In the News: The Diversity Visa is Back


On October 6, 2021 the next visa lottery will open for the 2023 year. It will remain open until Tuesday, November 9, but it’s a good idea to enter early if you plan to. There is a great deal of demand to enter this program and the website has been known to crash.

The program is officially known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. It’s a program that allows up to 55,000 eligible immigrants from countries who send fewer immigrants to the United States to enter a lottery for the chance to be awarded a green card.

If your entry is selected, it is one of the easiest ways to attain permanent residence status in the United States. 

Who is eligible for the 2023 diversity visa?

First, you must be a native of one of the approved countries. There are some exceptions. For example you can claim your spouse’s country of birth if you’re both named on the selected entry and are issued visas, and then enter the US at the same time. If your parents weren’t born in the country you’re a native of now and they weren’t LPRs in that country then you might claim the country of birth of one of your parents if they are from an eligible country.

You must meet certain education and work experience requirements. That means you must have at least a high school education or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.

You must possess a valid, unexpired passport. There are three exemptions to this requirement: exemptions for individuals who are stateless, exemptions for nationals of a Communist-controlled country whose government will not give them a passports, and those who receive a waiver.

You must also meet all of the normal entry requirements for the United States. For example you can’t have a criminal record. You can’t be a member of a terrorist or organized crime organization. You must not have committed any human rights violations in the past. You must not have broken United States immigration law in the past. You can also be found ineligible if you misrepresent any part of your application.

Entries are selected at random.

Applying for the Diversity Visa Program

You can apply at Applying is free. When you apply you’ll receive a DS-260 confirmation page. Keep a copy of that page for your records as you’ll need it to finish the process. It will contain a unique confirmation number that will let you check back into the website for your application status as early as May 8, 2022. 

The “Entrant Status Check” button is the way that you’ll see whether your entry has been selected or not. It will offer specific instructions on what you ought to do next. You will not receive a notice in the mail.

You must have a valid passport to apply. You’ll also need recent photographs of yourself, your spouse, and your children. 

What happens after you’re selected for a 2023 diversity visa?

You’ll be assigned an interview with a USCIS officer. The award page will tell you what to bring. You will often have to get an exam, and you will have to pay visa fees at that time. 

Once you have your visa you will travel to the United States and request permission to enter. If you’re already in the United States then you can adjust your current legal immigration status to LPR status. 

Where can I find instructions for the diversity visa program?

Get the instructions for the program here. You’ll find the list of eligible countries on page 18 of the document. 

Do I still require an immigration lawyer if I’m applying for a diversity visa?

If you need a passport waiver or are already a legal immigrant who will have to apply for an adjustment of status then having an attorney to help you is a very good idea. 

In addition, if you are not selected for the lottery then working with an immigration attorney might help you discover other legal pathways you can use to become a legal permanent resident of the United States.

See also:

How to Appeal a Visa Denial

Is My Family Member Eligible for Immigration?

3 Immigration Mistakes to Avoid

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