The choice of winners of the U.S. diversity visa lottery is completely random. For the 50,000 available visas each year, between 13 million to 20 million eligible people from various countries in the world apply.

Of course, people are always looking for ways to increase their chances of success. For example, some have tried entering more than once. This led the U.S. Department of State to implement a system that automatically disqualifies anyone who submits multiple entries. (And the disqualification applies to ALL your applications.)

You can, however, increase your family’s chances of becoming residents of the United States by various legal and acceptable means, which we’ll discuss in this article.

Idea 1:

Both Spouses, If Eligible, Should Enter the Diversity Visa Lottery Drawing

A married applicant can double the above noted chances of winning by entering the green card lottery twice, also know as a Husband/Wife application where the husband submits an application once and includes his wife and children under 21 years and his wife submits an application including her husband and children under 21 years of age. Thus, now they have two applications in the draw and if any of the two applications gets selected they all win.

Idea 2:

Eligible Children Should Also Apply

There is no limit on how many eligible members of the same family may apply. If you have any children who have met the educational or work experience requirements (which usually requires them to be at least 16 to 18 years of age), those children should also enter the lottery. They won’t, if they win, be able to bring you to the U.S. immediately; but they will start a path to helping you and other family members immigrate in the future.

For example: You and your 20-year-old son are eligible for diversity visas, and you both apply. Your son wins, but you do not. Your son enters the United States and becomes a lawful permanent resident. After five years of living in the U.S., your son can become a U.S. citizen. As a U.S. citizen, he can petition for you (considered his “immediate relative”) to become a resident of the United States.

Idea 3:

Submit a complete and accurate application

The only way to win the green card lottery is to register a complete and accurate entry during the annual entry window (which runs each year from early October to early November, although the exact dates vary from year to year), and then get lucky. It is a wholly random draw and there is nothing you can do to make your entry more likely to be selected.

There are, of course, many things you can do that will prevent you from winning. These include registering for the lottery more than once in the same year, and making any false statements in your registration (including things such as failing to include a spouse or any children, misrepresenting your nation of birth, or misrepresenting whether you meet the basic qualifications). And, obviously, if you enter the lottery but you are not born in (or otherwise chargeable to) an eligible country, you will not be selected.

You can only enter the Diversity Lottery during the annual window in the fall, typically about one month starting on or about October 1. It is literally impossible to make an entry at any other time not during the annual window. Anyone who offers to submit an entry for you at some other time is likely scamming you, as is anybody who offers to enter you into the lottery for a fee or who offers to “improve your chances” in exchange for a fee. Entering the lottery is free; anyone who charges you a fee is doing so only for their own benefit.

How does it work?

Individuals in countries that are determined by a formula to have a low enough level of immigration to the US can apply for the visas at certain times each year. Most of the lottery recipients live outside the US, but a few are in the US legally on other visas.

According to the formula set out by law, countries that have had more than 50,000 natives immigrate to the US in the previous five years are ineligible.

The visas are distributed further by regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America (other than Mexico), Oceania and South America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

The program is run by the State Department.

While individuals are selected for visas randomly, they still must meet security and eligibility requirements that all immigrants must clear to actually get their visas.

Diversity recipients specifically must also have at least a high school education or equivalent and must have had at least two years of experience working a job that requires at least two years of training or experience within five years of the date of the application. They must also be admissible to the US — categories of inadmissibility to the US broadly include terrorism connections.

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