How Will You Know If You Have Been Selected for the DV Lottery?

Using the Entrant Status Check system to check whether the application you submitted for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery (“DV Lottery”) has been chosen.

By , Attorney · Temple University Beasley School of Law

You've submitted your application for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery ("DV Lottery") and are now waiting patiently to learn whether or not you are one of the 50,000 foreign citizens to "win." Winners can apply for U.S. permanent residence (a "green card"). This article discusses how the lucky winners are chosen and notified.

To learn more about which foreign citizens are eligible and how to apply, you can read Winning a Green Card Through the Visa Lottery.

You Can Check Your Status Beginning in Early May of the Year After You Apply

The DV Lottery has been fully automated, such that would-be immigrants from eligible countries may register only online. Entries to the DV Lottery are accepted each autumn (usually for about a month from October to November, but check the DV Lottery website to make sure).

Starting in early May of the year after you apply, you need to use Entrant Status Check as described below ( to learn whether or not you were randomly chosen from among the entrants from your country. The U.S. government will not mail you a letter, nor email you any notice, alerting you either that you "won" or not. The only way to find out is to use the electronic Entrant Status Check.

Do not delay in checking, because lottery winners need to act fast in order to get all the necessary information together for taking the next step and submitting a green card application. Also see How to Read the Diversity Visa Lottery Cutoff Numbers on the DOS Visa Bulletin for details on how soon you can take these follow-up steps.

All winners must apply for and be issued their DV visas before the following October (by September 30 of the next year). Also, every year more "winning entries" are chosen than there are actual visas, so you must act fast to benefit from the lottery.

How to Use the DV Lottery Entrant Status Check

Hold onto the confirmation number that you were given when you submitted your lottery entry, because you will need it to use the Entrant Status Check. If you lost it, you can retrieve it in the Entrant Status Check website if you know the email address you used to register for the lottery and certain personal information that will confirm your identity. Don't ask the State Department to give you your confirmation number any other way—they won't be able to.

Enter your confirmation number (a 16-digit number beginning with the year of the DV Lottery that you applied for, such as 2022 or 2023), your last name, and year of birth. Authenticate by typing the characters shown in the box.

People who are selected in the lottery will receive the good news and information on how to apply for an immigrant visa (if living abroad) or how to adjust your status (if currently in the U.S. and eligible to adjust).

Don't Fall Prey to Visa Lottery Scams

Again, Entrant Status Check is the only way to find out whether you are selected for the DV Lottery. The U.S. government does not send you any notifications.

Many unscrupulous individuals have promised DV applicants that they can get moved to the front of the line, get more entries, or obtain similar preferential treatment if they pay a fee. Other fraudsters have sent emails posing as the U.S. government, supposedly notifying recipients that they have won the DV lottery and advising them how to pay a fee for an immigrant visa.

These are all scams used to get your personal information and profit off your hopes for a chance to live and work in the United States.

What's Next If You 'Win' the Visa Lottery?

Winners have had luck on their side so far, but will need more luck in order to actually obtain a green card. Unfortunately, that isn't guaranteed.

The U.S. government always declares more winners than there are green cards available. That means if you don't follow up quickly or receive your interview on time, the supply could run out. And most of the hard work lies ahead, in terms of filling out application forms, gathering documents, and scheduling an interview. You will need to prove that you meet the work or educational requirements and are otherwise admissible to the United States.

Exactly what procedures you'll need to follow after winning depends on where you live:

The potential for delay in either of these processes is serious. Both the State Department and USCIS are often so backed up that months go by with no action, causing you to miss your opportunity altogether.

Another issue is that you will need to show that you are not "inadmissible" to the United States. For example, if you have been arrested for committing certain crimes, are considered a security risk, or are afflicted with certain physical or mental illnesses, you may be prevented from receiving a green card. Also, you must prove that you'll be able to support yourself financially in the U.S. (will not likely become a "public charge"). This can be a huge challenge for lottery winners. (For more, see Inadmissibility: When the U.S. Can Keep You Out.)

Getting Legal Help

For all of the reasons described above, it's a good idea to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney. with applying for your immigrant visa or green card. The attorney can analyze whether you have any issues with inadmissibility, prepare the forms and help you gather the other needed paperwork, and monitor your progress toward timely approval of lawful permanent residence.

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