Green Card Through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The DV Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS).
Most lottery winners reside outside the United States and immigrate through consular processing and issuance of an immigrant visa. To learn more, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website.
Diversity Visa Winners Legally Residing In the United States: Apply Through USCIS
There are, however, a small number of lottery winners each year who, at the time of “winning the lottery,” are residing in the United States in a nonimmigrant or other legal status. For these winners residing inside the United States, USCIS processes adjustment of status applications. The following information applies to winners legally residing in the United States only:
For an applicant to adjust status under the DV Program, you must establish that you:
- Have been selected for a diversity visa by DOS’s lottery;
- Have an immigrant visa immediately available at the time of filing an adjustment application (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status); and
- Are admissible to the United States.
For visa availability, check the latest month’s DOS Visa Bulletin. Section B contains a chart showing the current month’s visa availability in the Diversity Immigrant category. The chart shows when the Diversity Immigrant cut-off is met. When the cut-off is met, visas will be available in that month for the applicants with Diversity Immigrant lottery rank numbers below the specified cut-off numbers for their geographic areas.
Section C contains a chart showing the Diversity Immigrant category rank cut-offs for the following month, which represents the advance notification of Diversity Immigrant visa availability. As soon as a monthly Visa Bulletin is published, anyone with a lower rank number than the rank cut-off number shown in Section C is eligible to file for adjustment of status. This provides lottery winners the opportunity to file for adjustment of status up to six or seven weeks before a visa number can actually be allocated. This gives USCIS additional time to determine your eligibility for adjustment of status before the end of the fiscal year.
A Diversity Immigrant-based adjustment application cannot be adjudicated until a visa can be allocated, as indicated in the Visa Bulletin’s current Diversity Immigrant rank cut-offs for a particular month.
To obtain a Green Card, you must file Form I-485.
Supporting Evidence for Form I-485
Submit the following evidence with your Form I-485:
- Two passport-style photos
- Copy of birth certificate
- Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
- Copy of passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if applicable)
- Copy of passport page with admission (entry) or parole stamp (if applicable)
- Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record
- Certified copies of court records (if the individual has been arrested)
- Copy of the principal applicant’s selection letter for the diversity visa lottery from DOS
- Copy of the receipt from DOS for the diversity visa lottery processing fee
- Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (if applicable)
- Applicable fees
The adjustment of the status process for diversity visa winners must be completed by September 30 of the fiscal year the lottery pertains to. Visas cannot be carried over to the next fiscal year.
FRAUD WARNING: Fraudsters may send you emails claiming you’ve won the Diversity Visa (Green Card) lottery. Never send money to anyone who sends you a letter or email claiming you have won – learn how to protect yourself from scams.
Be Aware of Diversity Visa Scams
Individuals have contacted U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) about fraudulent e-mails and letters saying they have been selected in the Diversity Visa program. The scammers pose as the U.S. government in an attempt to get money from people hoping to get a visa.
U.S. Department of State runs the Diversity Visa Program and has excellent information on how to protect yourself against these scammers. To educate yourself about the Diversity Visa program visit the Department of State website.