Wed. May 15th, 2024

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery, also known as the Green Card Lottery, is a program that offers individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States a chance to obtain a U.S. immigrant visa and pursue the American dream. This program, administered by the U.S. Department of State, has been instrumental in promoting diversity in the United States by welcoming immigrants from various corners of the world. However, not all countries are eligible to participate in the DV Lottery. In this article, we will explore the DV Lottery program, its purpose, and the countries excluded from participation.

What is the DV Lottery?

The Diversity Visa Lottery was established by the United States Congress in 1990 as a way to encourage immigration from countries with lower rates of immigration to the United States. The primary goal of the program is to promote diversity among immigrants coming to the U.S. by providing opportunities to individuals from countries that have typically sent fewer immigrants to the country through other immigration channels.

How Does the DV Lottery Work?

The DV Lottery is an annual program that allows a limited number of people to apply for immigrant visas. Here’s how the process generally works:

  1. Application Period: The U.S. Department of State opens the DV Lottery program for a limited period, usually in the fall of each year. During this time, eligible individuals can submit their entries online through the official website.
  2. Eligibility Criteria: To participate in the DV Lottery, individuals must meet specific eligibility criteria. They must be citizens of countries that are eligible for the program (more on this below) and have at least a high school education or equivalent work experience.
  3. Random Selection: After the application period closes, a computer-generated, random drawing is conducted to select potential winners. Selected applicants are notified and provided with instructions on how to proceed with their immigrant visa application.
  4. Visa Application: DV Lottery winners must go through a thorough visa application process, including a background check and an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  5. Visa Approval: If successful, the applicant and their eligible family members are granted immigrant visas, allowing them to live and work in the United States. These visas typically lead to permanent residency (Green Cards) and the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Countries Excluded from the DV Lottery

Not all countries are eligible for the DV Lottery program. The U.S. government excludes countries from participation if they have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the last five years. Additionally, countries with a high rate of family-sponsored or employment-based immigration to the U.S. are excluded. Here are some examples of countries that are often ineligible for the DV Lottery:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. Mexico
  4. Canada
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Nigeria
  7. Philippines
  8. Vietnam

It’s important to note that eligibility can change from year to year, as the number of immigrants from a particular country can fluctuate. Therefore, it’s essential for interested individuals to check the official DV Lottery website each year to see if their country is eligible.


The Diversity Visa Lottery program has been a vital pathway for individuals from underrepresented countries to achieve their dreams of living and working in the United States. By providing a chance for people from diverse backgrounds to obtain immigrant visas, the program enhances the cultural, social, and economic diversity of the United States. While not all countries are eligible for the DV Lottery, it remains an important initiative in promoting the American dream and maintaining the nation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.


Shah Peerally is an immigration attorney, author, and activist known for his work in the field of immigration law and immigrant rights advocacy. Shah Peerally was born in Mauritius and later immigrated to the United States. He earned his Juris Doctor (JD) degree and became a licensed attorney in California. He founded the Shah Peerally Law Group, a law firm focused on immigration law, providing legal services to individuals and businesses dealing with various immigration issues. Throughout his career, Shah Peerally has been a prominent advocate for immigrant rights and has actively engaged in various community outreach programs, workshops, and legal clinics to educate and assist immigrants in navigating the complex U.S. immigration system. He is also known for his efforts in raising awareness about immigration-related issues through radio and television programs, as well as his participation in seminars and conferences. Additionally, Shah Peerally has authored books and articles on immigration law topics to help individuals better understand their rights and options.

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