The U.S. government administers an annual Diversity Immigrant Visa Program that, historically, offers one of the most expeditious paths to legal permanent residency and the American dream. Registration is currently open through November 9, 2021. The application is submitted electronically and registration is open to candidates around the globe, including to foreign workers in the United States who seek a “fast-track” to permanent residency.

Highly-skilled workers may easily qualify: they must demonstrate they have the equivalent of a U.S. high school education or two years of qualifying work experience. If ultimately selected and approved, a foreign worker can leverage this program to sidestep the need for company sponsorship, long wait times and the processing challenges associated with employment-based visa categories.

The purpose of the program (sometimes called “the green card lottery,” “the visa lottery” or “DV program”) is to foster legal immigration from countries with low rates to the United States and to provide a pathway for those who would not be able to enter under the family- or employment-based systems. Individuals admitted under this program constitute about 5% of annual immigrant admissions. To assist applicants, the U.S. government provides detailed instructions on the Department of State website and a video tutorial for completing the registration form. There is no fee to register.

The following countries are not eligible under the program this year:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

Being named as a selectee does not guarantee receipt of a visa. A selectee must be interviewed, demonstrate eligibility, pay the visa fee and undergo a background check. If granted, the individual will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States – and may eventually become a U.S. citizen.