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Diversity Visa Lottery DV-2012: Green Card Lottery Program

Green Cards

Diversity Visa Lottery Green Card Lottery 2010 2011 2012 Immigration Immigrant Visas

International Money Transfer - International Money Order
THIS ARTICLE

Also see our Diversity Visa Lottery FAQs - Green Card Lottery FAQs.


What is the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery Program?
Each year, 50,000 immigrant visas (Green Cards) are made available through a visa lottery to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. None of these visas (Green Cards) are available for people who come from countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years.

If you receive a visa through the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery Program, you will obtain a Green Card and be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. You will also be allowed to bring your wife or husband and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.

The State Department holds the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery every year, and randomly selects applicants from all qualified entries. 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 / Green Card issuance, more than 50,000 entries are selected to ensure that all of the available Diversity Visas are issued. However, this also means that there will not be a sufficient number of visas for all those who are initially selected. Once 50,000 are issued or the fiscal year ends, the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery is closed. Therefore, selected applicants who wish to receive Diversity Visas must be prepared to act promptly on their cases -- random selection by the Kentucky Consular Center computer in the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery does not automatically guarantee that you will receive a visa.

Applicants who are selected by the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery are no longer notified by mail. You must go to the electronic diversity visa website and use Entry Status Check to find out if you have been selected or not. Entry Status Check will be available beginning May 1, 2011 and is the only way those selected will be notified for DV-2012. Entry Status Check will tell you if you are selected, and if so, how to proceed with your immigrant visa / Green Card application, including the appointment for your interview. Interviews with those selected through the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery will begin in October 2011. Each month visas will be issued, visa number availability permitting, to those applicants who are ready for issuance during that month.

The latest Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery is for fiscal year 2012. However, the 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). You are encouraged not to wait until the last week to submit your Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery application because heavy demand may result in delays on the State Department visa lottery website. Paper entries will not be accepted. Persons who are selected are entitled to apply for an immigrant visa (Green Card) that will be issued between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.


Am I Eligible for a Green Card through the Diversity Visa Lottery / Green Card Lottery?
You must (1) be from a qualified country and (2) meet an education or training requirement:

  1. You or your husband or wife must be a native of a country that is eligible to participate in the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery (if you were born in an ineligible country but your husband or wife was born in an eligible country, you can claim your husband or wife’s country of birth as long as you are listed on your husband or wife's entry and you both are issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously). You may also be eligible to apply for the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery if your parent was born in a country that is eligible to participate (if you were born in an ineligible country, but neither of your parents was born there or resided there at the time of your birth, you may be able to claim nativity in one of your parents’ country of birth). For a list of eligible countries, click on the appropriate region:

For DV-2012, natives of the following countries are not eligible for the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery: BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible. For DV-2012, no countries have been added or removed from the previous year's list of eligible countries.

  1. To be eligible for a Green Card through the Diversity Visa Lottery / Green Card Lottery, you must also have a high school diploma or the equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR you must have two years of work experience within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.

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.


How Do I Apply for a Green Card through the Diversity Visa Lottery / Green Card Lottery?

Follow all directions exactly. Millions of Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery applications are rejected each year for failure to follow the directions.

  • Entries for the DV-2012 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.

  • You may prepare and submit your own Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery entry, or have someone submit the entry for you. Failure to complete the form in its entirety will disqualify your entry.

  • If someone else prepares your entry form, you are encouraged to be present when it is submitted, and you should keep a copy of the confirmation page and your confirmation number. The confirmation number is required to find out if you are selected and to proceed with the immigration process, and you do not want anyone to lose or withhold this number from you for any reason.

  • A successfully registered visa lottery entry will result in the display of a confirmation screen containing your name and a unique confirmation number. You should print this confirmation screen for your records using the print function of your web browser. Starting May 1, 2011, you will be able to check the status of your Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery entry by returning to the website and using Entry Status Check. You will be asked to enter your unique confirmation number and personal information. Entry Status Check is the only way you can find out if you are selected, and if so, how to proceed with your immigrant visa / Green Card application, including the appointment for your interview. So, do not lose your confirmation number!

Note: All Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery entries by an applicant will be disqualified if more than ONE entry for the applicant is received, regardless of who submitted the entry.

  • You will be asked to submit the following information:
  1. Full name
    Last/Family Name, First Name, Middle name

  2. Date of Birth
    Day, Month, Year

  3. Gender
    Male or Female

  4. City/Town of Birth

  5. Country of Birth
    The name of the country should be that which is currently in use for the place where you were born

  6. Country of Eligibility or Chargeability for the DV Program
    Your country of eligibility will normally be the same as your country of birth. If you were born in a country that is not eligible for this year’s Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery program, you may still be able to claim “chargeability” to the country where your spouse was born or where one of your parents was born, with certain restrictions -- see our frequently asked question #1 . Your country of eligibility is not related to where you live.

  7. Your Recent Photograph (also see #15 and #16 for spouse & children)
    Failure to submit the required photographs for you, your spouse, and each child listed will result in an incomplete entry that will not be accepted and must be resubmitted. Failure to enter the correct photograph of each individual into the system will result in your disqualification and the refusal of all visas associated with the case at the time of the visa interview.

    You will need a computer file for each digital photo (image) that will be submitted online with your entry form. The image file can be produced either by taking a new digital photograph or by scanning a photographic print with a digital scanner.

    If the submitted digital images do not conform to the following technical specifications, the system will automatically reject the entry form and notify the sender:

    • Color photographs in 24-bit color depth are required. Black and white, monochrome, or grayscale photographs will NOT be accepted.

    • The image must be in JPEG format (Joint Photographic Experts Group).

    • The maximum image file size is 240 kilobytes (240 KB).

    • The minimum image resolution must be 600 pixels high by 600 pixels wide, and the height must equal the width.

    • Scanned photographs should be scanned at a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi) in 24-bit color mode.

    You can verify that your photograph meets the technical requirements by testing it at: http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/photo.aspx.

    If the submitted digital images do not conform to the following specifications, or if they are manipulated or not recent, the entry will be disqualified:

    • You must be directly facing the camera; your head should not be tilted up, down or to the side.

    • Your head height (measured from the top of the head, including the hair, to the bottom of the chin) must be between 50 percent and 69 percent of the image's total height. Your eye height (measured from the bottom of the image to the level of your eyes) should be between 56 percent and 69 percent of the image's height.

    • The photo should have you in front of a neutral, light-colored background. Photos taken with very dark or patterned, busy backgrounds will not be accepted.

    • Photos in which your face is not in focus will not be accepted.

    • Photos in which you are wearing sunglasses or other items that detract from your face will not be accepted.

    • Photos with head coverings or hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs, and even then, may not obscure any portion of your face. Photos with tribal or other headgear not specifically religious in nature are not acceptable. Photos of military, airline or other personnel wearing hats will not be accepted.

  8. Mailing Address
    In Care of, Address Line 1, Address Line 2, City/Town, District/Country/Province/State, Postal Code/Zip Code, Country

    This must be clear and complete, because any future mailings will be sent there.

  9. Country Where You Live Today

  10. Phone Number (optional)

  11. Email Address
    Provide an email address to which you have direct access. You will NOT receive an official selection letter at this address. However, if your entry is selected and you respond to the official notification on Entry Status Check, you may receive follow-up communication by email from the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) notifying you to go to Entry Status Check for details of your immigrant visa interview.

  12. The Highest Level of Education You Have Achieved, As of Today
    You must indicate which one of the following represents your own highest level of educational achievement: (1) Primary school only, (2) High school, no degree, (3)
    High school degree, (4) Vocational school, (5) Some university courses, (6) University degree, (7) Some graduate level courses, (8) Master degree, (9) Some doctorate level courses, and (10) Doctorate degree.

  13. Marriage Status
    Unmarried, Married, Divorced, Widowed, or Legally Separated

  14. Number of Children that are unmarried and under 21 years of age (except children who are already U.S. legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens)

    Include all natural children, as well as all legally-adopted and stepchildren, who are unmarried and under the age of 21, except those children who are already U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders), even if you are no longer legally married to the child’s parent, and even if the spouse or child does not currently reside with you and/or will not immigrate with you.

    Failure to list all such children will result in your disqualification for the Diversity Visa. Married children and children 21 years or older will not qualify for the Diversity Visa. However, if your electronic Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery entry is made before your unmarried child turns 21, and the child turns 21 before visa issuance, he/she will be treated as though he/she were under 21 for visa-processing purposes.

  15. Spouse Information (Wife, Husband)
    Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, Country of Birth, Photograph

    Failure to list your spouse (wife or husband) will result in your disqualification for the Diversity Visa. You must list your spouse even if you plan to be divorced before you apply for a visa. The recent photograph of your spouse has the same requirements as the one you submit for yourself (see #7 above). Group or family photos will not be accepted; there must be a separate photo for each family member.

  16. Children Information
    Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, Country of Birth, Photographs

    Include all children declared in #14 above

    The recent photographs for each child have the same requirements as the one you submit for yourself (see #7 above). Group or family photos will not be accepted; there must be a separate photo for each family member.


How Much Does the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery Cost?

There is no fee for entering the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa 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 to those who win the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery.

While you may apply for the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery yourself without a fee, you may also choose to have a private service assist you. These firms will generally charge between $50-$70. An attorney will typically charge more. If someone else prepares your entry form, you are encouraged to be present when it is submitted, and you should keep a copy of the confirmation page and your confirmation number. The confirmation number is required to find out if you are selected and to proceed with the immigration process, and you do not want anyone to lose or withhold this number from you for any reason.

A qualified Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery entry submitted electronically directly by you has an equal chance of being selected by the computer at the Kentucky Consular Center as does a Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery entry submitted electronically by a private service or attorney who completes the entry for you. Every entry received during the visa lottery registration period will have an equal random chance of being selected within its region. However, receipt of more than one entry per person will disqualify the person from visa lottery registration, regardless of the source of that entry.


How Can I Find Out If I Won the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery?
Using the information on your confirmation page from the time of your visa lottery entry, you must visit the Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery website's Entry Status Check 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 Green Card Lottery, DV-2011, is available online from July 1, 2010, until June 30, 2011).

Entry Status Check is the only way those selected will be notified for DV-2012. Winners are no longer notified by mail. Entry Status Check will tell you if you are selected, and if so, how to proceed with your immigrant visa / Green Card application, including the appointment for your interview. U.S. embassies and consulates will NOT be able to provide a list of successful Diversity Visa Lottery applicants.

Being selected as a winner does not automatically guarantee that you will be issued a Diversity Visa, even if you are qualified. The number of entries selected is greater than the number of immigrant visas available, because not everyone selected will be qualified for the visa or will choose to complete the processing.

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 50,000 visas have been issued, the diversity visa program for the year will end.

DV-2012 visas will be issued between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012. Applicants must meet ALL eligibility requirements under U.S. law in order to be issued visas. Processing of entries and issuance of Diversity Visas to successful applicants and their eligible family members MUST occur by midnight on September 30, 2012. Under no circumstances can Diversity Visas be issued or adjustments approved after this date, nor can family members obtain Diversity Visas to follow to join the applicant in the U.S. after this date.


HELP! with Obtaining a Green Card through the Diversity Visa Lottery / Green Card Lottery

  • Have a specific question? To help you find an answer quickly, we have placed "Ask a Visa & Immigration Lawyer" boxes on this page. Simply type a question in any of the boxes to receive a response online from a visa and immigration lawyer.

  • For additional information, see our Diversity Visa Lottery FAQs - Green Card Lottery FAQs about DV-2012.

  • For assistance in your country, contact the nearest U.S. Consulate.

  • In the U.S., you may call the State Department's Diversity Visa Lottery Information Center at 1-900-884-8840 for more information. Please note: There is a charge for each call.

  • You may also contact the State Department's Visa Office at 202-663-1225, or email a general inquiry to usvisa@state.gov. Be sure to indicate the general subject of your inquiry on the subject line (such as "DV-2012"), and do not expect an immediate reply. You may also write to:

    U.S. Department of State
    Visa Services
    Washington, DC 20520-0113



List of Qualifying Countries by Region: 2012 Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery


AFRICA

ALGERIA
ANGOLA
BENIN
BOTSWANA
BURKINA FASO
BURUNDI
CAMEROON
CAPE VERDE
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
CHAD
COMOROS
CONGO
CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE
COTE D’IVOIRE (IVORY COAST)
DJIBOUTI
EGYPT
EQUATORIAL GUINEA
ERITREA
ETHIOPIA
GABON
GAMBIA, THE
GHANA
GUINEA
GUINEA-BISSAU
KENYA
LESOTHO
LIBERIA
LIBYA
MADAGASCAR
MALAWI
MALI
MAURITANIA
MAURITIUS
MOROCCO
MOZAMBIQUE
NAMIBIA
NIGER
NIGERIA
RWANDA
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
SENEGAL
SEYCHELLES
SIERRA LEONE
SOMALIA
SOUTH AFRICA
SUDAN
SWAZILAND
TANZANIA
TOGO
TUNISIA
UGANDA
ZAMBIA
ZIMBABWE

Note: Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt.


