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DV Lottery Requirement – Birth Country

DV Lottery Requirement #1 – Birth Country

In order to participate in the American Green Card (Diversity Visa) Lottery program, you must be born in a country that is currently eligible.  The list of countries eligible to take part in the DV Lottery is updated each year on the US  State Department website (usually around September).

Approximately 75% of the Earth’s population is not allowed to participate in the US Green Card Lottery, so if you were born in an eligible country, you should feel quite fortunate!

The reason that most people in the world are blocked from taking part in the DV Lottery is that a main goal of this program is to diversify the US population and give people from across the globe an opportunity to enjoy the “American Dream.”  Therefore, if people born in a certain country are prohibited from participating in the DV Lottery Program in any given year, it is usually because more than 50,000 people born in their country immigrated to the United States during the previous five years.  Consequently, individuals born in the blocked countries may not participate in the Green Card Lottery for a period of time determined by the US State Department in order to give people born in other countries a chance to also come to America.

For the DV-2020 American Green Card Lottery (which will be held in early 2019), people born in the following countries may NOT participate:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China* (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

*Please note that individuals who were born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible to take part in the DV-2020 Green Card Lottery (if they also meet the education or work experience requirements).

If you were born in a country that is presently not eligible to participate in the American DV Lottery, there are a few “exceptions to the rule” that you should be aware of:

  1. If you are married and your spouse was born in a country currently listed by the US State Department as eligible to participate in the Green Card Lottery, AND if your spouse meets the education or work requirement (see below), then an application can be sent to the DV Lottery under your spouse’s name and if they win, then you also win (along with your unmarried children under the age of 21 at the time of registration).  Please note that you, your spouse and all unmarried children under the age of 21 at the time of registration, must be listed on your USA Green Card application along with all the required details and photos.  Furthermore, if your spouse wins the Green Card Lottery and you are both issued Diversity Visas, you and your spouse must also enter the United States simultaneously (at the same time);
  1. If one of your parents was born in a country that is currently eligible to participate in the DV Lottery and they were not a resident of the ineligible country that you were born in, you may be able to claim “nativity” from your parent who was born in the eligible country.  Please note, however, that you must still meet the education/work experience requirement to participate in the DV Lottery.
  1. If you meet the education or job requirements for the DV Lottery Program (see below), but were not born in a country that is currently eligible to participate in the Green Card Lottery, AND you are married to a spouse who also meets the education or job qualifications for the Lottery AND your spouse was also born in an eligible country, THEN you may be able to get “nativity” from your eligible spouse and we may also be able to send two separate applications to the Green Card Lottery – one under your name and also one under your spouse’s name –  along with the details and photos of all unmarried children under the age of 21 at the time of registration, and if either you or your spouse wins the Lottery, the other spouse also wins (and all unmarried children under the age of 21 at the time of registration)!