The Diversity Visa program, often called the green card lottery, is definitely one of the easiest ways to become a permanent resident of the United States. The difficulty, of course, is to win the lottery first.
What are your chances of winning the green card lottery?
Each year there are millions of people participating in the program. DV-2010, for example, received 13.6 million qualified entries. The total number of applicants should have been much higher because some of them were rejected for a variety of reasons. Out of 13.6 million, only 102800 were selected randomly by a computer, i.e., winning the lottery. That turns out to be about 1 in every 270 people.
There are only 50,000 diversity visas available each year. So half of the 102800 lottery winners will not get a green card after all. The reason Department of State selected more applicants is that some of them may not proceed with actual visa application, and some may miss the deadline, or see their applications rejected.
So for DV-2010, one lucky winner out of 540 eligible applicants actually got a green card. Not a great percentage, but not too bad either. Here is a more detailed breakdown, using DOS data:
|Qualified Entries||Selected Entries (Lottery Winners)||Green Cards Available|
Note that different geographic regions may have slightly different odds, and it fluctuates every year depending on entry volume. Also countries with high immigration rate to the U.S. are excluded from the lottery, meaning that natives from India, China, Brazil, UK, Canada and several other countries are not eligible to participate in the DV program.
The online entry registration period for DV-2011 will end on Monday, November 30, 2009. If you are interested and eligible, don’t wait for the last minute. And if you are selected, submit your visa application as soon as possible to increase your chances of securing a green card.