The U.S. Department of State (DOS) will open registration for the 2014 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2014) on October 2, 2012. The program is also known as the “Green Card Lottery.” Registration will remain open until November 3. Prospective immigrants from qualifying countries must submit an application electronically through the DOS website during that time period. Applicants who meet the criteria for the program may then be eligible for one of 55,000 immigrant visas. Selection in the lottery does not guarantee that an applicant will receive a green card, making the overall probability of any individual obtaining a green card through the program rather low.
Congress created the Diversity Visa (DV) program as a way of providing immigration opportunities to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. It creates a separate class of immigrants, “diversity immigrants,” in addition to family- and employment-based immigrants. The first diversity visas were available for the 1995 fiscal year. A total of 55,000 immigrant visas are available through the DV program every year. Available visas are apportioned among six geographic regions: Africa; Asia; Europe; North America; Oceania; and the Caribbean, Central and South America. Beginning in fiscal year 2000, five thousand diversity visas are reserved for use under the program established by the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA).