Ask the Consul — October, 2020

Question: What is the green card lottery and who is eligible to enter this lottery?

Answer: The ‘green card lottery,’ officially known as the Diversity Visa Program, is an annual immigration program allowed for under U.S. law. Under the program, 50,000 immigrant visas are allocated randomly to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

This immigrant visa allows an applicant to enter the United States and apply for and receive lawful permanent residence status to live and work permanently in the United States. Upon receipt of this status, applicants receive a Permanent Resident card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that is commonly referred to as a green card because of the predominant color on the card. Thus, the term ‘green card lottery’ was born.

Individuals born in Trinidad and Tobago are eligible to enter the Diversity Visa Program. Please note that eligibility to apply for this program is determined by your place of birth, not your current citizenship.

Registration for the 2022 Diversity Visa Program begins on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, and ends at noon on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. There is no fee to submit an entry. Be wary of online vendors soliciting a fee to submit an entry for you.

Also, the only way to submit an entry is via the website; neither the U.S. Embassy nor USCIS provides forms for mail-in applications. For details on eligibility and how to enter the Diversity Visa Lottery, visit http://www.dvlottery.state.gov.

Review the requirements carefully before submitting an entry, as there are work and educational criteria that must be satisfied for the Diversity Visa to be issued.

Only one entry per person is allowed, if you submit additional entries you will be disqualified. Valid passport information is also required to complete your submission.  If you are married, or have children, be sure to include them on the application if they are planning to travel with you. Be sure to carefully review the requirements for identifying family members who will be eligible as derivatives.

Once you have successfully submitted your online application by the deadline, be sure to save your confirmation number. Should you lose your confirmation number the U.S. Embassy will not be able to retrieve it. Third-party services are not needed and may charge an unnecessary fee.  If a third party is used, you should obtain and keep your own confirmation number.

To determine if you have been selected, log into the website at www.dvlottery.state.gov, starting May 8, 2021, and use your confirmation number to determine if you were successful. Persons who are selected will need to submit their immigrant visa application, appear for an interview to determine eligibility, and provide required supporting documentation.

The Diversity Visa Program is often used by unscrupulous people for scams and visa fraud. Do not give your credit card or banking information to anyone claiming to represent the Diversity Visa Program. DV lottery winners pay fees only at the U.S. Embassy on the day of the immigrant visa interview. 

When seeking any visa-related information, we recommend you visit official sites, including the U.S. Embassy Port of Spain website: www.tt.usembassy.gov and http://www.dvlottery.state.gov.