Diversity Immigrants

Distribution and lottery process

Diversity Immigrants

The Immigration Act 1990 created a new category, Diversity Immigrants, with the aim of providing immigration opportunities to people born in countries that have had the lowest numbers of immigrants in recent years.

Around 50,000 DV-1 visas are available each year through this scheme and are allocated by lottery (hence the scheme is commonly referred to as the ‘Visa Lottery’).

A maximum of 3,850 visas are issued to natives of each eligible country (to be eligible, a country must have had fewer than 50,000 visas, excluding diversity visas, issued to it during the previous five years). The UK has not qualified for a number of years, although Northern Ireland is eligible, as it is treated as a separate country for this programme only.

Applicants require a high school diploma (or equivalent) or a proven job skill requiring at least two years’ training and two years’ experience in that job within the last five years. No initial fee is payable on application, but successful applicants must pay a processing fee of $100 plus a $375 visa fee. The application period for DV-1 visas varies each year and usually lasts for two months only.

Applications must be submitted online via the Diversity Lottery website (www.dvlottery.state.gov ), including the submission of all photos and any supporting documents required. Only one application is permitted per person, although a husband and wife can each submit an application, even when only one spouse qualifies. If more than one application is submitted, the applicant is disqualified for that year.

The lottery ‘winners’ are selected by computer and must apply for their visas as soon as possible after they receive written notification of selection. Selection does not guarantee that a visa will be issued, as far more than 50,000 winners are selected each year. Spouses and minor children can emigrate with the
DV-1 winner.

Information about DV-1 visas and the application procedure can be obtained from US embassies and consulates or on the State Department visa website (www.travel.state.gov). No assistance is necessary from a lawyer or immigration expert, although many offer their services (often for a high fee that may claim to include a ‘free’ airline ticket or other prizes). Avoid companies offering information or assistance in connection with the visa lottery, as they’re simply a scam; no outside service can improve an applicant’s chance of being selected!

This article is an extract from Living and Working in America. Click here to get a copy now.

Further reading

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: