The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States government lottery program for those immigrants who want to obtain a U.S. Permanent Resident Card. Run by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), it is also known as the Green Card lottery. The Immigration Act of 1990 established the current Diversity Visa (DV) program. The Act was an amendment to the U.S. immigration law, which increased the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter the country each year. The majority of the lottery winners reside in another country and immigrate by obtaining an immigrant visa. However, each year there is a minority of lottery winners who are living in the United States with a nonimmigrant or a different legal status at the time their lottery number is selected. For these winners who are living within U.S. borders, USCIS processes applications for adjustment of status.
Who Is Eligible and What Visas Are Available?
In order to adjust status under the Diversity Visa Program, an applicant must establish the following:
- Was chosen for a diversity visa by DOS lottery
- Has an immigrant visa accessible at the time of filing an application for adjustment of status (Form I-485)
- Is admissible to the United States
To check visa availability, the DOS issues a Visa Bulletin. This is a chart that shows which visa priority numbers are currently being processed. The bulletin estimates the waiting period for applicants to obtain their visas. When the allotted number of Diversity Immigrants is reached, visas will be available in that particular month for the applicants with Diversity Immigrant lottery ranking numbers below the designated cut-off numbers in their geographic areas....