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 have the chance to 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.
The DV Lottery has been fully automated, and would-be immigrants from eligible countries may apply online only. You will not be mailed a letter or emailed a notice alerting you that you “won” or that your entry was not accepted. The only way to find out whether you were successful is to use the electronic Entrant Status Check at www.dvlottery.state.gov/ESC.
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 will be able to use Entrant Status Check to learn whether or not you were randomly chosen from the entrants from your country for the opportunity to apply for an immigrant visa.
Do not delay in checking your status, because if you are a lottery winner you will need to act fast in order to get all the necessary information together for submitting your green card application. All winners must apply for and be issued their DV visas before the following October. Also, every year there are more “winning entries” than there are actual visas, so you must act fast to benefit from the lottery.
Make sure you 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 (which is a 16-digit number beginning with the year of the DV Lottery that you applied for, such as 2017 or 2018), your last name, year of birth, and 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 you live abroad) or how to adjust your status (if you are currently in the U.S. and are eligible to adjust). You will need to prove that you meet the work or educational requirements and are otherwise admissible to the United States. You may want to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney with applying for your immigrant visa or green card.
Entrant Status Check is the only way you can find out whether you are selected for the DV Lottery. The government does not send you an email. 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.