Diversity Visa Program

The Immigration Act of 1990 established the Diversity Visa (DV) program, where 50,000 immigrant visas would be available in an annual lottery, starting in fiscal year 1995. The lottery aims to diversify the immigrant population in the United States, by selecting applicants mostly from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States in the previous five years. Because many more people apply for the program each year than there are available visas, selection is made at random by a computer — hence the popular name “visa lottery.”

It must be clearly understood that being selected to participate in the DV program does not guarantee that the applicant will be issued a visa.  The standards for qualification are simple, but strictly enforced. Each applicant must demonstrate either a sufficient level of education or a combination of qualifying skills and work experience, and must meet all other eligibility criteria for an immigrant to the U.S.

To apply for a diversity visa, follow the steps on the Diversity Visa Process web site. Once you have completed those steps, review the instructions given to you by the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC), along with the information presented on the website, for further guidance and instructions.

Important notice:

We are thrilled to see the level of interest in the Diversity Visa Program, or random selection of possible green card candidates, across the world. We believe that our diversity is our strength and are proud to welcome new immigrants to the United States.

For those who do not know, each year, from all registered entries, the Department of State conducts a random selection of Diversity Visa candidates or “selectees.” Selection does not guarantee that a person will receive a visa or a visa interview, but it is an important first step. Being selected means that the person is eligible to participate in the DV program.

The Department of State’s policy is to use as many as possible of the 55,000 diversity visas available each year, which must be issued by the fiscal deadline of September 30. In order to issue as close to 55,000 visas as we can, the Department of State has to select more diversity visa entries than there are visas available. This means that many selectees may not be able to obtain an interview appointment.

Those who receive a Diversity Visa interview must come prepared. Individuals who miss or reschedule their visa application appointments, or who attend their appointment without all required documents, increase the risk that a visa may not be available or issued. Such actions also result in the use of an appointment that might have otherwise benefited a qualified selectee.

We deeply understand the impact of our work on individuals and families involved in the Diversity Visa Program. Consular teams around the world are scheduling as many Diversity Visa appointments as possible and processing cases as quickly as possible in accordance with their capacity and alongside other consular services.