After much anticipation, the US Department of State announced earlier this week the entry dates for the next visa lottery, DV-2021. The announcement may come surprising to some in light of President Trump’s publicly-made views on the Diversity Visa Program. Since early 2018, Trump has expressed his negative views on the current immigration system and has made it a priority objective to implement reform, starting with his promise to eliminate the DV program. Referring to the program as a mere “draw from the hat,” Trump aims to alter policy to result in US immigration being strictly merit-based – but for now, the US Department of State has confirmed to continue with the program.
The green card lottery for the fiscal year of 2021 will allow 55,000 foreign nationals to legally immigrate to the US and obtain a green card for permanent residency in 2021. The allotted amount of diversity visas available for that year does not take into account of selected applicants’ derivatives such as his/her spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21. The entry period will begin at noon (Eastern Daylight Time) Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, and runs until noon (Eastern Standard Time) Tuesday, November 5, 2019. The government advises applicants not to wait until the final days of the registration period to enter, as massive demand usually results in website delays. There is no fee to register; however, individuals are allowed one entry only—individuals with more than one will be disqualified.
Who Can Enter?
There are simple but strict eligibility requirements:
- The DV Program provides green cards to foreign citizens in countries with low immigration rates to the US in the previous five years. Generally, countries, where less than 50,000 natives immigrated to the US in the last five years, meet these criteria. If you are a native from one of the following countries, you are not eligible for this period: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
- Applicants must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, or two years’ work experience over the past five years in an eligible field that requires at least two years of training.
- **New requirement this year** Applicants must have a valid, unexpired passport to participate. This requirement is implemented to curb high numbers of fraudulent enrollments in the program, typically by fraudulent organizations submitting entries as a scam. (Therefore, it is strongly encouraged to complete the entry form on your behalf.)
Once you have registered, you will be given a confirmation number that must be printed if your form is chosen. The Entrant Status Check will be available online from May 5, 2020, through September 20, 2021. Applicants should check their status throughout this period to see if he/she has been selected and given an appointment date for the immigrant visa interview. It is important to note that this is the only means that the Department of State will notify you if your application has been selected, so check your status frequently!
Lastly, if you have been selected, the consular officer conducting your interview will need to verify your admissibility, so be prepared to answer questions including criminal and security-related topics.