What is the DV Lottery?
The U.S. Department of State offers the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program or DV Program, which annually draws 50,000 randomly selected individuals from a pool of selected countries, is an effort by the U.S. government to diversify the immigrant pool. This lottery system comes from the Immigration and Nationality Act and puts a ceiling on the percentage of total visas any one country can obtain. The rule is that no countries’ citizens may get more than seven percent of the total allotted visas per year. Each year, dates are announced when applications are open for registration in a limited duration and there are no fees associated with the registration.
Countries with historically low immigration rates that are considered in the DV Lottery are the following:
- India (Tamil)
- Sri Lanka
Qualifying for the Diversity Visa Application
- The diversity visa applicant must have a high school education or equivalent standing; or
- Two years of qualifying work experience within the last five year in a U.S. Department of Labor designated qualifying occupation
The U.S. Department of Labor defines these jobs as a role that requires at least two years of training, has a Specific Vocational Preparation rating of 7 or higher, and is designated as a Zone 4 or 5 job. Please visit their website at O Net Online to find these qualifying jobs.
If you do not qualify for these educational and occupational requirements, do not continue with your diversity visa application as any fees processed will not be refunded and you will likely be disqualified.
Submitting a Registration
All entries are submitted through the Electronic Diversity Visa website and each individual who qualifies to apply may only apply once per year. If you are caught submitting more than one entry, you will be disqualified. Ensure all information you submit is accurate and submit the registration. Once you have completed the registration, make sure you print or keep a copy of your confirmation number as this will be used to identify your case if you are selected to move forward with the DV Lottery.
In May of each year, the Electronic Diversity Visa Website will be updated for applicants to enter in their confirmation number into the Entrant Status Check to see if you have been randomly chosen to move forward with the diversity visa process. The Entrant Status Check is the only legitimate source to fine the status of your application. Further information on fees and continuing the process will be provided on the confirmation page.
Scheduling an Interview
Once you have gone through the processing on the Diversity Visa Website, you will then schedule an interview with a U.S. consular or embassy office. If you are already physically in the U.S. when you have been accepted for the lottery, you can adjust your status to apply for permanent residence.
Prepare Documents for Your Consular Interview
All documents listed below must come from the official entity that provides the original or a legitimate copy. Bring the physical copy or original of the documents to your interview. Do not mail documents to the Kentucky Consular Center as they will be destroyed and not reviewed. Documents that are not in English must have certified translations brought along as well.
- Proof of education and/or work experience
- Certificate of completion of U.S. high school education or foreign equivalent
- Vocational degrees are not considered equivalent education
- Documentation demonstrating at least two years of work experience in the last five years in a job qualified by the U.S. Department of Labor
- Original birth certificates in long form, short form birth certificates will not be accepted
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Both parents’ names
- Annotation by official authority that it is authentic
- Court or prison records if applicable
- Marriage certificate or termination document if applicable
- Military records
- Police records if the applicant is 16 years old or more
- Custody documentation for adopted children
- Medical exam documentation in sealed envelope with necessary vaccinations
- Examination must be conducted by an authorized doctor by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
- Two identical photographs, details can be found here
- Passport that does not expire within 6 months of intended entry date of U.S.
- DS 260 confirmation page
Submit a DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application
Once you submit the form online, you will need to print the confirmation page and bring it with you to your consular interview. Please visit our DS 260 page for more information.
After submitting DS 260, the Kentucky Consular Center will notify you by email to check the Electronic Diversity Visa Website for the scheduled interview time and place. With your DV entry confirmation number, you will be able to access the appropriate information through the Entry Status Check. If you are applying for visas with your family, bring your spouse and children along with the required documentation listed above.
Each person applying for the diversity visa must pay $330 before the interview takes place. This is non-refundable regardless of the outcome of the visa interview process.
After the Interview
Once you interview with a consular officer has ended, you will informed whether you application was approved or denied. If you were approved, you will be given an expected date of when and how you will receive your passport with your new visa. If you were denied, you will be informed of the reasons why.
Once your passport is returned to you, you will also receive:
- Sealed immigrant packet to be remained sealed until you present it to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon your arrival to the U.S.
- Notice to pay the immigrant visa fee to the USCIS. Further instructions can be found here.
Once you arrive in the U.S. and pass the customs agents, you will be granted Lawful Permanent Resident status or also known as a green card holder.