The Green Card Lottery
The Green Card Lottery is a chance offered by the Department of State of the United States of America to immigrant to get a permanent work and residency in the US. The most common Green Card is the Diversity Visa Lottery. There are several paths you can take to apply for an immigrant visa to permanently reside in the USA. In general, all applications are sent to and processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After the USCIS has approved the Green Card application, the main Green Card applicant will be invited to complete the so-called “consular processing” at the US embassy in their home country.
The DV-2021 Diversity Visa program online registration period for the program usually runs between October 1st and November 3-6th each year.
Categories of the Green Card are:
- Immigration through winning of the Green Card Lottery – Diversity Visa Program
- Immigration through job/investment – Employment-based categories
- Immigration through family unification – Family-based categories. To ensure families stay together, immediate relatives of and people who marry US citizens or Green Card holder also qualify for a Green Card, though each individual case is subject to category restrictions. With the different categories comes that waiting period before the Green Card is available.
- Applicant must be from a country not excluded from participating in the Green Card lottery
- Proof of at least a US high school diploma or equivalent (at least 12 years of formal primary and secondary schooling). Or, prove of at least two years of work experience within the past five years in a profession that needs at least two years of training.
- There’s no age limit but you need to be above 16 years to be eligible to satisfy that you have completed at least 12 years of formal schooling.
- The period of registration is once in each fiscal year as updated on the official Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) program website.
Passport size, color photo
Birth certificate or national ID card
Green Card Lottery Guide
You will find detailed guidance on how to fill out your Green Card Lottery application in this article. All fields in the application form are mandatory and must be completed. You can complete some details, such as your passport data or information about your spouse and children, at a later date.
Step 1: Your Characteristics
In the first step, you have to enter your name and email address to create an account.
The form will ask you for the following data:
- First Names
Please enter your first name identical to the one in your passport. Additional first names will be requested later in the form.
- Last Name
We will send your entry confirmation, lottery result, and other important news to this address. Therefore, please enter a valid and individual email address, and under no circumstances the same as, for example, that of your spouse.
Please create a secure password that you can keep safe or remember.
Personal and Address Data
In the following screen, the form will ask you for more personal data:
- Additional First Names
If there are two or more first names in your passport, it is mandatory that you provide them here as well. It does not matter if only one of the first names is used as your call name.
At the moment, you can only choose between the options, “male” and “female” because the US authorities do not yet offer X-gender, diverse, non-binary, or genderqueer. Therefore, if in doubt, please choose the option you feel most comfortable with or as indicated in your passport.
- Phone Number
- Address Information
Please provide your current address. Street names can be abbreviated according to common usage. If your address does not include a street name, you may also provide your Post Office box. If you do not have a postal code, please enter “00000” or alternatively provide an address of a relative or close friend where we can reach you. If your address changes after you have registered, please let us know immediately or change it in your customer account so that we can contact you if you win.
Biographical Data, Passport Data, Photo
- Your Birthday
There is generally no minimum age for participation in the Green Card Lottery. However, participants under the age of 16 usually do not meet the necessary educational requirements.
- City of Birth, Country of Birth
Please enter your city of birth as it appears on your passport, as some city names are rarely changed over time. You must enter your country of birth according to current borders.
Note: Some countries, unfortunately, are excluded from participation in the Green Card Lottery by the US authorities. However, there is still a chance to participate if:
- Your spouse was born in one of the currently approved countries, or,
- One of your parents was only temporarily residing in your country of birth at the time of your birth (e.g., for temporary work or study).
In this case, please enter the country of birth of your spouse or parent as a native country.
You can apply for the Green Card if you have at least a high school diploma (or higher), defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education.
Alternatively, it is also sufficient to show that you have worked for at least two years (within the last five years) in a profession that usually requires completed vocational training. Thus, indicating a lower level of education does not automatically disqualify you from participation.
In Green Card Lottery application, you will initially have the following choices:
- primary school only
- high school, no degree
- high school degree
- vocational school
- some university courses
- university degree
- some graduate-level courses
- master degree
- some doctorate level courses
IMPORTANT: You will not be required to prove your education degree until you win and may schedule your Green Card interview at the US Consulate.
You can choose from the following:
Step 2: Family Data
If you are married, you must also provide your spouse’s identification information. You can do this right away or add it to your account later.
Your Spouse in the Green Card Lottery Application
Please fill in the following information about your spouse:
- First Name(S)
- Last Name
- Date of Birth
- City of Birth
- Country of Birth
- The Highest Level of Education
If you are separated but still officially married at the time of application, you must select “married” at this point.
However, it is up to you to decide whether or not to include your spouse in the Green Card application process in the event of winning.
You can choose to provide the photo and data of your spouse and children (if any) immediately, or and add them later in your customer account.
Same-sex spouses in the Green Card application
Married partners of the same sex must be indicated in the Green Card Lottery application if the marriage is recognized under US law. A marriage recognized by the US government is now possible in most European countries, for example, in Germany, Denmark, or France.
Registered domestic partnerships are not recognized as marriages in the DV Lottery. However, if you win, you can still marry your registered partner so that he or she also receives a Green Card.
Doubled Green Card chances for married couples
Since the spouse of a winner also receives a Green Card, married couples can double their winning chances. All you need to do is register both spouses with the Green Card Lottery. You double your chance of receiving a Green Card.
Children under 21
To participate in the Green Card Lottery, you must declare all unmarried children under the age of 21. This includes:
- Illegitimate children
- Adopted children
- Children related only to your spouse
Children in the Green Card Lottery application
You must also list the children of your spouse for whom you do not have custody. That is because the US government needs a complete overview of all persons who, in theory, would also be entitled to a Green Card after you win.
But: You still can decide which of the listed children you want to include in your Green Card application process in case of winning.
You must provide the following data for all children:
- First Name(S)
- Last Name(s)
- Date of Birth
- City of Birth
- Country of Birth
You can either provide this information immediately or add it to your account at a later date, but no later than October 15th, 2022.
Please note: If you leave out any children, you may be disqualified from the Green Card Lottery. Make sure to list all children in your application even if you do not have any contact with them.
Passport Data for the Green Card Lottery
You can decide whether you want to add your passport information immediately or submit the data later.
To participate in the Green Card Lottery, you must have a valid passport. Please provide your passport number as it appears on the first page of your passport in the upper right-hand corner under “Passport No.”.
The number may contain numbers and digits, so be sure to distinguish between “0” and “O.”
Please also enter the country of issue and date of issue of your passport. Both can also be found on the first page of the passport.
To successfully participate in the Green Card Lottery, your passport must be valid at least until the official application deadline. Therefore, please also indicate the date when your passport will expire.
Take note: If your passport expires before the lottery results are announced, you must keep the invalid passport or a copy of it. In case of winning, you should be able to prove why your passport number has changed at the interview appointment at the consulate.
Photo Requirements for the Green Card Lottery
In order to participate in the Green Card Lottery successfully, it is mandatory to provide a current photo of yourself in proper form. It must meet the following requirements:
- Full Color
- Neutral, Light Background
- No Glasses, Sunglasses, Or Non-Religious Headgear
- Not recognizably older than max. 6 months
- Photo(s) of Past Lotteries May Not Be Used Again
- Look Frontal into the Camera (Not Sideways)
- No Copies from Identity Cards or Passports
- Minimum Size of 300dpi, 5x5cm, 600×600 Pixels, Jpeg File