Online registration for the 2025 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV2025) opens Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and closes Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5). Department of State recommends that entrants not wait until the last week of the registration period because there can be website delays due to high demand.
For DV2025, up to 55,000 immigrant visas (green cards) will be available.
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.
Full instructions from the U.S. Department of State are available here.
The U.S. Department of State summary of the process is available here.
Program website: https://dvprogram.state.gov/.
Who Cannot Apply
This year, natives of the following countries are NOT eligible to apply: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, The People’s Republic of China (including mainland and Hong Kong born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Some exceptions apply based on parents’ country of birth and residence at time of applicant’s birth.
Who Can Apply
In a change from last year, natives of the United Kingdom (and its dependent territories) are eligible to apply for DV-2025.
Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are also eligible. For the full list of eligible countries, please see the Diversity Lottery Instructions.
Limited exceptions exist as well for individuals born in one of the ineligible countries above, but for whom a spouse or parent may provide an alternative route to eligibility. Full details regarding these exceptions are included in the FAQ link in the DV-2025 Instructions.
Individuals born in eligible countries 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 in the Diversity Lottery Instructions.
- High school education or equivalent, or two years of qualifying work experience.
- 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.
How to Apply
Registration is free. All entries must be submitted through the Department of State’s online system. 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.
The Department of State will randomly select individuals by computer. Beginning May 4, 2024, applicants will be able to check the status of their applications via the Entrant Status Check at the program website above. Selected applicants will not be individually notified, so status must be checked in the online system used for registration (link above), under Entrant Status Check, and using the confirmation number provided upon registration.
The U.S. government does not send notices to registrants notifying them of selection, and the Diversity Lottery Instructions provide several warnings about scams and fraudulent actors.
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, 2024 through September 30, 2025. In addition, the immigrant visa/green card must be issued by September 30, 2025.
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.