The 2019 Green Card Lottery is officially underway. Registrationfor this uniquely American program opened on Oct. 3, and each winner will be awarded what amounts to aGolden Ticket. While thecurrent administration’s immigration stance leaves many pondering the lottery’sfuture, this year’s lottery offers hope to many millions of foreigners whocontinue to believe in the American dream.
The Immigration Act of 1990 established the GreenCard Lottery, officially known as the Diversity Visa Lottery (DV). This annualprogram, which is run by the Department of State (DOS), allocates 50,000Permanent Resident Cards to diversityimmigrants from countries with low historic immigration rates. Lottery winnersare selected at random to receive permanent residency and that most coveted of immigrationdocuments – the green card.
An Uncertain Future
The current lottery, DV-2019 (for permanent residency infiscal year 2019), went live amidst an intensifying national immigration climatethat trends toward less inclusive policies. The new administration continues to back a merit-based immigration system, which pointsto an uncertain future for the Green Card Lottery.
The effect that thecurrent travel ban will have on lottery recipients from banned countriesremains unknown, and this uncertainty contributes to unease within the system. Thefact that there are bills pending in both the Houseand Senatethat actively seek to do away with the DV program also discourages.
How the Lottery Works
Toqualify for the Green Card Lottery, an entrant must be a native of one of the specifiedcountries of diversity, with some exceptions regarding the national origin of aspouse or parent. Entrants also face the minimum educational equivalencyrequirement of a U.S. high school education or of two years’ work experience ina position that fulfills DOS requirements. Finally, the DOS disseminates diversity visas amongst sixgeographic regions and grants no more than 7 percent in any individual country.
Qualifying applicants may submit one application per fiscalyear – multiple applications are disqualifying. The application process takesplace entirely online, is straightforward, and is free, which does not stoponline businesses from charging for their application services.
Winning the Green Card Lottery does not guarantee that agreen card will ultimately be forthcoming. There is a variety of contributingfactors, including but not limited to:
- Because not every selectee will ultimatelyqualify for a diversity visa, there are sometimes more selectees than there arevisas to go around.
- Upon selection, selectees must providesignificant documentation in support of their applications (to be reviewed andverified) and must interview successfully.
- Selectees must be admissibleto the U.S., which includes that they must have the means to supportthemselves.
Slim Chances – HighHopes
Those who throw their hats into the lottery ring face veryslim odds of winning a green card – fiscalyears 2013 and 2014 each saw over 9 million entrants. Nevertheless,hopefuls continue to flock to the onlineapplication portal each year, and to many, random never looked so good. Evenin the face of immigration uncertainty, it seems that the American Dream isstill worth gambling on.
The DV-2019 submission period closes at 12 pm EST (GMT -5) onNov. 7, 2017.
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