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What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?

Every year, certain foreign nationals have the opportunity to apply for one of the 50,000 Diversity Immigrant Visas that are awarded to applicants via random lottery. The spirit of this lottery is to offer an opportunity to individuals from countries with historically low immigration rates. According to the State Department, the U.S. agency that oversees the Diversity Lottery, the diversity visas (DVs) are “distributed among six geographic regions and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.”


Individuals from the eligible countries* must submit an application during the entry period and must have:

  • 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 of training or experience.

*Every year, the State Department advises who may or may not be eligible in the Diversity Visa lottery. For the most recent lottery, those born in the following countries are ineligible to register: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Please note that those born in Macau SAR or Taiwan are indeed eligible for the Diversity Lottery. In addition, if you are ineligible based on your country of birth, you may be able to qualify through a spouse or parent.


Registration for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Diversity Lottery is now open through November 8, 2022, at 12:00 noon (EST).

Those who are eligible and wish to apply should go to the Diversity Lottery website and follow all application steps carefully. In order to do so, you will need a digital photo to upload which conforms to the photo requirements listed here. There is only one entry permitted per person. However, you may include a spouse or child(ren) in your registration. Full instructions are available here, and come arre translated to numerous foreign languages.


After registering online, applicants will receive a confirmation number, which can be used to check the status of their application online. Typically, results of the random selection Diversity Lottery are announced in May. At that time, applicants should begin using their confirmation number to check the results online here. The State Department will not notify applicants by mail, email, fax, or telephone. The only way to check on the status of a registration is online.

If an applicant’s registration is successful, he/she will be assigned a number or “priority date.” Once an applicant’s priority date is current, the successful applicant will need to complete the steps outlined by the State Department here. An individual selected in the lottery should promptly move forward, as there are deadlines to complete the process. If an applicant is selected, he/she may seek assistance with an immigration attorney to complete the process.

Check out the State Department’s helpful process chart here.


It is vital to note that the Diversity Lottery has traditionally been commonly targeted for immigration scams. Please keep in mind that registering for the Diversity Lottery is free and there is only one place to register, as outlined above. While paying someone to submit your application online is allowed, most applicants choose to submit their application for the lottery themselves because the process is quite simple. Anyone who advises that their services in assisting with the application process will increase the chance of being selected is not telling the truth. Further information about scams and fraud is available on the State Department website here.


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