Online registration for the 2021 DV Lottery (DV2021) begins Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and will end Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5).
For DV2021, 55,000 immigrant visas (green cards) will be available. There is no cost to register for the DV Lottery.
Background on the program
The DV Lottery allows individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States to apply through a lottery process for a diversity immigrant visa (to ultimately become a permanent resident of the United States, also known as a "green card holder"). Those selected in the lottery process must meet certain eligibility requirements.
Who cannot apply
This year, natives of the following countries are NOT eligible to apply: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
Who can apply
Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. For the full list, please see page 16 of the Diversity Lottery Instructions.
Individuals pursuing employment-based or family-based permanent residence in the United States may also register for the DV Lottery.
Key applicant requirements: Diversity Lottery Instructions
- Born in eligible country. See list of countries whose natives qualify at page 16 of the Diversity Lottery Instructions.
- High school education or equivalent, OR two years of qualifying work experience. See pages 2 and 9 of the Diversity Lottery Instructions.
- Photographs must be taken no more than six months before the date of submitting the lottery entry package; wearing eyeglasses in the photograph is prohibited. Submitting the same photograph as in a prior year's entry will result in the application being disqualified. Photo specifications are at pages 3 and 6 of the Diversity Lottery Instructions.
How to apply
All entries must be submitted through the Department of State's online system at: www.dvlottery.state.gov. Incomplete, late, or paper submissions will NOT be accepted. Only one entry may be submitted per person. Spouses may submit separate entries (note that if one spouse is selected, the other is entitled to derivative status regardless of country of birth). Submitting more than one entry will result in disqualification.
New requirement for DV2021
Principal entrants must have a valid unexpired passport and provide passport information on the application. Limited exceptions may apply such as: 1) those who are stateless; 2) nationals from communist-controlled countries unable to obtain a passport; and 3) beneficiaries of approved waivers. See page 3 of the Diversity Lottery Instructions. This new requirement is currently being challenged in federal court. However, the requirement remains in place while litigation is pending.
The Department of State will randomly select individuals by computer. Beginning May 5, 2020, applicants will be able to check the status of their applications at www.dvlottery.state.gov. Selected applicants will not be individually notified, so status must be checked online.
Selection in the lottery does not guarantee an individual will become a permanent resident. An individual must meet all qualifications for permanent residence, and a visa number must ultimately be available to the applicant. More individuals are selected in the lottery than there are available visas. As such, those selected in the DV Lottery are eligible to submit applications for permanent residence if and when a visa number for the individual becomes available beginning October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. In addition, the immigrant visa/green card must be issued by September 30, 2021.
This client alert is prepared for the general information of our clients and friends. It should not be regarded as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this update, or for more information about this topic, please contact any of the attorneys in our Business Immigration Practice Group, or the attorney with whom you normally consult.