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What is the Diversity Lottery? When does the Diversity Lottery open? Can I apply for the Diversity Lottery if I am in the U.S. without status?

By September 16, 2016April 6th, 2021Immigration

The Diversity Lottery is a program that provides green cards for people from countries with historically low rates of immigration through a lottery system. 50,000 green cards will be awarded for Fiscal Year 2018 (which begins on October 2017), and there is no cost to enter the lottery. Entries for the 2018 Diversity Lottery will be accepted starting October 4, 2016 and will end on Monday, November 11, 2016.

Eligibility for the Diversity Lottery primarily depends on your country of birth. One notable change for this year’s lottery is that individuals born in Ecuador are again eligible to enter. Natives of the following countries are not eligible to enter: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born- individuals born in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are eligible to enter), Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and Vietnam.

There are additional limitations on the Diversity Lottery. One requirement is that individuals have a High School Degree (or its equivalent) or have two years of work experience within the past five years in a job that requires two years of training or experience. Another limitation is that you cannot be inadmissible to the United States. Click here for more information about Inadmissibility.

Please note that with the expansion of the provisional waiver for unlawful presence, the Diversity Lottery now may benefit individuals living in the United States without status who have a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse or parent. Please click here for more information about the expanded provisional waiver.

The Department of State advises not to wait until the last week to enter the lottery as heavy demand is anticipated which will result in Web Site delays. You can apply free of charge for the diversity lottery at 


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