The U.S. Green Card Lottery: What You Need to Know Before Applying

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program, commonly referred to as the U.S. Green Card Lottery, offers a unique opportunity for individuals worldwide to secure a United States Permanent Resident Card.

U.S. Green Card Lottery
Photo: U.S. Green Card Lottery . SRC: @KenyanMoves

Established by the Immigration Act of 1990, this program aims to diversify the immigrant population in the United States by selecting applicants from countries with historically low levels of immigration. While the prospect of obtaining a green card through this lottery is low, it’s crucial to understand the program’s requirements and application process before diving in.

How to apply for a U.S. Green Card in Kenya

The only legitimate way to apply for the Green Card Lottery is by completing the entry form on the Department of State’s official website, and it is entirely free of charge.

Beware of deceptive agencies or individuals who claim to increase your chances of winning in exchange for fees.

Applicants are selected randomly, and only those chosen in the lottery are required to pay a fee to proceed with the application process.

Requirements for applying for a green card

Before applying for the Green Card Lottery, it’s crucial to understand the eligibility criteria.

Here are the key requirements:

1. Country of origin

To be eligible, you must be a citizen of a country with a low immigration rate to the United States. Each year, the U.S. Department of State releases a list of eligible and ineligible countries, which may change annually (Kenya is eligible.)

2. Education or work experience

Applicants must have either graduated from high school (or its equivalent) or possess qualifying work experience.

3. Application process

Registering for the Green Card Lottery is an online process and is non-binding. The application form requires personal information, including:

  • your name
  • date of birth
  • country
  • City of birth
  • Educational level and
  • Digital photo.

This information is also required for each family member, excluding passport details.

4. Language skills

Importantly, there is no requirement to prove any special language skills. Many successful applicants have limited or no English proficiency.

How to Register for the U.S. Green Card Lottery

The registration period for the Diversity Visa Lottery varies each year. For the 2025 DV Lottery, the registration window is from October 4, 2023, to November 7, 2023, at 12 noon ET.

Here are the steps to register:

  1. Before applying, thoroughly review the instructions for the registration process provided by the U.S. Department of State.
  2. Complete the application through the Electronic Diversity Visa Program online portal, following the guidelines and providing accurate information.
  3. After registering, keep your confirmation number safe, as you will need it to check the status of your entry online. If you lose it, learn how to recover your confirmation number through official channels.

The U.S. Green Card Lottery, or the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, offers a unique opportunity for individuals to pursue permanent residency in the United States.

Keep in mind that winning the lottery is highly competitive, but for those who meet the requirements and successfully navigate the process, it can be a life-changing opportunity to establish a new life in the United States.

Karancha Edrian

I'm a versatile content writer, mentor and pro cyclist.