We see every day many advertisements about the green card lottery and if we do not know nuances we might think that the lottery is going on constantly. But it’s not a true, so when to apply?
The whole green card lottery process I would like to divide for following time segments:
- Department of state officially releases rules for green card lottery (August – September);
- Application period (October – November);
- Results (May, next year)
The Diversity program does not exist until rules are released! This is unexpected but it’s true. The lottery exists only in a time terms what are specifies in a green card lottery rules. The department of state releases a program rules once in year for every lottery, so before rules are released there is not green card lottery. DV lottery rules officially state when to apply for DV program. Usually rules are released in August or September of each year.
Green card lottery, also know as Diversity Immigration visa program, was established with the “Immigration act of 1990” in 1995. The first green card lottery run happened in 1995 and still going on every fiscal year.
This visa program has 55,000 available immigration visas for a families what are selected as a lottery winner. Since 1999 this amount was divided between NACARA program (5,000 visas) and the rest of countries with 50,000 visas yearly.
The idea of the Green Card lottery is to allow the immigration from countries with a low immigration rates. The important side is if any country (excluding NACARA countries) receive 50,001 immigration visas in last 5 year, so this country is going to be excluded from the next year draw. The DV-2015 has excluded Nigeria from the eligible list of countries, even so Nigeria had always reserved visas through the NACARA immigration program.
The DV immigration program was designed as a lottery where applicants are chosen randomly from the pool of millions of people from all over the world. Before 2004 all foreigners had to send all applications, what were written in the paper with a photo, over regular mail. Since 2004 USCIS developed an electronic version of the Green Card lottery where applicants could fill forms online and upload digital photo as well.