What Is The Green Card Lottery?

Published on January 30th, 2017

If you are at all familiar with immigration you have probably heard of a green card. A green card, or green card holder, is just another name for someone who has obtained permanent residency in the United States. It is someone who has been given permission to live and/or work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. The permanent resident card these people are given is colloquially referred to as a “green card.” The steps to becoming a green card holder vary. The three main paths to obtaining a green card are through sponsorship by a family member, through a job, or through refugee or asylum status. These methods are best pursued with the help of a Chicago immigration lawyer.  There are other ways to obtain a green card but these three paths are the most common.

However, there is one way some people obtain a green card and it is a kind of sensationalized path to entry in the immigrant community. This is the green card lottery.

Green Card Lottery

The Green Card Lottery, otherwise known as the Diversity Visa Lottery, is a government program that makes 55,000 permanent residency visas available to people from “underrepresented countries.” These underrepresented countries are countries whose people are less represented in employment and family based preference categories in the U.S. Nearly 14.5 million people entered the 2015 green card lottery. Clearly there is a huge disparity between the number of applicants and the number of permits given out. To obtain a permanent residence permit through a more traditional path get help from a Chicago immigration lawyer.


There are only two qualifications to enter into the green card lottery.

1) You must be native to an aforementioned “underrepresented country.” Qualifying and non-qualifying countries can change year-to-year so it’s important to know where your country stands at the time of your application.

2) To be eligible one must have completed a U.S. high school education or the foreign equivalent OR have worked in a qualifying occupation for two years in the past five years.

Proof of qualification should not be submitted when you enter into the lottery, rather it is called up if your name is picked.

Get Help From A Chicago Immigration Lawyer

The green card lottery is a sensational yet unrealistic example of how the United States immigration system actually works. On average a mere 5 percent of people given permanent residency in the United States are lottery winners. This means most people have to follow more traditional channels toward residency. If you are looking to gain permanent residence in the United States then you need an experienced Chicago immigration lawyer on your side. At Din Law we are dedicated to aggressively representing our clients to achieve the best outcome for their case. Call us today to get your immigration case started.

Source: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services


Book an Appointment

Book an Appointment