The Diversity Visa (DV) Program for fiscal year 2017 began accepting registrations on Thursday, October 1, 2015 and will conclude on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Instructions for registration are available through the Department of State (DOS) website:

     All applications must be submitted electronically and should be done as early during the registration period as possible. DOS advises applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in website delays. There is only one application permitted per person. Those who submit more than one entry will be automatically disqualified. Each spouse of a married couple, however, can file a separate application.

Applicants must meet specific criteria to qualify for the DV program:

– Must be born in a country with low levels of immigration to the U.S. or be married to a person born in such country.

-Persons whose place of birth is one of the following do NOT qualify for the DV program for 2017 (unless the spouse is born in a qualifying country):

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the 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.

-Applicants must also have completed a high school education or its equivalent or have at least two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience (a skilled occupation).

Note that interested persons should NEVER apply for the DV Lottery through a service or website other than the official Department of State site, A third-party provider CANNOT increase your chances of winning the lottery and many are SCAMS.

The US Department of State has repeatedly opined that a DV Lottery application has no effect on visa applications or renewals, so even “pure” nonimmigrants such as F students may apply.

Note that in most cases, persons who are illegally in the US (except those who last entered in F or J status and a few others) cannot obtain any benefit from the DV Lottery. Also, it is important to remember that winning the DV Lottery does not erase the two year home residence requirement often attached to J 1 or J 2 status. That requirement must either be waived or satisfied.

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.