children under 21 years of age even if they no longer reside with you or you do not intend for them to immigrate under the Diversity Visa Program.

The fact that you have listed family members on your entry does not mean that they later must travel with you. They may choose to remain behind. However, if you include an eligible dependent on your visa application forms that you failed to include on your original entry, your case will be disqualified. (This only applies to persons who were dependents at the time the original application was submitted, not those acquired at a later date.) Your spouse may still submit a separate entry, even though he or she is listed on your entry, as long as both entries include details on all dependents in your family. See question 10 above.


12. Must I submit my own Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery entry, or may someone act on my behalf?
You may prepare and submit your own entry, or have someone submit the entry for you. Regardless of whether an entry is submitted by the individual directly, or assistance is provided by an attorney, friend, relative, etc., only one entry may be submitted in the name of each person, and the entrant remains responsible for ensuring that information in the entry is correct and complete. All entrants, including those not selected, will be able to check the status of their entry through Entry Status Check on the official Diversity Visa website. Entrants should keep their own confirmation page information so that they may independently check the status of their entry.


13. What are the requirements for education or work experience?
The law and regulations require that every applicant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or, within the past five years, have two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. A "high school education or equivalent" is defined as successful completion of a twelve-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Only formal courses of study meet this requirement; correspondence programs or equivalency certificates (such as the G.E.D.) are not acceptable. Documentary proof of education or work experience must be presented to the consular officer at the time of the visa interview.

To determine eligibility based on work experience, definitions from the Department of Labor’s O*Net OnLine database will be used. Follow these steps to find out if your occupation qualifies: Select “Find Occupations” and then select a specific “Job Family.” For example, select Architecture and Engineering and click “GO.” Then click on the link for the specific Occupation. Following the same example, click Aerospace Engineers. Select the tab “Job Zone” to find out the designated Job Zone number and Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating range. To qualify for a Diversity Visa on the basis of your work experience, you must have, within the past five years, two years of experience in an occupation that is designated as Job Zone 4 or 5, classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) range of 7.0 or higher.


14. How will Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery winners be selected?
All entries received from each region will be individually numbered by computer. After the end of the registration period, a computer will randomly select entries from among all the entries received for each geographic region. Within each region, the first entry randomly selected will be the first case registered, the second entry selected the second registration, etc. All entries received during the registration period will have an equal chance of being selected within each region. When an entry has been selected, the applicant will be notified through Entry Status Check, available beginning May 1, 2011 on the Diversity Visa website. The Kentucky Consular Center will continue to process the case until those selected to be visa applicants are instructed to appear for visa interviews at a U.S. consular office or until those qualifying to change status in the United States apply at a domestic USCIS office.

Important Note: Notifications to those selected in the random lottery are not sent by email or regular mail. Should you receive an email or mailed notification about your Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery selection, be aware that the message is not legitimate. Only after you are selected, respond to the instructions on Entry Status Check, and processing begins on your case, you may receive email communication from the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) informing you to return to Entry Status Check for new information about your application. The KCC will not ask you to send money to them by mail or by services such as Western Union.


15. May winning entrants adjust their status with USCIS?
Yes, provided they are otherwise eligible to adjust status under the terms of Section 245 of the INA, selected entrants who are physically present in the United States may apply to the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for adjustment of status to permanent resident. Applicants must ensure that USCIS can complete action on their cases, including processing of any overseas derivatives, before September 30, 2012, since on that date registrations for the DV-2012 program expire. No visa numbers for the DV-2012 program will be available after midnight EST on September 30, 2012 under any circumstances.


16. Will entrants who are not selected be informed?
Using the information on your confirmation page from the time of your entry, you can visit Entry Status Check on the Diversity Visa website to learn if you were selected or not. Status information for DV-2012 will be available online from May 1, 2011, until June 30, 2012 (status information for the previous DV lottery, DV-2011, is available online from July 1, 2010, until June 30, 2011).


