The Diversity Visa (DV) Program was mandated by the U.S. Congress in order to address the historically low number of immigrants from certain countries. Normally, a prospective immigrant must have a family member already in the U.S. in order to benefit from an Immigrant Visa petition, but the DV Program grants eligibility to apply for a visa to qualified persons even if they do not have a qualifying relative in the United States. Thus, a Diversity Visa should be considered in the same light as an Immigrant Visa, although with a different source and qualification process. Because many more people apply for the program each year than there are available visas, selection is made at random by a computer – hence the popular name “Visa Lottery.”
It must be clearly understood that being selected to participate in the DV program does not guarantee that the applicant will be issued a visa. The standards for qualification are simple, but strictly enforced. In place of the family relationship, each applicant must demonstrate either a sufficient level of education or a combination of qualifying skills and work experience, and must meet all other eligibility criteria for an immigrant to the U.S.
There is no cost to register for the DV Program. All entries for the DV must be submitted electronically on the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website at dvprogram.state.gov during the specified registration period. The law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. You are strongly encouraged to complete the entry form yourself, without a “Visa Consultant,” “Visa Agent,” or other facilitator who offers to help. If somebody else helps you, you should be present when your entry is prepared so that you can provide the correct answers to the questions and retain the confirmation page and your unique confirmation number.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program requires the principal DV applicant to have a high school education, or its equivalent, or two years of qualifying work experience as defined under provisions of U.S. law.
If you do not have either the required education or qualifying work experience, you are not eligible for a diversity visa. (Only you, as the principal applicant, must meet this requirement. Your spouse and children do not have to meet this requirement.) You should consider not pursuing a DV application if you do not meet the qualifying education or work experience requirements explained below as you may not be eligible for a diversity visa and any fees you pay for the visa application will not be refunded.
High School Education: A high school education means successful completion of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a 12-year course in the United States. Only formal courses of study meet this requirement; equivalency certificates (such as the G.E.D.) are not acceptable.
Work Experience: If you are qualifying with work experience, you must have two years of experience in the last five years, in an occupation which, by U.S. Department of Labor definitions, requires at least two years of training or experience that is designated as Job Zone 4 or 5, classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating of 7.0 or higher.
The U.S. Department of Labor provides information on job duties, knowledge and skills, education and training, and other occupational characteristics on their website http://www.onetonline.org/. The O*Net online database groups work experience into five “job zones.” While many occupations are listed, only two years of experience in certain specified occupations qualify an individual for a Diversity Visa.
Passport Requirement: Beginning with entries for DV-2022, the Department of State’s regulations require all entrants to provide a valid passport number at the time of DV entry, unless they are unable to obtain a passport and fall under one of three limited exemptions. You should consider not pursuing a DV application if you listed a false or invalid passport number on your DV entry, or if you selected an exemption from the passport requirement and you did not meet the requirements for that exemption, as you may not be eligible for a diversity visa and any fees you pay for the visa application will not be refunded.
Exemptions from the Passport Requirement: The Department of State’s regulations provide for three limited exemptions from the passport requirement. These three exemptions include: individuals who are stateless, nationals of a Communist-controlled country who are unable to obtain a passport from the government of the Communist-controlled country, and beneficiaries of individual waivers approved by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State. If you selected one of these exemptions on your DV entry, you will be required to explain how you meet one of the three exemptions. The exemptions apply only to individuals who are unable to obtain a passport.
- Stateless Individuals: In general, statelessness is a rare situation. If on your DV entry you checked the box corresponding to this exemption, you must provide evidence to establish that you did not acquire the nationality of your country of birth under the laws of that country and that you do not have any other nationality.
- Nationals of a Communist-controlled country: If, on your DV entry, you checked the box corresponding to this exemption, you must provide evidence to establish that you are unable to obtain a passport from the government of your country of nationality.
- Beneficiaries of individual waivers: If, on your DV entry, you checked the box corresponding to this exemption, you must provide evidence that you are unable to obtain a passport, and the reason you should receive an individual passport waiver, such as:
1) A previous U.S. visa issued to you on form DS-232 because you were unable to obtain a passport, and that the same reasons that you previously sought a passport waiver still apply;
2) Form I-193 approved by USCIS because you were unable to obtain a passport, and that the same reasons that you previously sought a passport waiver still apply; or
3) Documentation showing that you have been granted refugee status in a country other than your country of nationality because you have been persecuted by the government of your country of nationality, making it impossible for you to obtain a passport from that government without experiencing further harm.
2- After you submit your DV application
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 number. It is the only way you can check the status of your entry, and you will need it to obtain further instructions or schedule an interview for a visa if you are selected.
On or about May 7, information on the Entrant Status Check on the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website is updated to inform all entrants if their online registration was selected or not. You will need to enter your confirmation number, which you obtained when you filled out your entry form, to check your entry status. If you have lost your confirmation number, you will not be able to check the status of your entry. We will not be able to resend the confirmation number to you. Please note: The Department of State will not mail notification letters or notify selectees by email. U.S. embassies and consulates will not provide a list of selectees. Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website is the ONLY means by which the Department of State notifies selectees of their selection.
If your entry is selected, you will be directed to a confirmation page that will provide further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the United States. Entrant Status Check is the ONLY means by which selectees are notified of their selection. The Department of State does not mail out notification letters or notify selectees by email, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates will not provide a list of selectees. Individuals who have not been selected also will be notified ONLY through Entrant Status Check.
Please be aware that KCC can only tell you if your form has been processed. KCC cannot tell you whether or not you or your family members are eligible for diversity visas. Only the consular officer who interviews you can make that decision.
Based on U.S. law, not everyone who applies for a visa will be found eligible to come to the United States. There are a number of possible reasons why someone might not qualify for a visa. The circumstances of each case are different. Approved visas generally are not available on the day of interview.
It is important that you do not make arrangements such as selling your house, car or property, resigning from your job or making non-refundable flight or other travel arrangements until you have received your immigrant visa.
3- Submit Your Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application
Selected entrants are encouraged to complete the online Form DS-260 application immediately to schedule an interview appointment at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You will need to enter your DV case number into the online DS-260 form to access and update the information about yourself and your family that you included in your DV entry.
If your family circumstances have changed after you entered the Diversity Visa program, for example, if you have gotten married or had a child, you will need to add your new family members to your case. (“Family member” refers to a spouse and/or unmarried children who had not reached age 21 before you entered the DV program).