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Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Diversity Visa Lottery Opens October 2

October 2, 2019
The U.S. Department of State is now accepting applications online from October 2 to November 5, 2019. DV-2021 applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas for issuance in Fiscal Year 2021 to …
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What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas (green cards) for issuance in Fiscal Year 2021 to persons from countries with low immigration rates to the United States. Foreign nationals are selected for eligibility to apply for U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status under this program on the basis of a lottery.

When can I apply?

The U.S. Department of State will accept applications online from 12 PM Wednesday October 2, 2019 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4) to 12 PM Tuesday, November 5, 2019 Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5). DV-2021 applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible and should keep their confirmation number until at least September 30, 2021. There is no cost to submit an application.

Who is eligible?

  • An individual must have been born in an eligible country and must meet minimum education/work requirements. Notably, 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. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.
  • Eligible nationality is generally determined by the location of a person’s birth. However, if a foreign national is ineligible to apply based on his/her country of birth, there are two alternate ways to qualify. First, a foreign national whose spouse was born in a eligible country may apply provided that both the individual and the spouse are named on the selected entry, are found eligible, and enter the U.S. simultaneously. Second, a foreign national who was born in a country whose natives are ineligible to apply may be eligible to apply if neither parent was born in or legally resided in that country at the time of the foreign national’s birth.
  • A foreign national must also have either a high school education or its equivalent or at least two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years training or experience.

How do I Apply?

DV Lottery entries may only be submitted electronically at the U.S. Department of State’s Diversity Visa Lottery website located here. Applicants may only submit ONE lottery entry; individuals who attempt to submit more than one application will be disqualified. A DV Lottery application must be accompanied by digital photographs of the applicant, the applicant’s spouse and the applicant’s dependent children (as applicable), taken in accordance with requirements. Note: Each individual may submit his/her own application if he/she otherwise qualifies.

New For DV-2021

The principal applicant must enter valid international travel passport information unless they are stateless, a national of a Communist-controlled country and unable to obtain a passport from the government of the Communist-controlled country, or the beneficiary of an individual waiver approved by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State.

How does the Selection Process Work?

DV Lottery winners are selected via a random computerized process. After entering the lottery, it is critical to safeguard the confirmation page as it contains information that is needed to check the status of the application.

  • Starting May 5, 2020 (and through at least September 30, 2021), applicants may check application status using their confirmation number on the Entry Status Check section of the E-DV website. Lottery winners will not receive correspondence in the mail.
  • Selection in the DV Lottery does not automatically confer U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status – only the opportunity to apply for permanent resident status.
  • Applications for permanent resident status can be lodged in one of two ways: by filing an adjustment of status application if lawfully present in the U.S. or by filing an application for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. The actual application for permanent resident status must be filed and approved by September 30, 2021; if an application is not approved by that date, the application is invalidated.  Note that more individuals are selected in the DV Lottery than there are immigrant visas/green cards made available. As a result, some individuals who are selected in the DV Lottery may ultimately be unable to become U.S. LPRs if the available immigrant visas are allocated prior to approval of the individual’s permanent resident application.

Where Can I Get More Information?

Instructions regarding how to apply for the FY2021 Diversity Visa Lottery may be obtained from the U.S. Department of State’s PDF instructions.

For more information or specific legal advice, please contact your designated Gibney representative or email