ASIA

AFGHANISTAN
BAHRAIN
BANGLADESH
BHUTAN
BRUNEI
BURMA
CAMBODIA
EAST TIMOR
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
INDONESIA
IRAN
IRAQ
ISRAEL
JAPAN
JORDAN
KUWAIT
LAOS
LEBANON
MALAYSIA
MALDIVES
MONGOLIA
NEPAL
NORTH KOREA
OMAN
QATAR
SAUDI ARABIA
SINGAPORE
SRI LANKA
SYRIA
TAIWAN
THAILAND
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
YEMEN

Natives of the following Asian countries are not eligible for this year’s Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery program: CHINA - [mainland-born ], INDIA, PAKISTAN, SOUTH KOREA, PHILIPPINES, and VIETNAM. The HONG KONG S.A.R. and TAIWAN do qualify and are listed above. MACAU S.A.R. also qualifies and is listed below (EUROPE).

Persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, and Syria are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, and Syria.


EUROPE

ALBANIA
ANDORRA
ARMENIA
AUSTRIA
AZERBAIJAN
BELARUS
BELGIUM
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
BULGARIA
CROATIA
CYPRUS
CZECH REPUBLIC
DENMARK (including components and dependent areas overseas)
ESTONIA
FINLAND
FRANCE (including components and dependent areas overseas)
GEORGIA
GERMANY
GREECE
HUNGARY
ICELAND
IRELAND
ITALY
KAZAKHSTAN
KOSOVO
KYRGYZSTAN
LATVIA
LIECHTENSTEIN
LITHUANIA
LUXEMBOURG
MACAU SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
MACEDONIA
MALTA
MOLDOVA
MONACO
MONTENEGRO
NETHERLANDS (including components and dependent areas overseas)
NORTHERN IRELAND
NORWAY
PORTUGAL (including components and dependent areas overseas)
ROMANIA
RUSSIA
SAN MARINO
SERBIA
SLOVAKIA
SLOVENIA
SPAIN
SWEDEN
SWITZERLAND
TAJIKISTAN
TURKEY
TURKMENISTAN
UKRAINE
UZBEKISTAN
VATICAN CITY

Natives of the following European countries are not eligible for this year’s Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery program: GREAT BRITAIN and POLAND. GREAT BRITAIN (UNITED KINGDOM) includes the following dependent areas: ANGUILLA, BERMUDA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CAYMAN ISLANDS, FALKLAND ISLANDS, GIBRALTAR, MONTSERRAT, PITCAIRN, ST. HELENA, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS. Note that for purposes of the diversity program only, Northern Ireland is treated separately; Northern Ireland does qualify and is listed among the qualifying areas.


NORTH AMERICA

BAHAMAS, THE

(In North America, natives of CANADA and MEXICO do not qualify for this year's diversity program.)


OCEANIA

AUSTRALIA (including components and dependent areas overseas)
FIJI
KIRIBATI
MARSHALL ISLANDS
MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF
NAURU
NEW ZEALAND (including components and dependent areas overseas)
PALAU
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
SAMOA
SOLOMON ISLANDS
TONGA
TUVALU
VANUATU


SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
ARGENTINA
BARBADOS
BELIZE
BOLIVIA
CHILE
COSTA RICA
CUBA
DOMINICA
GRENADA
GUYANA
HONDURAS
NICARAGUA
PANAMA
PARAGUAY
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
SAINT LUCIA
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
SURINAME
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
URUGUAY
VENEZUELA

(Countries in this region whose natives are not eligible for this year’s Green Card Lottery / Diversity Visa Lottery program are: BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, JAMAICA, MEXICO, and PERU.

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