The United States Visa Lottery Program, officially known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program), was established by the Immigration Act of 1990. The program aims to diversify the immigrant population of the United States by providing an opportunity for individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the US to obtain permanent residency.
Here is a brief overview of the history of the US Visa Lottery Program:
- Immigration Act of 1990: The Diversity Visa Program was introduced as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. The program allocated 55,000 immigrant visas annually to individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
- Random Selection Process: The DV Program utilizes a random selection process, commonly referred to as the visa lottery. Eligible participants submit their applications online during a specific registration period, and a computer-generated random lottery selects individuals for further processing.
- Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for the DV Program, individuals must be from a qualifying country, meet certain education or work experience requirements (typically a high school education or its equivalent), and meet other eligibility criteria set by the US Department of State.
- Annual Diversity Visa Lottery: The DV Program runs on an annual basis. The registration period usually takes place in the fall, and the selection results are announced the following year. Selected individuals are notified and provided with instructions for the visa application process.
- Processing and Interview: Selected applicants must complete the visa application process, including submitting additional documentation, undergoing a medical examination, and attending an interview at a US embassy or consulate. They are evaluated for admissibility based on immigration laws and undergo security checks.
- Green Card Status: Successful applicants who complete the process receive a diversity immigrant visa, also known as a green card. This grants them permanent residency status in the United States, allowing them to live and work in the country, and eventually pursue US citizenship.
- Changes and Updates: Over the years, there have been various changes to the program, including updates to the eligible countries list and modifications to the application process. It’s important for participants to refer to the official instructions and requirements provided by the US Department of State for each annual lottery.
It’s worth noting that the US Visa Lottery Program has been subject to discussions and debates regarding its effectiveness and potential vulnerabilities. However, it continues to be a pathway for individuals from eligible countries to pursue lawful permanent residency in the United States.