Visa Lottery

USA Visa Lottery 2023: How the Green Card Lottery Really Works

Beware of the Buyer

Many con artists out there will steal your money and exchange it for useless or even dangerous information. You may come across private websites (many of which look to be genuine) that offer everything from green card lottery assistance to recommendations on how to “game the system.” Many even provide support to applicants when they apply for the card, although this comes at a cost.

You may receive phony letters, emails, or other kinds of communication claiming that you've been chosen as a lottery winner.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • There will be no cost to enter the green-card lottery.
  • The drawing is produced at random by computers.
  • You can only determine whether you have won by going to (typically beginning May 1).
  • If you're successful and eligible to apply, you'll be required to pay for an amount; however, it must be paid in the presence of a U.S. embassy or consulate.

If you suspect you will need professional assistance during the application process, USCIS has many resources to help you. It also includes tools for detecting scammers, such as those mentioned above. The green card lottery does not guarantee you a green card, but it does provide you the opportunity to apply for one.

Even though you're participating in an unintended drawing, there are a few legal (and free) ways to increase your chances of winning. If both of you are eligible, you and your spouse can apply. This allows you to win multiple times instead of just one. If one of them wins, the other cannot accept the application and be listed as an heir apparent.

Your children are eligible to apply if they meet the academic or work requirements, and there is no limit to the number of applicants from the same family who can be considered. It's important to remember that if one of them wins the challenge, they won't be able to immediately relocate your family to the United States, but they can begin the procedure to do so later.

Achieving a Diversity Visa

A green card lottery win does not guarantee receiving a green card in the mail. If you're fortunate enough to be able to claim the prize, it means you may have been fortunate enough to apply for a green card.

Visit the DV Entrant Status Check link online to see if you were lucky enough to win a lottery on or after May 8.  If you've won the lottery, you'll be brought to a confirmation page with more instructions after clicking the link.

Waiting List

Because there are approximately 125,000 names drawn, but only 50,000 people are eligible for green cards, everyone who is chosen is placed on a waiting list and given a number. 10 If your waitlist is exceptionally long, and 50,000 people in front of you have finished their applications and been approved, you will not be able to apply or even receive a green card.

Suppose you're currently residing in the United States in a non-immigrant or another legally recognized status. In that case, the route you'll follow if you're lucky enough to win and be eligible to apply for a green card is through USCIS. Most lottery winners who hold green cards live outside of the United States and go through a consular screening process.

The Bottom Line

Because applying for the green card lottery is free, even if you're “inline” for your green card through another means, you might be interested in applying for the lottery just in case there's an issue.

Even though it is a lottery, the restrictions are very stringent and are outlined in the guidelines. Before submitting, make sure to read them thoroughly. Because you can only apply once a year, you don't want to miss out on your chance to achieve your objective due to a tiny application error.

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