A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Green Card Lottery (DV-2018)

Want a U.S. green card?  Maybe the visa lottery is the answer.  The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program 2018 is a visa lottery program created by Congress. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery. It is an annual program which opens to all individuals world-wide with approximately 50,000 visas available. For fiscal year 2018, the online application period will run from Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 12:00 noon, EST, to Monday, November 7, 2016 at 12:00 noon, EST.

Where to apply and what are the costs?
The lottery is free of charge! It is an official government immigration program and the U.S. Department of State supervises the program. The department has set up an official website where all applications have to be submitted. Official Application Website of the U.S. Government: www.dvlottery.state.gov .

Any applicant that wishes to enroll this immigration program must first pass two basic immigration entry requirements:

1. Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China(mainland-born), Columbia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. 
Note: Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt for the DV2018 Green Card Lottery this year. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are also eligible to enter the DV2018 Lottery. And Ecuador is once again eligible this year!

    a) Applicants that were born in a none-qualifying country may still be able to enter the DV2018 Green Card Lottery based on the native country of spouse. If the applicant was born in a none-qualifying country, but his/her spouse was born in a qualifying country, then he/she can claim the spouse’s country of birth as his/her country of eligibility. However, the applicant will not be issued a diversity visa green card unless his/her spouse also is eligible for and issued a DV green card, and both the applicant and the spouse enter the United States together with the diversity visa green cards.

    b) Applicants also eligible to apply the DV2018 Green Card Lottery based on the native country of parents. As long as neither of the applicant's parents was born in this ineligible country, and they were not residents in the ineligible country at the time of applicant’s birth, then the applicant is eligible to apply. The parents might have lived only temporarily in the ineligible country because of their studies, jobs or vacations, so they would not be considered as residents of the country when the applicants were born.

2. Education and Work Experience Requirement: An applicant must either have a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.

When and how to submit an entry
Entries for the DV-2018 program must be submitted electronically from Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 12:00 noon, EST, to Monday, November 7, 2016 at 12:00 noon, EST. Applicants may access the electronic DV Entry Form (E-DV) at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. Paper entries will not be accepted.

Selection process
Lucky winners will be randomly selected by a computer system.  There are no way to improve the odds of getting selected.  As stated before, all eligible members within a family may apply individually, thus increasing the chance of winning.

How to find out the results
Beginning May 2, 2017, applicants will be able to check the status of their DV-2018 entries online.  Visit www.dvlottery.state.gov, click on Entrant Status Check, and enter the unique confirmation number and personal information. Entrant Status Check will be the only means through which applicants may check the status of their applications.  It will also provide instructions to the winners of the visa lottery how to proceed with the application process, and also notify them of their appointments for their immigrant visa interview.

The DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple but strict requirements. Applicants should carefully follow the program instructions to fill-out the application form and submit all required photographs. Entries not following the official instructions and requirements will be rejected and disqualified. Furthermore, DHS is technologically capable of identifying fraudulent entries, illegal entries or multiple entries. Also, do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays.


  1. Can you give me some info on how to re-apply for status? Are they any provisions, thatcan help me obtain status? I have been here since 1988, without any problems at all.