The Diversity Visa (DV) Program was mandated by the U.S. Congress in order to address the historically low number of immigrants from certain countries. Normally, a prospective immigrant must have a family member already in the U.S. in order to benefit from an Immigrant Visa petition, but the DV Program grants eligibility to apply for a visa to qualified persons even if they do not have a qualifying relative in the U.S.. Thus, a Diversity Visa should be considered in the same light as an Immigrant Visa, although with a different source and qualification process. Because many more people apply for the program each year than there are available visas, selection is made at random by a computer — hence the popular name “visa lottery.”
It must be clearly understood that being selected to participate in the DV program does not guarantee that the applicant will be issued a visa. The standards for qualification are simple, but strictly enforced. In place of the family relationship, each applicant must demonstrate either a sufficient level of education or a combination of qualifying skills and work experience, and must meet all other eligibility criteria for an immigrant to the U.S.
There is no cost to register for the DV Program. All entries for the DV must be submitted electronically on the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the specified registration period. The law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. You are strongly encouraged to complete the entry form yourself, without a “Visa Consultant,” “Visa Agent,” or other facilitator who offers to help. If somebody else helps you, you should be present when your entry is prepared so that you can provide the correct answers to the questions and retain the confirmation page and your unique confirmation number.
Click here for further instructions and information about the Diversity Visa process.