News & Insights
2021 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration is Now Open
The registration period is October 2 to November 5, 2019.
The Diversity Visa Program, commonly called the visa “lottery,” was created to maintain a balance of diversity among those immigrating to the U.S. The Department of State divides the planet into regions, and then subdivides the regions by country. Those countries from where more people immigrated to the U.S., receive fewer chances in the lottery. Those countries from where fewer people immigrated receive more chances in the lottery. If more than 50,000 people immigrated to the U.S. from a given country in the last five years, that country isn’t eligible at all. No more than 7% of the total visas will go to natives of any one country.
What Countries are Not Eligible for 2021?
Countries that are not eligible this year include:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam
Except that persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.
The country of eligibility is the country of birth of the registrant. [Note additional details may apply if one spouse is from a qualifying country, or a parent is from a qualifying country, in which event the spouse’s or parent’s country of birth may qualify.]
What are the Education and Work Requirements?
In addition to qualifying based on country, each diversity visa (DV) applicant must meet the education/work experience requirement. Specifically, each applicant must demonstrate they have either:
- at least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education [Note an equivalency such as a GED is not acceptable; a registrant must have the actual 12 years of education]; OR
- two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.
How Does this Visa Lottery Process Work?
The lottery system generally notifies 110,000 applicants they have been selected for the 55,000 places. Notifying more applicants than can ultimately be admitted through the program assures the 55,000 will actually be utilized, since a number of applicants ultimately will be deemed inadmissible or not complete the process in time. So if selected, it’s then a race to be one of the 55,000 who actually are admitted under the program.
If notified they have been selected, then the applicant must go through the process to apply for an immigrant visa abroad or to adjust status if lawfully present in the U.S. At this stage, each applicant must be admissible to the U.S. Factors that may make a person inadmissible include prior negative immigration history, criminal history, security risk, public charge, and more.
Updated Bulletin Instructions
Each month the State Department publishes a bulletin instructing which applicants may proceed with the next steps that month. In order to actually immigrate based on this program, the entire process must be complete and the applicant must actually enter the U.S. on or before September 30, 2021. There are no excuses, waivers, or options for any reason to extend that deadline. Any delays, such as a request by the government for additional information or documentation, can seriously jeopardize that applicant’s ability to immigrate even after having been selected.
THE REGISTRATION PERIOD IS OCTOBER 2 TO NOVEMBER 5, 2019 noon Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5)!
Each applicant may only submit one registration. If the computerized system identifies more than one registration from the same individual, that person will be disqualified. Spouses or individual family members may each submit one registration.
Each registrant will receive a confirmation number to be used after May 5, 2020 to check the status of the registration.
If you think you may be interested in registering for the program, feel free to contact us at: