The U.S. is once again giving away 55,000 green cards to foreigners. It’s simple and free.

Daniel Shoer Roth
·5 min read

The U.S. State Department announced on Wednesday that it will officially open registration for the Diversity Visa Program for Fiscal Year 2022 (DV-2022), better known as the visa lottery.

The popular program for foreigners who lack U.S. sponsors to come to America will provide up to 55,000 permanent resident cards or green cards in 2022, authorities said.

Foreigners interested in immigrating legally to the United States, must submit their applications electronically starting next Wednesday, Oct. 7, at noon and until Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.

Applications must be submitted only through the site https://dvprogram.state.gov. The winners will be drawn from random selection and there is no cost to register.

Drastic immigration and citizenship fee hikes were supposed to start Friday. They won’t.

The Diversity Visa program provides permanent resident visas to foreign citizens in countries with low immigration rates to the United States in the previous five years.

For the DV-2021, the program received 6,741,128 qualified entries from around the world — or 11,830,707 foreign nationals including family members or “derivatives” of principal applicants. Egypt, Iran, Russia and Algeria won the most immigrant visas.

Applicants must meet simple but strict eligibility requirements to qualify, according to the State Department, which distributes the green cards among six geographical regions, from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

55,000 foreigners won green cards in the Visa Lottery. Here’s why many are having trouble

Who qualifies for the Visa Lottery 2022?

The application process is simple, too, so it generally doesn’t require the legal services of an immigration lawyer, but there are some strict eligibility requirements to qualify.

Eligibility requirements before submitting entries:

First, the foreigner must have been born in qualifying countries. Natives from these countries are not eligible for the DV-2022: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

They also must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, or two years’ work experience over the past five years in an eligible field that requires at least two years of training.

Due to the expected huge volume of entries, State Department officials urge participants not to wait until the end of the period to submit their petitions, because excessive demand later will slow the system down.

“Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in website delays. No late entries or paper entries will be accepted,” the authorities said in the official Instructions for the 2022 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program DV-2022.

“The law allows only one entry per person during each entry period. The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. Submission of more than one entry will render you ineligible for a DV,” they noted.

Green cards are only available to immigrants who fall under one of these categories

How to enter the 2022 visa lottery

Foreign nationals can sign up and submit their electronic entry at dvlottery.state.gov.

After registering online, the green card hopeful will see a confirmation screen containing his or her name and a unique confirmation number a person must print to verify if he or she was chosen.

People who already live in the United States with legal non-immigrant status can also participate, provided their country of origin is included.

The following information is required to fill out the form:

Name — last name, first name, middle name — as it appears on your passport

Gender

Date of birth

City of birth

Country of birth

Country of eligibility for the DV-2022 program

Recent photograph (of the applicant, his spouse and children) that meets these requirements

Postal address

Country of current residence

Phone number (optional)

Email

Highest academic level achieved

Marital status

Diversity Immigrant Visa Program during pandemic

It has been a complicated year for 55,000 foreigners who won the 2020 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program from among 14 million qualified entries.

Ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline to get the visas issued, foreigners have scrambled to find a consular interview, one of the key requirements. So far, the Department of State has issued only 14,636 of the 55,000 diversity visas allocated for Fiscal Year 2020, according to immigration attorney Curtis Morrison, who represents over 3,000 of the plaintiffs.

U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe halted, in March, non-emergency visa services due to the coronavirus pandemic — and only recently has the Department of State restarted phased routine services for immigrant and travel visas.

But visa applicants and their attorneys are optimistic that U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta, who is presiding over a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s immigrant ban, will extend the Sept 30 deadline.

On Wednesday, Mehta issued an order giving equitable relief to 2020 Diversity Visa Program Selectees.

“Judge Mehta ordered State Department to reserve 9,095 diversity visa numbers after September 30, 2020, which he calculates to mean, after all was said and done, about half of the regular number of annual DV numbers would be issued,” said Morrison in a press release.

You can read this story in Spanish in el Nuevo Herald.

Daniel Shoer Roth is a journalist covering immigration law who does not offer legal advice or individual assistance to applicants. Follow him on Twitter @DanielShoerRoth or Instagram. The contents of this story do not constitute legal advice.