The U.S. Green Card Lottery
Newsflash!!! DV-2008 Green Card Lottery starts October 4th 2006
You have undoubtedly seen advertisements for the U.S. Green Card
Lottery in countless magazines, newspapers and other publications
– not to mention the endless number of websites solely devoted
to the subject. All promise the opportunity, assuming your number
comes up, to legally enter the U.S. to live and work. But what exactly
is the U.S. Green Card Lottery, and how can you take part and be
given a chance to win a Green Card and move to the U.S. to live
and work? Firstly it would be a good idea to understand exactly
what a Green Card is, and what it means to be a holder of one.
What exactly is a Green
A Green Card also goes by the name of an ‘Alien
Registration Receipt Card’, and many years ago they were
green in colour – hence the name, Green Card. The main function
of the Green Card is to allow the holder the right to permanent
residence in the United States and, as such, the right to work.
This is not to be confused with a work permit which simply affords
the right to work temporarily in the United States (see our section
on U.S. immigration for more
information about work permits).
What is the U.S. Green Card Lottery?
Anyone who has tried to obtain a Green Card through the normal channels
will be aware of just how difficult a task it can be. Thus, the
opportunity to obtain one with relatively little effort through
the U.S. Green Card Lottery is a major attraction to millions of
people the world over every year.
Every year, the U.S. government allocates a certain number of Green
Cards that can be issued by means of a lottery, officially known
as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery, or Green Card Lottery.
That is to say that everyone who applies under the Green Card Lottery
goes in to a lottery draw where every applicant is given a unique
number, and those numbers that are randomly selected by computer
will receive the right to a U.S. Green Card. Of course there are
rules and regulations regarding who can apply, but for many people
the Green Card Lottery offers the best chance of legally entering
the U.S. to live and work permanently.
How does the U.S. Green Card Lottery
For the purposes of the lottery the world is
divided up into different regions. Each region is allocated a
certain percentage of the total 50,000 visas that are available
with no more than 3,850 visas being allocated to any one country,
or any one country being allocated more than 7 percent of the
total for that region. The qualifying countries varies depending
on the level of general immigration to the U.S. from those respective
countries, or areas of the world, over the five years preceding
that years lottery. As such, the eligibility of some countries
will change from year to year depending on the level of immigration
to the U.S. from those countries during the preceding 5 years.
Countries with high levels of immigration to the U.S. already
will not be eligible to participate in the Green Card Lottery
scheme for that year. Check the U.S.
Green Card Official Site to see which countries are being
accepted into the scheme. It is also worth mentioning that if
you come from a country that is not eligible to participate in
the Green Card Lottery one particular year you may become eligible
in future years. It is worth keeping a close eye on each year’s
requirements and apply if the eligibility of your country changes.