Ask the Consul – October 2019

Dear U.S. Consul,

Question: A friend suggested I enter my name in the ‘Green Card Lottery’ to get an immigrant visa.  Is this a legitimate program and can a Trinbagonian enter?

Answer: The Diversity Visa Program, often called the “Green Card Lottery,” is an annual immigration program designed under U.S. law to promote diversity in the United States. A diversity visa allows you to enter the United States and apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status to live and work permanently in the United States. The ID card a legal permanent resident receives when entering the United States is commonly referred to as a “green card.”

The program makes 50,000 immigrant visas available to randomly selected people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.  Currently, Trinidad and Tobago is included on the list of countries that qualify for diversity visa consideration.

Registration for the 2021 Diversity Visa Program began on October 2, 2019 and will end at noon on November 5, 2019. There is no fee to submit an entry; however, if your name is drawn for the visa you will have to pay a fee on the day of the interview. The only way to submit an entry is via the official website, http://www.dvlottery.state.gov. The Embassy does not provide forms for mail in applications.

Eligibility to apply for this program is determined by your place of birth, not your current citizenship. Review the requirements carefully before submitting an entry, since there are work and educational criteria that must be satisfied for the diversity visa to be issued. Only one entry is allowed per person. Should you submit additional entries, you will be disqualified. Submitting false information also could result in a disqualification. Valid passport information is also required to complete your submission.

Once you have successfully submitted your online application by the deadline, make sure to save your confirmation number. Should you lose your confirmation number, the Embassy will not be able to retrieve it.

To determine if you have been selected for a diversity visa, log into www.dvlottery.state.gov starting May 5, 2020, and use your confirmation number to determine if you were successful.

The Diversity Visa Program is often used by unscrupulous people for scams and visa fraud, so be very wary of third-party services and online vendors soliciting a fee to submit an entry for you. If a third party is used, be sure to obtain and keep your confirmation number. Do not give your credit card or banking information to anyone claiming to represent the Diversity Visa Program. The U.S. government will not request any fees until the day of the visa interview.

When seeking information, we recommend you visit official sites including the U.S. Embassy Port of Spain website, www.tt.usembassy.gov, and www.travel.state.gov.