URGENT: Recent Changes To 2019 Diversity Visa Lottery

October 16, 2017

UPDATE 10/16/17

The Department of State has revealed that a technical issue has invalidated all previously submitted 2017 Diversity Visa entries. Anyone who submitted an application between 10/3/2017 – 10/10/2017 will need to resubmit when the entry period reopens on 10/18/2017. See a statement from the DOS below:

Due to a technical issue, the Diversity Visa (DV) 2019 entry period that began on October 3, 2017, has been closed. Entries submitted between October 3 and October 10, 2017, are not valid and have been excluded from the system; resubmitting such an entry will not count as a duplicate entry. The technical issue has been resolved and a new full entry period will begin at noon (ET) on October 18, 2017, and will run until noon (ET) on November 22, 2017. Only entries submitted during this period will be accepted and considered for selection in the lottery.

[Original post below]

Every year the United States sets aside 50,000 permanent resident visas to be given away by lottery in order to preserve diversity among immigrants to the United States. While the odds of being selected are slim, there is no application fee, so anyone who is eligible is encouraged to apply.

As stated on the 2019 Application Instruction, available here, these visas are reserved for immigrants from “countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.” For 2019, the following countries are not eligible to apply, due to their relatively high rates of immigration to the U.S.:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

According to the DOS, “persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.”

The above list is unchanged from the 2018 list.

Beyond the above requirement, each primary applicant must meet one of the following education and/or work requirements:

  • at least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary 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. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.

Entry Period

The entry period for the 2019 Diversity Visa lottery is October 3, 2017 – November 7, 2017, and applications must be submitted through dvlottery.state.gov. The DOS emphasizes that applicants should not wait until the 1st week of November to submit applications, “as heavy demand may result in website delays.” They further stress that “no late entries or paper entries will be accepted.”

Odds of being selected

Every year, millions apply for only 50,000 available visas, and the odds of being selected are well under 1%. However, given how unique this program is – nothing else like it exists in the U.S. immigration system – and the fact that there is no application fee, anyone who is eligible is encouraged to apply.

Additional links

The DOS has provided a number of helpful links for prospective applicants:

Step-by-step application video

2019 application instruction and FAQ

Additional instructions, plus translated instructions

Process overview


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