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Diversity Visa/Green Card Lottery

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The 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.

2016 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2016)

Important Notes

  • Online registration for the DV 2016 Program will begin on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time , and will conclude on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time.
  • Applicants may access the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV) at www.dvlottery.state.gov
  • Paper entries will not be accepted. 
Entries will NOT be accepted through the U.S. Postal Service.
  • No entries will be accepted after noon, EST, on November 3.

Who is eligible and what are the requirements?

To enter the DV lottery, a person must be a native of one of the listed countries (see DV 2016 Country List document; For DV-2016, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years:

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.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau, SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. There are no changes in eligibility this year.

Native of a qualifying country: In most cases, this means the country in which you were born. However, there are two other ways you may be able to qualify:

  • First, if a person was born in a country whose natives are ineligible but their spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible, that person can claim their spouse's country of birth provided both are on the selected entry, are issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously.
  • Second, if a person was born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but neither of their parents were born there or resided there at the time of his/her birth, that person may claim nativity in one of their parents' country of birth if it is a country whose natives qualify for the DV-2016 program.

To enter the lottery, a person must meet either the education or work experience requirement of the DV program. A person must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR, two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.

If a person cannot meet either of these requirements, they are not eligible to submit an entry to the DV program.

Procedures for Submitting an Entry to DV-2016

The Department of State will only accept completed Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Forms (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501), submitted electronically at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 1, 2014 and noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4) Monday, November 3, 2014. There is no cost to register for the 
DV Program.

All entries by an individual will be disqualified if more than ONE entry for that individual is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. A person may prepare and submit their own entry, or have someone submit the entry for them.  Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified.

After you submit a complete entry, you will see a confirmation screen containing your name and a 
unique confirmation number. Print this confirmation screen for your records. It is extremely important that you retain your confirmation page and confirmation number. Without this information, you will not be able to access the online system that will inform you of the status of your entry. Think carefully if someone else offers to keep this information for you. You also should retain access to the email account listed in the E-DV.

Starting May 5, 2015 a person can check the status of their entry by returning to the www.dvlottery.state.gov, clicking on 
Entrant Status Check and entering the confirmation number and personal information.

For more detailed information about the DV 2013 process you can refer to the Department of State website:

DV 2016 [PDF]

How do I begin the application process?

It is highly recommended you make sure your digital photo(s) meet all the requirements (see questions below) before you attempt to fill out the application.  Photographs submitted must be a recent photograph, taken within the last 6 months. Once you have done all the necessary preparation, click this link to begin the online application:

Apply Online

How do I know my digital photo(s) meet the requirements?

Like passport photos, there are strict requirements for the composition, format and size of the photos you upload as part of the application. See the website for tips and examples of proper composition.

If your digital photos meet the composition requirements, you can use this "photo check" to make sure they also meet the format (JPEG) and size requirements.

My digital photo(s) do not meet the requirements. Can I fix it at the library?

Yes. If you only need to change the format or size, or remove (“crop”) extra space around the sides, and if you feel comfortable following the instructions below, you can make an appointment and do this on a library computer:

If you require more assistance with your digital photos, it is highly recommended you visit the library at the locations and times listed below, where more help can be provided.

I do not have digital photos. Can the library help me?

The Mid-Manhattan Library can take a digital photo of you and provide laptops for online registration. This service is only available during limited hours, as listed below.

Manhattan

Mid-Manhattan Library
(ONLY Digital photos/NO scanning available)
455 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016
212-340-0863
4th-floor Computer Classroom
Provide laptops for online registration.

10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Saturday, October 28, 2014
Saturday, October 25, 2014

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