17. How many entrants will be selected?
There are 50,000 DV visas available for DV-2012, but more than that number of individuals will be selected. Because it is likely that some of the first 50,000 persons who are selected will not qualify for visas or pursue their cases to visa issuance, more than 50,000 entries will be selected by the Kentucky Consular Center to ensure that all of the available DV visas are issued. However, this also means that there will not be a sufficient number of visas for all those who are initially selected. All applicants who are selected will be informed promptly of their place on the list through Entry Status Check on the Diversity Visa website. Interviews with those selected will begin in early October 2011. Each month visas will be issued, visa number availability permitting, to those applicants who are ready for issuance during that month. Once all of the 50,000 DV visas have been issued, the program for the year will end. In principle, visa numbers could be finished before September 2012. Selected applicants who wish to receive visas must be prepared to act promptly on their cases. Random selection by the Kentucky Consular Center computer does not automatically guarantee that you will receive a visa.


18. Is there a minimum age for applicants to apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program?
There is no minimum age to apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program, but the requirement of a high school education or work experience for each principal applicant at the time of application will effectively disqualify most persons who are under age 18.


19. Are there any fees for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program?
There is no fee for entering the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery. Visa fees are charged only after you win, at the time when you apply for the Diversity Visa, and are paid directly to the consular cashier at the embassy or consulate. Details of required Diversity Visa and immigration visa application fees will be included with the instructions sent to those who win the lottery.


20. Do Diversity Visa Lottery applicants receive waivers of any grounds of visa ineligibility or receive special processing for a waiver application?
Applicants are subject to all grounds of ineligibility for immigrant visas specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. There are no special provisions for the waiver of any ground of visa ineligibility aside from those ordinarily provided in the Act, nor is there special processing for waiver requests. Some general waiver provisions for people with close relatives who are US Citizens or Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card) aliens may be available to Diversity Visa applicants as well, but the time constraints in the diversity visa lottery program will make it difficult for applicants to benefit from such provisions.


21. May persons who are already registered for an immigrant visa in another category apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program?
Yes, such persons may apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery Program.


22. How long do applicants who are selected remain entitled to apply for visas in the Diversity Visa category?
Persons selected in the DV-2012 lottery are entitled to apply for visa issuance only during fiscal year 2012, from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012. Applicants must obtain their visa or adjust status by the end of the fiscal year. There is no carry-over of diversity visa benefits into the next year for persons who are selected but who do not obtain visas by September 30, 2012 (the end of the fiscal year.). Also, spouses and children who derive status from a DV-2012 registration can only obtain visas in the diversity visa category between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012. Applicants who apply overseas will receive an appointment notification from the Kentuck Consular Center through Entry Status Check on the Diversity Visa website four to six weeks before the scheduled appointment.


23. When will online Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery registration be available?
Online entries must be submitted electronically between noon, 12:00pm EDT (GMT-4), on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 and noon, 12:00pm EDT (GMT-4), on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 (not before or after) at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov . You are encouraged not to wait until the last week to submit your application because heavy demand may result in delays on the State Department visa lottery website. Paper entries will not be accepted.


24. Will I be able to download and save the registration form to Microsoft Word or another program and then complete it?
No, you will not be able to save the form into another program for completion and submission later. The entry form is a web form only. The information must be filled in and submitted while online.


25. If I do not have access to a scanner, can I send photos to my relative in the U.S. to scan the photos, save the photos to diskette, and then mail the diskette back to me to apply?
Yes, this can be done as long as the photo meets the photo requirements in the instructions, and the photo is electronically submitted with, and at the same time as, the online entry. You must already have the scanned photo file when you submit your entry online. The photo cannot be submitted separate from the online application. Only one online entry for each person can be submitted. Multiple submissions will disqualify your entry. The entire entry (photo and application together) can be submitted
electronically from the United States or from overseas.


