The Diversity Visa Program Operates of a Lottery System

Eligible immigrants may participate in the diversity visa program. The diversity visa program provides visas to people through a lottery system. This involves the random selection of visas from those who qualify. The program is designed to allow visas in an equitable manner to select a more varied group of immigrants to the United States. The program was created through the Immigration Act of 1990. The program is only open to qualified applicants.

Applicant Requirements

Applicants to the diversity program must meet strict requirements. The applicant must be a high school graduate or equivalent, with two years of additional education or work experience. Work experience must have been done during the previous five years. Those who meet the requirements are then allowed to register. Registration is done through six geographical regions. This encourages immigration from countries with some of the lowest immigration rates, making immigration more diverse.

Visa Lottery

The visa lottery has a limit of only 55,000 applicants each year. Applicants must submit their application, along with their required documentation, before the deadline. There is a list of qualifying countries provided through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Once an application is submitted, a computer selects the individuals randomly. Typically, there are many thousands more applicants than available visas in the program. Any individual who is not chosen through the lottery will need to get their visa through regular channels.

Advantages of the Diversity Program

There are certainly some advantages to immigrants who are chosen through the diversity lottery program. The most significant benefit is that the immigration process through the diversity program is more streamlined, and therefore faster, than going through the traditional visa application process. For some immigrants from certain countries, the diversity program may be their only option for legal entry into the United States.

Application Process

The immigration process is often complex, and the diversity program can be confusing. It is helpful to seek assistance from a skilled immigration attorney who will help you throughout the process. First, you must determine if you are eligible to apply. Then, you must complete your application and gather the necessary supporting documentation. Your attorney will help you with the procedure and let you know the deadline for submitting your application. If you do not meet the requirements, or if you are not chosen through the lottery, there may be other options to apply for a visa.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding The Diversity Visa Program, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.