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What is the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery?

The United States makes 50,000 green card numbers available annually through random selection and is open to foreign nationals of countries that historically have had low rates of immigration to the United States. Individuals may qualify if they have a high school education (or equivalent) or at least two years of qualifying work experience. Only one entry is allowed per person and there is no cost to register.

Those who were born to the following countries are ineligible this year: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. People who were born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. Foreign nationals who cannot enter because of their birth country may also qualify through their spouse or through a parent’s country of birth in certain circumstances.

The lottery for fiscal year 2017 opened up on Thursday, October 1, 2015; foreign nationals who wish to enter the lottery have until Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at noon EST to file online. Late entries or paper entries will not be accepted.

The Process

  1. Submit the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501) online at dvlottery.state.gov. Please make sure to follow the State Department’s instructions as incomplete entries will not be accepted:
  1. Upon submission, a confirmation number will be issued. Keep the number for your records until May 3, 2016.
  2. Check back on May 3, 2016 through September 30, 2017 for entry status. Results will be posted at dvlottery.state.gov. Foreign nationals can learn whether they were selected only by visiting the official website and entering their confirmation number. The State Department does not notify entrants by letter, e-mail, fax or telephone. If selected, individuals are entitled to apply for visa issuance during the US government fiscal year 2017, which runs from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017.

Please note that being selected does not guarantee a visa will be received; selection merely means eligibility to apply for a Diversity Visa, and if a rank number becomes eligible for final processing.  For more information regarding this process, visit the U.S. Department of State guide on the DV lottery: