Green Card Lottery Winner Explains The Diversity Visa Program – DV-2021

Understanding how the Green Card Lottery works may help you increase your chances of being drawn. Let me explain to you how.

Also, check-out my video about us winning at the green card lottery in 2020.

I did my homework since we first heard about the Green Card Lottery back in 2015. The formal name for the Green Card Lottery is the “Diversity Visa” program, abbreviated DV.


You may wonder why is it called the Diversity Visa?

The lottery aims to diversify the immigrant population in the US. By selecting applicants mostly from countries with low immigration rates in the previous five years. It started in 1995 and followed the fiscal year.

How much does it cost?

You do not pay until you find out your entry was selected, and you go to the US Embassy or Consulate in person for your interview. It is free to enter the DV lottery, at

How many visas are available each year?

About 50 thousand. To put things into perspective, it’s about:

  • Three times the size of the Madison Square Garden in New York.
  • BC Place in Vancouver (50K!)

How many people are drawn from the lottery?

About 100 thousand or twice the number of visas available! This means you better hurry to apply for your visa (Green Card) if you are a lucky green card lottery winner!

As discussed below, the US government relies on some green card winners dropping in the process.

When can you enter the lottery?

Each year typically around October. Pro tip: we missed the enrollment period two years in a row. My advice is to set a few reminders on different platforms such as google calendar, to-do list, and alarm clock to be sure not to miss it.


The DV-2020 registration period was from October 3, 2018, until November 6, 2018.
The DV-2021 registration period was from October 2, 2019, until November 5, 2019.

What’s with the number after DV-?

We are in the DV-2021 (2021 refers to the year you can potentially enter the US with the green card).

Where do you see those enrollment dates?

The exact dates for the year are published each year on the official website,, but registration typically occurs every October.

What is the official website?

Official DV Lottery site:
Official Documentation:

Be careful at the SCAMS! The first time I googled the green card lottery, I ended up on the wrong site that looked like a US federal website but wasn’t. The green card lottery is FREE to enter. If you have to pay, call it a scam and leave. It may be legitimate, or not. Maybe the site advertises that it is free to join the lottery, but you have to pay hundreds of dollars to get your confirmation number. The US Department of State administers the DV program, Kentucky Consular Center (KCC), in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

Entry Requirements

To enter the green card lottery, you need to meet the following simple requirements.

Allowed countries

Only individuals born in countries whose natives qualify to enter are eligible to submit a DV entry.

Education or work

You must meet either the education or work experience requirements.

Only you, as the principal applicant, must meet this requirement. Your spouse and children do not have to meet this requirement. To register for the DV program, you do not need to prove that you’ve met the education or work experience requiring nets. You must, however, meet this requirement at the time you apply for your visa.

Meeting the Education Requirement

It is permissible to meet this educational requirement in less than twelve years, or more than twelve years if the course of study completed is equivalent to a US high school education. A General Education Diploma (GED) test or its foreign equivalent will not satisfy this requirement.

Meeting the Work Experience Requirement

To meet the work experience requirement, you must have two years of experience in the last five years, in an occupation which, by the US Department of Labor definitions, requires at least two years of training or experience classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP).

How to submit an entry to the lottery?

As discussed, there is a limited time when you can register for the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program during each fiscal year.

Once registered, you will get a confirmation number. Your confirmation number is your ticket to the lottery! You lose it; you are out.

The DV-2020 registration period was from October 3, 2018, until November 6, 2018.
DV-2021 Entrants should keep their confirmation number until at least September 30, 2021.

You cannot check the lottery results or apply for your visa if you are a winner without that confirmation number! Email it to your email address, print it, write it down on your socks if you have to.

Diversity Visa Scams!
Shady websites will hold to that number and ask you hundred of dollars to send it to you.

Complete the E-DV form yourself, do not use a “Visa Consultant” or “Visa Agent” or any other facilitator who offers you help.

How to check your status?


DV Entrant Status Check website.

Typically around June through September. The Department of State does not mail out notification letters or notify selectees by email.

This is to avoid email-scam and green card lottery fraud. Some malintentioned people make money out of this. Consider those emails are scams!

Fraud email for green card lottery

“One particularly common fraud email asks recipients to wire $879 per applicant/family member via Western Union to an individual (the name varies) in London, United Kingdom. Below are two recent examples:”

USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has a campaign here to make people aware of this. They have hundreds of comments from people asking if it is a fraud.

They say:

One easy way to tell that an email is a fraud is that it does not end with a “.gov.”

I’d go as far as saying if you get an email about the card lottery saying you are a winner. As tempting as it can be to click, discard it. Check yourself.



If you are selected

I would skim over this section as this only applies if you won at the green card lottery.



“If your family circumstances have legitimately changed after submitting your original entry, you should add those family members, and all family members’ applications will be reviewed.” USCIS

It is ok to have baby AFTER you enter the lottery 🙂 I mean, we were worried this would disqualify us. As absurd as it sounds. I was able to add my daughter easily to our application. However, any other error may disqualify you and our family.

“On the Sign and Submit page of the DS-260, you will need to re-enter your DV case number without the zeros (e.g. if the case number is 2020AF0000012345, enter ‘2020AF12345′). Entering the full case number with zeros will generate a validation error.” source I spent hours on this!

No fees at this stage.

Submit Supporting Documents

Once DS-260 processed.

“Your interview will not be scheduled until you submit scanned copies of all required supporting documents, following the guidelines below. ” source

Prepare for the Interview

“Paying Fees. Before the interview, each applicant must pay the Diversity Visa fee. For DV-2020 applicants, the fee is $330 per person. This fee is nonrefundable, whether a visa is issued or not. Learn more about Fees.” source


“Under US law, all diversity visas for a fiscal year must be issued before September 30.”

“I need to reschedule my appointment – If you cannot appear at your scheduled interview, contact the US Embassy or Consulate as soon as possible. Under US law, all diversity visas for a fiscal year must be issued before September 30. Available visas for some countries and regions may be used up before that date. If you delay your appointment, you may lose your opportunity to immigrate based on your DV application.”


Good luck!

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