What is the General Procedure to Get a Green Card after the Visa Lottery?

The State Department selects about 100,000 applications per year based on a computer-assigned ranking system. The selection does not mean that the selected applicant is a permanent resident. If selected, the applicant is allowed to apply for permanent residence either throughconsular processing or adjustment of status if the applicant is located inside the U.S and qualifies for the adjustment. The reason 100,000 applications are selected is because not everyone who is selected will be ready for consular processing that fiscal year or may otherwise be disqualified.

The Department of State will send a notice of selection to the selected applicant with “Packet III,” the immigrant visa processing information packet. Those who were not selected may find out by checking the Electronic Diversity Visa website. After the selected applicant receives Packet III, he or she must follow the procedures in obtaining an immigrant visa as would any other immigrant visa applicant. In other words, they must follow the instructions and complete Packet III if the alien applies for an immigrant visa through consular processing. Afterwards, they send the requisite material to the consulate (or to the USCIS if they are applying for adjustment of status) if their rank order number is current.

Immigrant visas will be issued each month to those applicants who are ready for visa issuance that month according to the rank order. The State Department announces each month through a Visa Bulletin the cut off number for each region. An immigrant visa will not be available to the selected applicant until his or her rank order number is below the posted cut off number by the State Department. Selected applicants can only apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status during the fiscal year they were selected. If they do not, then they will not be able to apply for an adjustment of status or an immigrant visa based on that year's program. In order to be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa again under the program, they would have to apply for the lottery in the next fiscal year assuming they would still qualify. For this reason, it is important that the applicant be ready to apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status upon notification of selection because in many cases, the opportunity to apply will be very narrow, and a slight delay or technical glitch in visa processing can result in disqualification.

Our firm does not provide services for an alien's enrollment into the diversity visa lottery program. The procedure is rather straight-forward and an alien should be able to apply easily with the information provided on our website. As selection is basedon theluck of the draw; there is nothing an attorney can do to increase an applicant's chances for success. Nevertheless, once an applicant is selected and is eligible for adjustment of status or consular processing, we can provide assistance with those procedures. Please click here for a list of fees for our services.

(Updated 10/8/2012 by AG)

For more information on the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, please click on the following links: