The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery for 2018 closed on November 7th, 2016 at noon, EST (5 hours behind GMT). The Diversity Visa program makes 50,000 permanent resident visas (more commonly known as Green cards) available to natives of countries with low rates of immigration to the US, including Ireland. Eligibility is by country of birth in most cases, not nationality. Any country which has sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the US in the previous 5 years is excluded from the program. The UK (except Northern Ireland) is excluded. The visas are distributed on a regional basis with those countries sending fewer immigrants receiving more DV visas. No single country can receive more than 7% (3,500) of the total number of visas. Approximately 100,000 winners are selected at random by computer so only half of those selected can successfully conclude the process. Only one DV entry per person is permitted; receipt of more than one entry will disqualify the applicant.
Every year there are thousands of victims of green card lottery fraud and scams of all kinds. The ONLY way to apply is through the appropriate US Department of State website; see official instructions and FAQs: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/
Applications are free; claims by companies or individuals that they can increase your chances of being selected by handling an application (for a fee) are bogus. Also, beware of emails notifying you that you have been successful and asking you to pay an application or other fee. The US Department of State will not notify successful applicants by email.
A high school education is required, or 2 years of work experience in the last 5 years in an occupation requiring at least 2 years of training or work experience; US Department of Labor definitions will apply.
Applicants must also show they are self-sufficient and unlikely to become a public charge on the US Government and must not have committed US immigration transgressions in the past.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 may also apply for Green cards to accompany or follow to join the principal DV applicant.
Risks associated with applying for the Green card lottery
All US visas except green cards are temporary and require non-immigrant intent, i.e., the retention of domicile outside the US. Some US visa categories are dual intent (e.g., H-1B, L-1), a fictional concept which allows a person required to have non-immigrant intent to also have immigrant intent, but the result is that the holder of a dual intent temporary visa may apply for a green card. Single intent visa holders (e.g. B visitor visa, J-1, F-1) are not permitted to have immigrant intent and are therefore precluded from applying for permanent residence (Green card). All US visa applications ask whether an immigrant visa application has ever been submitted, and in the case of lottery visa applications, the answer must be ‘yes’. Does this therefore mean that application for a lottery Green card indicates immigrant intent? The answer may be yes in some circumstances. Generally, it is accepted by US Department of State that simply entering the lottery does not indicate an intention to move to the US permanently but it may be considered in determining whether a person has immigrant intent if there are other factors at play. Anyone who has been denied a US visa or entry to the US or who has reason to be concerned (overstays, fraud, misrepresentation) should carefully consider the risks.
Each case will turn on its own facts but those who require a B visitor visa to enter the US because they cannot use visa waiver, and J-1 and F-1 trainees/students should proceed with caution.
For many wishing to live in the US, the DV lottery is their only hope. Beginning May 2, 2017 and continuing until September 30, 2018, DV 2018 applicants may check their status online by entering their DV Green Card Lottery Confirmation number at the Department of State’s DV lottery website: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/
Those not selected will NOT receive any notification.
Being selected does not guarantee ultimate success as the number of DV entries selected and registered is always greater than the number of Green cards available. Therefore, those selected must complete and file their applications quickly. Entrants should keep their confirmation number until at least September 30, 2018; processing of entries and issuance of green cards to successful applicants and their families must occur by midnight on September 30, 2018.
Good luck to all!