Winners get their visas during the 2019 fiscal year that runs from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019. Some in Congress want to end the Diversity Visa program, so if you qualify it is best to enter this year.
How to apply
All entries must be submitted through the DOS online system at www.dvlottery.state.gov (available starting October 3, 2017, at noon EDT). You will need an updated internet browser for application submissions. Incomplete, late, or paper submissions will NOT be accepted. Only one entry may be submitted per person. Spouses may submit separate entries (note that if one spouse is selected, the other is entitled to derivative status regardless of country of birth).
DOS will randomly select individuals by computer. Beginning May 1, 2018, applicants will be able to check the status of their applications at www.dvlottery.state.gov (each applicant receives a unique confirmation number at the time of registration).
Here’s the answer to some common questions about the DV lottery.
Q . If I am in the United States without lawful status and I win the lottery, can I get a green card?
A . In most cases, no. That’s because you need to travel home to get your immigrant visa. By leaving you may face the “unlawful presence” bar to returning. One notable exception is for some overstayed F-1 students. For them, the unlawful presence bar only rarely applies.
Q . How come, year after year, my home country is left off the lottery eligibility list?
A . A country’s nationals are not eligible if 50,000 individuals or more have immigrated from that country over the prior five years.
Q . If I win the lottery, can my family immigrate with me?
A . Yes. Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 can get green cards when you do, no matter where they were born.
Q . Are there other requirements?
A . You must have at least a U.S. or home country high school degree or you must have worked at least two years in a job in which two years of training, experience or education is required.
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