Who Is eligible for the Diversity Visa?
1. Country of birth
In order to qualify for the Diversity Visa, you must have been born in a country that sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past 5 years. There is some yearly variation in the countries that are eligible, but Canada, China, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom never make the list, because these countries all send a large number of immigrants to the United States.
If your native country is not eligible, there are still two ways you could qualify for the Diversity Visa.
If your spouse was born in an eligible country, you can apply with your spouse and choose your spouse’s birth country on your application.
If neither of your parents were legal residents in your own country of birth, you can choose your mother or father’s country of birth.
For DV-2024, persons born in the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.
U.S. immigration law and regulations require that every DV entrant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. A “high school education or equivalent” is defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States OR the successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Only formal courses of study meet this requirement; correspondence programs or equivalency certificates (such as the General Equivalency Diploma G.E.D.) are not acceptable.
You must present documentary proof of education or work experience to the consular officer at the time of the visa interview.
If you do not meet the requirements for education or work experience, your entry will be disqualified at the time of your visa interview, and no visas will be issued to you or any of your family members.
3. Occupations qualified for the DV programThe Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) O*Net OnLine database to determine qualifying work experience. The O*Net OnLine database categorizes job experience into five “job zones.” While the DOL website lists many occupations, not all occupations qualify for the DV program. To qualify for a DV on the basis of your work experience, you must have, within the past five years, two years of experience in an occupation classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) range of 7.0 or higher. If you do not meet the requirements for education or work experience, your entry will be disqualified at the time of your visa interview, and no visas will be issued to you or any of your family members.
4. General admissibility requirements
If you’re selected in the green card lottery, you and your family members will have to meet the same requirements as any other U.S. green card applicant. Certain types of criminal records could make you ineligible for a green card. There are also some medical conditions that could make it difficult or impossible to get a green card.