Immigration Lotteries

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Immigration lotteries are a boon to those who want to live permanently in the United States, but do not fall into the categories of family-based or employment-based migrants. If migrants are not a spouse, unmarried child under 21, or a parent of a citizen, they do not qualify for family-based immigration. If they do not have an offer of employment, they do not fall into the employment-based immigration category.

With immigration lotteries for Green Cards, however, 55,000 permanent residence visas are reserved each year for hopeful migrants who cannot rely on these other categories for immigration to America. Winners are literally chosen by computer-generated lottery drawings, so everyone has an equal chance. Winners may also bring their families with them to live in the United States.

Immigration Lotteries for Green Cards

Entrants have a 60-day window every year in which to submit the proper forms for consideration. If these are not filled out completely and accurately, they will be disqualified--this happened to over 41 percent of applicants last year. This year, only Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Forms will be accepted, meaning, applicants must efile their forms.

The Department of State immigration lotteries are only available to citizens of countries with low admissions to the United States. The visas are distributed among six geographical regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America, Oceania, and North America. The applicants must also meet the education and training requirements of the program. Undocumented applicants in the United States (illegal aliens) are allowed to enter this lottery.

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