At the beginning of each federal fiscal year (October), the Department of State conducts a lottery called the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. If a person is selected, they are eligible to submit an application for permanent residence (i.e., a green card).
Anyone can register as long as they are a native of an eligible country (oversubscribed countries are not eligible, so the list of countries is subject to change each year), and have at least a high school diploma (or equivalent) or at least two years of work experience.
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the U.S. Department of State and conducted under the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
This lottery provides a maximum of up to 55,000 Diversity Visas (DV) each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Those granted a DV visa become permanent residents of the United States.
The annual DV program makes diversity immigrant visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated random lottery drawing chooses selectees for DVs.
The visas, however, are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the period of the past five years. Within each region, no one country may receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.
Instructions for the DV-2023 lottery are below. The application period runs from noon Eastern Daylight Time, Wednesday, October 6, 2021, through noon Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday, November 9, 2021.