Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States congressionally-mandated lottery program for receiving a United States Permanent Resident Card. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery. The lottery is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 to provide for a new class of immigrants known as "diversity immigrants" (DV immigrants). The Act makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
Distribution and lottery process
The visas are distributed on a regional basis, with each region sending fewer immigrants to the US in the previous 5 years receiving more diversity visas. Currently, Africa and Europe receive about 80% of the visas in the lottery.In addition, no single country can receive more than 7% of the total number of visas (3,500).
In order to allow for those who do not pursue immigrant visas, and for the applicants who do not qualify, more 'winners' are selected in the lottery than there are visas available. Hence being selected from the lottery does not guarantee an immigrant visa to the U.S. To receive a diversity visa and immigrate to the United States, 'winners' must meet all eligibility requirements under U.S. law to qualify, and must be interviewed before the 50,000 green cards are distributed. Requirements include at least a high school diploma, or its equivalent, or two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years training.
Chances to get visa for a winner
Those are the average numbers per continent, in reality they differ from country to country and do not depend on the continent at all. For a country with statistically significant amount of winners (more than 100) the highest chance to get a visa per winner in DV-2009 was Nepal, Asia (85.4%) and the lowest was Senegal, Africa (14.05%) Those numbers include lack of desire to get a visa by a winner who is a visa applicant or inability to satisfy visa requirements.
For the 2010 Diversity Visa Lottery, the winning applicants were apportioned as follows:
Region Winner Allocation Country with Highest Number of Winners Countries with High Fraud Level (percent of entries which are illegitimate and therefore disqualified during selection process)
Africa 52.63 % Ghana Nigeria 82.77%, Egypt 70.54% Ethiopia 68.57%, Sierra Leone 46.21%, Sudan 30.94%, Ghana 24.68%, Guinea 23.81%, Liberia 17.93%, Cameroon 11.64%
Europe 29.04 % Ukraine Ukraine 71.91%
Asia 14.62 % Bangladesh Bangladesh 78.95%
South and Central America and the Caribbean 1.93 % Venezuela
Oceania 1.76 % Australia
North America 0.02% Bahamas
Frauds and scams
There is no charge to enter the diversity visa lottery, and the only way to do so is by completing and sending the electronic form available at the U.S. Department of State's website during the registration period. However, there are numerous companies and websites that charge a fee in order to complete the form for the applicant. The Department of State and the Federal Trade Commission have warned that some of these businesses falsely claim to increase someone's chances of winning the lottery, or that they are affiliated with the U.S. government.
There have also been numerous cases of fraudulent emails and letters which falsely claim to have been sent by the Department of State and that the recipient has been granted a Permanent Resident Card. These messages prompt the recipients to transfer a "visa processing fee" as a prerequisite for obtaining a "guaranteed" green card. The messages are sometimes sent to people who never participated in the lottery and can look trustworthy as they contain the recipient's exact name and contact details and what appears to be a legal notice.
The Department of State has issued a warning against the scammers. It notes that any email claiming the recipient to be a winner of the lottery is fake because the Department has never notified and will not notify winners by email. The Department has urged recipients of such messages to notify the Internet Crime Complaint Center about the scam.
Over 13.6 million applications for the 2008 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2010) were submitted — an increase of 4.5 million, or 50%, from the 9.1 million applications submitted in the 2007 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2009).
Starting with the DV-2008, several questions and options for answers have been added. Applicants are now required to provide information, such as the country where they currently live and their highest level of education achieved, in the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form).
The open registration period for the lottery was restored from 60 days to 30 days beginning with the calendar year 2010 diversity visa lottery (DV-2012).