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Green Card Lottery Process

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DV programs are based on fiscal years, and usually start two years earlier. Below is a general process using DV-2012 as an example. Since the process and especially timeline change from year to year, you must read the instructions very carefully before proceeding.

  • Enter Lottery: Green Card Lottery 2012 (DV-2012) registration period starts on October 5, 2010 and will remain open until November 3, 2010. All entries must be submitted electronically at the dvlottery.state.gov website during this period. No paper entries will be accepted;
  • Only one entry is allowed per person. Multiple entries from the same person will automatically disqualify him/her, regardless of who submitted the entry. A husband and a wife may each apply separately, and if either wins the lottery, the other will be allowed to apply for an immigrant visa as a derivative dependent;
  • Participation in the green card lottery is completely free. The United States government does NOT charge any fee to download, fill out or sumbit lottery entry forms. Only when you are selected and have decided to pursue a green card you will be asked to pay necessary application fees;
  • Keep Confirmation: After submitting your lottery entry online, you must retain the confirmation page which contains important information that allows you to check your status. There is no other way to retrieve your confirmation number at a later time;
  • Check Status: Beginning May 1, 2011 you will be able to check your entry status online to see if you have been selected (won the lottery). However, due to a computer glitch, originally announced DV-2012 results were voided and new results will be posted around July 15, 2011. Online status check will remain open until June 30, 2012;
  • The Entry Status Check is the ONLY way to find out if you have won the green card lottery. The Kentucky Consular Center will not send emails or letters to notify winners. Applicants not selected in the process will be notified at the status check website as well;
  • Apply for Visa/AOS: If you are selected (meaning that you won the lottery), you will be directed to another page with instructions on what to do next. You will also be able to see your place on the list of selectees;
  • When instructed by KCC, submit your immigrant visa application along with application fees for further processing. Your spouse and dependent children may also apply at the same time;
  • Act Promptly: DV-2012 uses visa numbers allotted for FY 2012, which runs from 10/1/2011 to 9/30/2012. All visa processing must be completed by the end of FY-2012. If your visa application is still pending after September 30, 2012, you will lose your opportunity to obtain a green card as no DV-2012 visa will be issued after that date. Since DOS always selects more winners than the actual number of visas available, and visa processing can be very time consuming, we recommend that you act quickly and take the next step as soon as being instructed to do so;
  • Receive Green Card: If you meet all eligibility requirements and complete the visa processing in time, you will be able to enter the United States as an immigrant or adjust your status to that of a permanent resident (either way you will receive a green card).