26. Can I save the entry form online so that I can fill out part of it and then come back later to complete the remainder?
No, this cannot be done. The Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) Entry Form is designed to be completed and submitted at one time. However, because the form is in two parts, and because of possible network interruptions and delays, the E-DV system is designed to permit up to sixty (60) minutes between the form’s download and when the entry is received at the E-DV website. If more than sixty minutes elapse and the entry has not been electronically received, the information already received is discarded. This is done so that there is no possibility that a full entry could accidentally be interpreted as a duplicate of a previous partial entry. The DV-2012 instructions explain clearly and completely what information is required to fill in the form. Thus you can be fully prepared, making sure you have all of the information needed before you start to complete the form online.


27. If the submitted digital images do not conform to the specifications, the procedures state that the system will automatically reject the entry form and notify the sender. Will I be able re-submit my entry?
Yes, the entry can be resubmitted. Since the entry was automatically rejected, it was not actually considered as submitted to the E-DV website. It does not count as a submitted E-DV entry, and no confirmation notice of receipt is sent. If there are problems with the digital photograph sent, because it does not conform to the requirements, it is automatically rejected by the E-DV website. However, the amount of time it takes the rejection message to reach the sender is unpredictable, given the nature of the Internet. If the problem can be fixed by the applicant, and the Form Part One or Two is re-sent within sixty (60) minutes, there is no problem. Otherwise, the applicant will have to restart the submission process. An applicant can try to submit an application as many times as is necessary until a complete application is received and the confirmation notice sent.


28. Will the confirmation notice that my completed entry has been received by the State Department be sent immediately after submission?
The response from the E-DV website which contains confirmation of the receipt of an acceptable E-DV Entry Form is sent by the E-DV website immediately. However, how long it takes the response to reach the sender is unpredictable, given the nature of the Internet. If many minutes have elapsed since pressing the “Submit” button, there is no harm in pressing the “Submit” button a second time. The E-DV system will not be confused by a situation where the “Submit” button is hit a second time, because no confirmation response has been received. An applicant can try to submit an application as many times as is necessary until a complete application is received and the confirmation notice sent. However, once you receive a confirmation notice, do not resubmit your information.


29. How will I know if the notification of selection that I have received is authentic? How can I confirm that I have in fact been chosen in the random Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery?
Keep your confirmation page. Using the information on your confirmation page from the time of your entry, you must visit Entry Status Check on the Diversity Visa website to learn if you were selected or not. Status information for DV-2012 will be available online May 1, 2011, until June 30, 2012 (status information for the previous DV lottery, DV-2011, is available online from July 1, 2010, until June 30, 2011). If you lose your confirmation information, however, you will not be able to check your diversity visa lottery entry status by yourself, and the government will not resend the confirmation page to you. U.S. embassies and consulates will NOT be able to provide a list of successful applicants.

Selected applicants will pay all Diversity Visa fees in person only at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at the time of the visa application. The Consular Cashier or Consular Officer immediately gives the visa applicant a U.S. Government receipt for payment. You should never send money for Diversity Visa fees through the mail, Western Union, or any other delivery service. If you are already in the US and file for adjustment of status, you will receive separate instructions on how to mail fees to a US bank.

The E-DV lottery entries are submitted on the Internet, on the official US Government E-DV website at www.dvlottery.state.gov, and notifications are provided only through Entry Status Check at the same website. Notifications are not sent by email or regular mail. Should you receive an email or mailed notification about your Diversity Visa Lottery / USA Green Card Lottery selection, be aware that the message is not legitimate. Only after you are selected, respond to the instructions on Entry Status Check, and processing begins on your case, you may receive email communication from the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) informing you to return to Entry Status Check for new information about your application.

Guides from Our Sponsors
Mortgage GuidesLearn to Study Guide
Health Insurance Plans
Your use of this website indicates your agreement to be bound by our Terms of Use. The information provided in this site is not legal advice, is intended to provide basic understanding in summary form, may not be comprehensive, is subject to change, and may not apply to you. Your individual circumstances should be confirmed with the appropriate government agencies or an attorney.
A Service of  A Service of The National Association of Foreign-Born
The National Association of Foreign-Born