Looking to move to the US? Lucky for you, your dream may become reality! Thanks to the green card lottery anyone from an eligible country can become the lucky winner of permanent residency in the US!
Unlike other visas to the US, the green card lottery doesn’t require that you have a special education, job, or intend to invest or study in the US. To qualify, you simply need to have a high school diploma, or some work experience, prove you are healthy and have no criminal record.
So how do you enter the green card lottery? When does it take place? When do you find out if you’ve won? Read on to find out!
When to Register For The Green Card Lottery
When you enter the lottery doesn’t affect your chances of winning, but the last few days tend to draw a lot of traffic to the site and sometimes it crashes. That means that to ensure you don’t miss out, you should apply as soon as possible.
In 2017, there were some technical glitches on the site when the lottery first opened, the site eventually closed, and everyone who had entered the lottery had to redo their entries once the site reopened. Therefore, if you enter, do keep an eye on the news to see that there haven’t been any announcements to say there are problems with the site.
When Do You Find Out if You Have Won?
The winners are usually announced in May the following year (i.e. about six months after the lottery closes). More winners are sometimes announced later in the year if not enough of the chosen winners have followed through and applied for a green card. However, more winners are always announced than there are green cards as about half either fail to apply or don’t meet the criteria once applying.
How Do You Find Out if You Have Won?
You need to check online (do save your entry number as you will need it when checking your status) at the same site as where you registered for the lottery in the first place (https://www.dvlottery.state.gov).
Beware of scammers who send out emails saying you’ve won a green card — the US government will not email you to say you’ve won. The only way to find out if you’ve won is through the online site. If you receive an email claiming you have won, it is a scam (unless the green card lottery rules changes and the US government starts mailing people, but in that case, it will be announced on the DV lottery site).
What Do You Need to Do if You Win?
If you win the green card lottery — congratulations! You are one step closer to starting a new life in the US! However, you do still have to apply for the actual green card. This involves filing some paperwork and proving your health is good and that you have no criminal record. It will also involve an interview with the American Embassy.
If you win you should apply for your green card as soon as possible, because, as mentioned, more winners are announced than there are green cards. That means that if against the odds, too many people apply and they run out of green cards that year, you might not get your green card, even if you won.
Also, there’s a time limit. You have till the end of the fiscal year the following year to apply and be approved. As there are several steps to the application, it can take time, however. Therefore, it is best to start as soon as possible. It can also be wise to hire a lawyer, to ensure you get all the paperwork right and there aren’t any delays due to mistakes.
The naming of the Lottery Year
If you applied for the green card lottery in 2017, it’s called the diversity visa lottery 2019, or DV-2019. This is because 2019 is the year you’d be arriving in the US with your green card, even though you applied in 2017 and won in 2018.
Two years might sound like a long time to wait for a visa, but once you apply things happen fast — there’s a lot of paperwork to fill out and plans to be made for a new life in a new country!