Every year millions around the globe apply for Diversity Visa Program, also known as Green Card Lottery, to win legal right to live and work in the USA. Since 2005 the program has been conducted electronically and all information, including application forms and detailed instructions, are available at its official web site
The submission process usually starts early October and last for a month, and the results are available to check in the Spring of next year. All dates are posted on the web site mentioned above.
Here I would like to share, from my own experience, certain things that could be helpful and could save some time to all applicants.
There are fraudulent web sites and companies, that charge certain amount to assist with the application process. There is no charge for the application imposed by US Department of State and anybody is expected to do it themselves at the designated web site.
Before starting your application check:
- if your country is in the list for the current year ( some countries are excluded due to high volume of immigrants for the last 5 years )
- if you meet the minimum requirements to apply: high school diploma or its equivalent or 2 year experience, from last 5 years, in occupation that requires at least 2 year training (list of all acceptable occupations is provided).
During the submission a unique confirmation number will be issued. Make sure you print that number and keep it – the only way to check the results later is by using this number. If you lose it, your submission is gone.
If you are among the selected successful applicants you will receive all the instructions, when you check for your entry status, to process further as well as appointment at US consular office for visa interview. You will need to fill more papers, pay certain fees, do medical examination and vaccinations and finally go to your visa interview.
Start your preparation as early as possible. There are many things to prepare:
- make sure you have enough funds to immigrate
At the interview you need to show evidence that you have enough money: bank statements, titles for property you possess, pay checks from your employer, tax return for the last year etc.
If you have friends and relatives living in the USA and if they agree to give you some help, they can send “Affidavit of Support” as additional help at the Consulate.
- you need provide a valid US address, no PO Box
Your friends or relatives can help you again, because you also need to leave this address upon arrival at US Immigration for your green cards to arrive at.
- translate and legalize all your diplomas and certificates
- use the remaining time to master your English language
- make sure your passports are valid for at least few years, before visa stamps are put in.
If you successfully pass the interview, 6 month entry visas will be granted immediately to you and your eligible family members ( spouse and children under 21 ).
You are supposed to enter USA within next 6 months or you lose your right. If your family wants to also have permanent residency, they should accompany you in your first trip. To bring them later will require additional time and money because it is separate procedure while you are in the USA.
After all steps finished and visas are granted it is time to prepare for actual immigration.