It’s time to put your name in the hat again, if you do not have a greencard yet. The U.S. Department of State has opened the 2016 Diversity Visa Lottery from October 1 to November 3, 2014. So get your picture taken and make sure you put on your blankest face possible, because they do not want to see how excited you are on these official application photos.
I suggest you do not wait until the last week, because the demand will be so high that their server might act up a little, causing delays. We’re talking about 50,000 greencards that will be given away, so the whole world wants to have a piece of the pie. You don’t want to miss that time window, since it’s the only lottery for this year. It’s not even guaranteed that there will be another one, because the U.S. is deciding about the continuity of that program one year after the other.
I’ve been trying to win for the last 9 years, so maybe the 10th attempt will be successful. My wife and I are going to double our chances by applying for it both. Only one of us has to win, then the other will get the greencard through marriage.
Let’s take a look at some pointers…
What countries are not eligible to apply?
Unfortunately not every nationality is able to apply. This is based on the number of immigrants that this country sent in recent years. If more than 50,000 people immigrated into the USA within the last 5 years, this country will be excluded from the lottery. Sorry, if this applies to you. Here’s a list of countries that are not eligible for the DV-2016:
Nigeria, Bangladesh, China (mainland-born), India, Pakistan, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Great Britain* (United Kingdom including the following dependent areas: Anguilla, Bermuda, British, Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, and Turks and Caicos Islands), Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, and Peru.
*Northern Ireland is being treated differently than the United Kingdom and is eligible this year.
To make absolutely sure you’re eligible, check out the DV-2016 Program Instructions (PDF) and look up your country.
What does it cost to enter the lottery?
That’s the awesome part: N-O-T-H-I-N-G!! It’s free to apply as long as you fulfill the requirements and every company that ever charged you for applying for the official greencard lottery made some good money with you. To be fair, some companies offer additional services with their fee for the case that you win, because even if you win it’s not guaranteed that you actually receive the card. All additional paperwork and background checks will have to be submitted correct and on time with no red flags raised.
I’ve paid a company before, because I didn’t know any better, but I’ve used the official website the last few years and it is very easy to submit the form. The actual work starts after you’ve won. So I’ve been told
What are the requirements?
Every DV entrant must have at least:
- A high school education or its equivalent; or
- Two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years’ training or experience.
You will have to proof all that AFTER you’ve won the greencard lottery, so while lying will submit the form, it will definitely hurt you in the end. There are firm requirements to be met.
For all other requirements including detailed instructions on the digital photograph that you’ll have to submit with your application, check out the DV-2016 Program Instructions (PDF).
What do you need for the entry?
Before you start filling out the entry, make sure your photo is ready. There’s a great photo crop tool available at the goverment site and this article walks you through how to use it. It’s super easy and afterwards you have the exact size that is required for the greencard lottery entry.
Important: You will not only need your own picture, but also pictures of your spouse and your children (if any). All in passport-style on neutral background.
Other than the photos of you and your family, the form will ask for some basic personal information, e.g. place of birth, highest education, address, etc.
Everything that the form is asking for is very basic information, so don’t worry. You don’t need a professional service provider to fill out this form.
What are your chances to win?
In recent years applicants had a 1% to 2% chance of winning. However, less than half of the people who “won” the Diversity Visa Lottery were able to meet all requirements and move to the United States. So be prepared to act fast and provide everything they are asking for in a timely manner, if you are one of the lucky winners. But we’ll find out not until next year around May.
Where to enter the Greencard Lottery?
Visit the official page of the U.S. Department of State. The form will go live starting October 1, 2014 and end November 3, 2014. For some people this is the only way to obtain a greencard.