The US Visa lottery also known as Diversity Immigration visa or green card allows up to 55,000 immigrant into the United states yearly. This type of visa unlike other types is a game of luck and is drawn from random selection among all entries. The selectees are individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States in the previous 5 years.
As a matter of fact, the aim of this type of Visa is to diversify the population of the immigrants in the US. This is to ensure that every race and country is properly represented.
The DV Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS).
A lucky winner of a visa lottery will automatically move to US and can file for permanent residency or green card.
Who is eligible for a US Visa Lottery?
It is true that the US visa lottery or the Diversity immigration visa encourages everybody to apply for an unconditional offer of immigration. However, there are some criteria to be met in other to qualify for the lottery.
- The Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program requires the principal DV applicant to have a high school education. This means a 12 years elementary and secondary school education or its equivalent. Alternatively, a two years of qualifying work experience as defined under provisions of U.S. law.
- You must possess a valid international passport number as at the time of application or be exempted under the category of people exempted from providing an international number.
Requirements For Visa Lottery Application
For you to apply for the US visa lottery, You will need to file this document (Form I-485) at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The following documents are to be submitted with Form I-485;
- Two passport photographs.
- A Copy of birth certificate.
- Medical and vaccination examination report.
- Copy of passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if applicable).
- Copy of passport page with admission (entry) or parole stamp (if applicable).
- Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
- Certified copies of court records (if the individual has been arrested).
- Copy of the principal applicant’s selection letter for the diversity visa lottery from DOS.
- Copy of the receipt from DOS for the diversity visa lottery processing fee.
- Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (if applicable)
- Applicable fees
Steps To Apply For A Visa Lottery
Each fiscal year, the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program portal is opened for application. The department of state usually upload the information regarding the opening and closing of the portal. Note that the process of submitting a visa lottery is free and easy. Therefore, do not listen to fraudsters who will tell you to send them money.
Most importantly, it is important to adhere to the instructions regarding the dates of the registration period during which you will be able to enter an entry.
Step 1: Fill the Diversity Immigrant Visa form.
Application for a lottery visa is never accepted on paper, rather, the entry is online. The application is free and easy, therefore, do not pay any agent or facilitator any money to help you file the application. Note that late submission or multiple submission of the US visa lottery automatically disqualifies your application.
After you complete the online application, a confirmation screen containing your name and a unique confirmation number will appear. Print this confirmation screen and make sure you keep your confirmation number safe. This is because, your confirmation number only gives you access to track your application.
Step 2: Track the status of your application
The selection process for the visa lottery is random and is based on the allocation to each regions or countries that applied. If you are lucky, your application will be selected.
However, the department of state will never send you any notification mail, publish a list or whatsoever regarding your selection status. Therefore, it is your duty to track the application and know when selected. This you can do by checking the ED-V website with your confirmation number to know your entry status.
Step 3: File for a US Visa application
If you are lucky to be one of the selectees, You can go ahead to file for a visa at a US embassy or consulate. However, if you are already in the US at the time you were selected, you can go ahead to file for permanent residency permit or green card.
Note that there is no guarantee you will get a visa because you qualified for the Lottery. Therefore, you will need to also qualify by the United States law to be eligible for a visa.
Step 4: Qualification verification
After you have been selected, the first document that needs verification is the qualification documents you submitted. As seen above, for you to qualify for the Diversity visa, you must either have a high school education qualification or a two years of qualifying work experience according to United States law.
Again, your passport number will be required for verification. This is to make sure that your passport is eligible for international travels. Notwithstanding, there are 3 categories of people who are exempted from providing a passport number. Go through the DV website to know if you are eligible.
Step 5: Filling Form DS-260 with Supporting documents
To file for the DS-260 form, you will need to enter your DV case number into the online DS-260 form to access and update the information about yourself and your family that you included in your DV entry.
Note that any alteration of the information provided during the DV entry may disqualify you from getting a visa. Unless in the case where your marital status changed within the time you applied or you had an extra kid that was not formerly captured. Other personal information that you try to change may likely put you in trouble.
After filling and updating the DS-260 form, you click the sign and submit option. Then, print the confirmation page to be taken to your visa interview.
The Kentucky Consular Centre (KCC) receives and process your documents. After that, they will notify you to scan and send in your supporting documents such as; Birth certificate, police and prison records, your passport photograph and any other document.
Note that you are to take the original documents to your interview.
Step 6: Paying Fees
Before the interview, each applicant must pay the Diversity Visa fee. For DV-2022 applicants, the fee is $330 per person. This fee is nonrefundable, whether a visa is issued or not.
Also note that fee payment vary between different U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Therefore, confirm from your chosen Embassy how the fees are paid.
Step 7: Get ready for the visa interview
First thing you must have at the back of your mind is that you may win a visa lottery and still be denied a US visa. Therefore, you have to do whatever that will make you qualify for visa grant.
After the Kentucky Consular Center has reviewed your completed DS-260, you may receive an e-mail from KCC to let you know that an interview has been scheduled at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate you selected on your DS-260 form.
Then it is left for you to note the date, location and time of interview and make sure you are there at least 30 mins before the interview. While going for the interview, make sure you have the original copies of the documents you submitted online. In addition, you are required to go with a medical and vaccination result, 2 identical passport photographs, DS-260 confirmation page, your travel passport and payment receipts.
Step 8: Visa status notification
The consular officer notifies you if the visa is approved or denied. If You are successful, you can then start preparing for your migration to US.
According to the US Embassy, “Nigerians are no longer eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery. Only people that were born outside of Nigeria or have parents that were born outside of Nigeria are eligible for the Diversity Visa. If you were born in Nigeria to Nigerian born parents, you are not eligible for the visa lottery”.
Therefore, if you are a Nigerian and you want to migrate to US, You can follow the link in the post for visa application alternatives.