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Diversity Visa Lottery

The Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-Lottery) scheme is a unique way in which the US allows persons an opportunity to obtain legal permanent residence status in the United States. By virtue of this scheme, a maximum of 55,000 visas are made available each year through a lottery drawn randomly through a computer, to aliens who are able to meet certain requirements.

These visas are allocated among six geographic regions, namely:

  2. ASIA

Within these regions, only natives (nativity tends to be defined as the persons place of birth) of countries, which have low rates of immigration are eligible. A person from a country, which has sent more than 50,000 immigrants within the last five years, is not eligible to apply for this lottery.

There is a limit of 7% on the giving of visas to natives of any one foreign state.

Persons born in the following countries are not eligible for the DV lottery:

  1. Canada
  2. China (mainland born)
  3. Colombia
  4. Dominican Republic
  5. El Salvador
  6. Haiti
  7. India
  8. Jamaica
  9. Mexico
  10. Pakistan
  11. Philippines
  12. Russia
  13. South Korea
  14. United Kingdom & its dependent territories (except Northern Ireland)
  15. Vietnam

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.

There are two main requirements for eligibility:

  1. The applicant must be born in an eligible country. If an applicant was born in a country that has been declared ineligible, the applicant may claim the spouse’s country of birth, provided both are issued a visa and enter the United States together. Alternatively, under certain circumstances, the person may claim nativity in one of the parents’ country of birth.
  2. The applicant must have a high school education or its equivalent, defined in the U.S. as a successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR the applicant 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.


Entries for the DV-2006 diversity visa lottery must be submitted electronically during a specified time period every year. Applicants may access the electronic diversity visa entry form at during the registration period.

Before each year’s lottery drawing, the Department of State publishes explicit instructions on how to apply, in press releases and the Federal Register. Instructions are usually posted in August and the registration period is usually held in October each year.


Only those who have won the lottery draw will be notified by mail at the address listed on the application. Further instructions and information about fees, etc., will also be sent to the winners. However, winning the lottery draw does not automatically guarantee that a visa will be issued, as the number of entries selected is greater than the number of visas available, as everyone may not have all the qualifications required or may not choose to complete the processing. Once all 50,000 visas have been issued, the diversity visa program for the year comes to an end.

INS Infolinks on Diversity Visa Lottery Program :

  1. How Do I Participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery Program?


The information in this article is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship between Jethmalani & Nallaseth and the viewer.