Top 10 Things You Need To Know About the FY 2019 Green Card Lottery

By Tien-Li Loke Walsh

This article was updated with the new registration dates.

  1. Yes, DV Lottery really exists! The government has 50,000 diversity immigrant visas available for FY 2018 (i.e. October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019).
  2. Why should you do it? It’s free – you just complete your application online at (read the instructions here and watch the step-by-step video tutorial here). There is no application fee, so don’t pay anyone to apply for you. And, don’t submit more than one entry or you will be disqualified.
  3. Online registration for the DV-2018 Program will begin on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and conclude on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT). After the entry period opens October 18, the State Department recommends submitting early and strongly encourages applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter.
  4. Do it, because you never know what might happen! You can’t rely on it, but you might just win and if you do, it’s one of the quickest ways to get a green card!
  5. DV Lottery is based on country of birth, not country of citizenship. So, an Indian passport holder who was born in Malaysia can still apply!
  6. Even if you have started an employment based green card application, apply anyway! Depending on your visa category, it may be quicker to get a green card through DV lottery than through the lengthy PERM Labor Certification process.
  7. If you are married, make sure your spouse also applies! Why? You have two chances to win, instead of one! Don’t forget that the U.S. now recognizes same-sex marriages, so DV Lottery applicant may include same-sex spouses in their initial entries or add spouses acquired after their initial registration.
  8. If you were born in a country that is not eligible to participate in DV Lottery, but are married to someone who is eligible, you can “cross charge” to your spouse’s country of birth. For example, a person born in India cannot participate in DV Lottery. But, if the person is married to someone who was born in Australia, the Indian national can “cross-charge” to the spouse’s country of birth (i.e. Australia) and can therefore also participate in green card lottery! “Cross-chargeability” also applies when a person is born in a country that is ineligible for lottery, but neither of their parents were born in or resident of that country at the time of birth. For example, if your parents were only visiting, studying in the country temporarily or stationed temporarily for business or professional reasons on behalf of a company or government from a different country other than the one in which you were born, you can “cross-charge” to the country of birth of your parents.
  9. If your child is a high-school graduate and at least 18 years old, make sure s/he applies too! It won’t help you (i.e. a parent), but your “teenager” may be able to get their own green card!
  10. Be careful of DV Lottery scams! There is no lottery application fee, so you do not need to pay anyone to submit an application. In addition, the State Department has warned the public that there has been a notable increase in fraudulent emails and letters sent to Diversity Visa (DV) program (Visa Lottery) applicants. The scammers behind these fraudulent emails and letters are posing as the U.S. government in an attempt to extract payment from DV applicants. Additionally, the State Department will never ask for advance payment by check, money order, or wire transfer. Applicants are encouraged to review the rules and procedures for the DV program so that you know what to expect, when to expect it, and from whom.
    • All DV-2019 entrants will be required to go to the Entrant Status Check using the unique confirmation number saved from their DV-2019 online entry registration to find out whether their entry has been selected in the DV program. Entrant Status Check will be available on the E-DV website starting May 1, 2018. 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 will be the ONLY means by which selectees will be notified of their selection for DV-2019. The Department of State will not mail out notification letters or notify selectees by email. U.S. embassies and consulates will not provide a list of selectees. Individuals who have not been selected will also be notified ONLY through Entrant Status Check.
    • Even if you are not selected on May 1, 2018, keep checking all the way through September 30, 2018 because if the demand is low, the State Department sometimes selects additional applicants later in the year.


On October 16, 2017, the State Department announced that the registration period for the FY 2019 DV Lottery was moved to a new start date of October 18, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) through November 22, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST), due to technical difficulties.

All entries that were submitted prior to this new registration period will need to be resubmitted for consideration.