DV2015 Lottery: Everything an Immigrant Needs to Know

Also known as the “green card lottery”, the DV2015 lottery is a diversity immigrant visa granted to a number of citizens from previously listed countries. The list is managed by the Department of State, and includes nations with a low immigration flow to the United States. People can apply online for free and hope to get one of the 55,000 annual permanent residence visas granted every year.

Meeting the Entry Requirements

According to current immigration law, these are the mandatory requirements you should follow:

  • You must have been born in an eligible country. Which includes almost every country in the world, except for: 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.
  • If you were born in an eligible country, you must have proof that both your parents were born or permanent residents of an eligible country. Alternatively, you can claim your spouse's nationality, provided that they are from an eligible country.
  • Minimal Education/Work requirements include a High School Education (or equivalent) or two years of work experience within the last five years. Work experience must be in a field which requires a minimum of two years training/experience to perform.

Application Deadline

Every year, the Department of State sets a deadline for all applications to be lodged. For the 2015 process, entries were opened from October 1, 2013 to November 2, 2013. If you did not complete an application within that time, you should wait for the 2016 entry period to open later this year.

Applications are made online, via DVLottery.state.gov. The form will request your personal information, education details, family information, and a digital photograph. It is highly recommended that you complete your application as early as possible, so you have time to deal with any potential inconveniences.

Once you have successfully completed the entry, a unique code will be assigned to you; which you will later use to check for the results. Applicants who lodge more than one application will be immediately disqualified.

Who Gets Selected for a DV2015?

Each region has an assigned number of visas to be granted. Once the entry process has closed and qualified applications are filtered, a computerized random selection is made. All applicants must then go to the same website and use their entry code to check if they have been selected. For the DV2015 process, results have been available since May 1, 2014.

If you are not selected, the system will show a message to let you know your process has ended. On the contrary, if you are selected, a confirmation page will provide further instructions. At this point, you have not been granted a diversity visa, but the possibility to obtain one. You will need to provide further information on the website and schedule a consular interview.

Prepare all relevant documentation prior to your interview date, including the passport and photographs in the accepted format. The non-refundable application fee is $330 per applicant. You will also need to schedule a medical examination by certified physicians and take the results to your interview.

The Day of the Interview

Your spouse and children must attend to the same interview if they are traveling with you. If they are planning to immigrate at a later date, a separate interview will be scheduled for them.

These are the documents you need to bring to the interview:

  • Appointment Letter, which is the confirmation you get when you check the results
  • DS-260 Confirmation Page
  • Passport, not just for the primary applicant, but for every family member included. Keep in mind that it should have at least 6 months of validity at the time of traveling
  • Photographs, two color photographs meeting consular requirements
  • Medical Exam Results, you will not have access to these results, the physician will either send it straight to the Embassy or give you a sealed envelope. Do not open the envelope if given to you
  • Original and Supporting Documents, bring the originals and copies of all relevant documentation as proof of the information you provided online. If these documents are not in English, prepare certified translations
  • Visa Fees Receipt

DV2015 Approval

If your interview is successful, you will receive a visa in your passport and a sealed immigration package. You will present this package to the customs agent at the time of entry to the United States. Your visa will have an expiration date, so plan your traveling date before it expires.

As it would happen at any other trip, you will need to go through The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspections to enter the United States. If there is no reason to deny access, you will enter the country as a Permanent Resident, also known as a Green Card holder (status that allows you to work and live permanently in the United States).

Now that you know what the Diversity Visa Lottery is all about, check if you fulfill the basic entry requirements and wait for the next entry dates to open. Additionally, you can talk to an Immigration Lawyer to evaluate your immigration options.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with your consultations or leave your comments below. We’ll be glad to hear from you!