Green Cards

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Green Cards are administered by the Department of State (DOS). Officially called the United States Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery, these Green Cards are particularly desirable because they are reserved for nationals of low-admission countries for immigration quotas. If an individual does not meet other criteria for immigration--such as having a close relative in this country, or having an offer of employment--Green Cards provide a chance for the applicant and family to be accepted for immigration to America.

With 55,000 slots and 10 million applicants last year, this computer-generated lottery is obviously a recognized alternative path to permanent residency in this country. Introduced in 1990, this lottery program is extraordinarily popular, one reason being that each applicant has an equal chance of obtaining a Green Card. Each applicant must be a native of a qualifying country, meet the education or training requirements of the program, and complete a proper application.

Requirements for Green Cards

The exact dates of each year's lottery differ. The State Department only accepts applications during the Application Period, which, in 2004, is November 1 until December 31. This year's lottery applications will be accepted by electronic filing only. An Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form must be submitted at during this period. Winners are notified next year; individuals who do not win do not receive any notification.

Although each person is allowed one entry, a husband and wife may enter separate applications. If only one wins, both spouses and their family may reside permanently in the United States. Interested persons should conform to the DOS's requirements; last year, over 41 percent of applications were disqualified for not complying with these requirements.

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