Diversity Visa Lottery

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery program, run by the State Department, issues 50,000 green cards each year. The application period typically starts in October and ends during the first week of November. The application is free and must be completed online. Eligibility is based on country of birth (not country of citizenship).

The DV Lottery program participant must be eligible to receive a visa by qualifying based on education, work, and other requirements. The law and regulations require that every participant must have at least:

  • A high school education or its equivalent;

A “high school education or equivalent” is defined as successful completion of a twelve-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States.

Only formal courses of study meet this requirement. Correspondence programs or equivalency certificates (such as the General Equivalency Diploma G.E.D.) are not acceptable.


For DV-2018, individuals born in the following countries are NOT eligible to participate:

Bangladesh Brazil Canada
China 1 Colombia Dominican Republic
Ecuador El Salvador Guatemala
Haiti India Jamaica
Mexico Nigeria Pakistan
Peru Philippines Poland
South Korea United Kingdom
and its territories

China: Mainland-born only. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible to participate.

United Kingdom: Persons born in Northern Ireland are eligible to participate.

These are the countries that sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years. If you are born in one of these listed countries that are not eligible to participate, you may still participate in the DV Lottery by “cross-charging” to your spouse’s country of birth, if your spouse is from an eligible country.


  • DV-2012: No Change.
  • DV-2013: Natives of Poland are now eligible.
  • DV-2014: Natives of Guatemala are now eligible.
  • DV-2015: Natives of Nigeria are no longer eligible.
  • DV-2016: No change.
  • DV-2017: No change.
  • DV-2018: Natives of Ecuador are now eligible.