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How Does the Green Card Lottery Work?

What you may not know is that there is a unique opportunity to receive permanent resident status in the United States. This opportunity is called the green card lottery. If you have been working toward residency in this country, continue reading to learn about your chances of winning this lottery and how an experienced Lyndhurst green card immigration lawyer at The Law Offices of Salvatore A. Falletta can help you navigate this process.

How does the green card lottery work?

Put simply, the green card lottery makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available each year. There is a random selection among all entries in order to draw these 50,000 immigrant visas. Notably, this is a system initiated by the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which is a program administered by the United States Department of State.

The majority of individuals who make up these lottery entries are those who are from countries with low immigration rates to the United States. And so, such individuals typically reside outside of the United States at the time of the drawing, and they are seeking to immigrate through the consular processing of an immigrant visa.

This is not to say that there is not a handful of individuals who make up these lottery entries that are already residing in the United States as a nonimmigrant or with another legal status. And so, with their names being drawn, they are seeking to have their adjustment of status processed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

What are the eligibility criteria for a green card through this program?

Before all else, you must ensure that you are even eligible to receive a green card or otherwise adjust your status under the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

So, if you were selected for a diversity visa through this lottery system, you must have your immigrant visa available as soon as it is time to file your Form I-485, otherwise known as the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. And overall, you must confirm that your background makes you admissible to the United States.

What other considerations should I have about this program?

There are certain rules and regulations that come with this lottery. For one, a diversity visa or adjustment application cannot be judged until your visa can be allocated. Also, winners must complete their adjustment of status application and process by September 30th of the fiscal year of the given lottery, as diversity visas cannot be carried over.

So if you are one of the lucky winners of the green card lottery, you must act fast. That is, you must retain the services of a skilled lawyer from our Lyndhurst family & immigration law firm as immediately as possible.