Green Card by Lottery

The U.S. State Department facilitates the green card by lottery process. Each year individuals from certain countries (those with low immigration rates) may enter the green card lottery. Individuals must register for the diversity lottery online at during the online registration period, which is usually during October and November each year.

In order to qualify for the diversity lottery, one must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent or have had, within the past five years, at least two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two (2) years of training or experience. Qualifying DV Occupations are listed on the Department of Labor O*Net Online Database at

To determine if an occupation qualifies individuals can select “Find Occupations” and then select a specific “Job Family”. (For example, select Architecture and Engineering and click “GO”. Then click on the link for the specific Occupation (For example, Aerospace Engineers). After selecting a specific Occupation link, select the tab “Job Zone” to find out the designated Job Zone number and Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating range.

If selected for the visa lottery, individuals will be given a visa number and once the visa number becomes available they may file an application for a green card. The application period for each year of the diversity lottery is from October 1 through September 30.

In order to qualify for LPR status based upon selection for the diversity lottery, individuals must obtain their immigrant visa (if applying from outside of the United States) or be approved for LPR status by the local USCIS office (if applying from within the United States) by September 30 of the year in which application is made.

Failure to obtain an immigrant visa or adjust status by this date, even if it not the applicant’s fault, will result in a loss of eligibility for that diversity year. In the event that this occurs, individuals will need to reapply for the diversity lottery and be selected again in order to obtain a green card via the diversity visa program.

If selected for the diversity lottery, spouses and unmarried children under 21 may also apply.

For additional information on the diversity visa program please visit: