The Green Card Lottery (DV-2012)
Published: October 5, 2010

As in years past, millions of people from all over world will submit entries to have a chance at one of 50,000 diversity immigrant visas and obtain “green card” status in the US. Like last year, excluded from eligibility are natives of Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and Vietnam. That is because these are considered to be “high admission” nations, and the basis of Congress establishing the visa lottery statute was to provide immigration opportunities for individuals from other, non-high-admission countries. The determination of which countries are “high admission” is made year to year.

The entry period for the 2012 visa lottery began at noon (EDT) on October 5, 2010 and continues through noon (EST) November 3, 2010 (this year the entry period has been reduced to just 30 days). Individuals who are picked will ultimately be eligible to enter the US (or adjust their status, if they are already in the US and are otherwise eligible) during the 2012 fiscal year which runs from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. There is no fee to enter the visa lottery, and entrants will learn of the success or failure starting May 1, 2011.

Some features: (FYI, anything and everything you need to know about the visa lottery and entry instructions can be found at  Accordingly, beware of websites or companies charging exorbitant fees to “consult or offer special “inside” assistance with the process!)

All entries are electronic and in years past, among other requirements, applicants must submit photos conforming to detailed specifications. This year however, the photograph must be scanned at a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi).

All winners will be chosen randomly by computer and unlike previous years where notifications were sent by way of conventional mail, this year entrants will find out the status of their entry by visiting a specific page on the Department of State website starting May 1, 2011. No email notification will be sent either. Like in years past, applicants are reminded to be on the look-out for scam artists using email and the Internet to take advantage of unsuspecting applicants.

Other noteworthy features of the DV 2012 Green Card lottery:

• There is no requirement that the application be signed.
• There is no initial application fee.
• Applicants must have either a high school education or its equivalent, OR two years of experience working in a “skilled” position (details on what types of positions qualify are included on the visa lottery website noted above).
• There is a limitation on one application per individual. Qualifying individuals in the same household may submit individual applications.
• Applicants can be living in the U.S. or abroad.
• Those picked as winners are eligible to have their spouse and children under 21 years of age join in on receiving the same green card benefits. Siblings and parents of winners do not stand to derive immigration benefits.

For every detail featured in this column, there are at least 10 that I did not discuss. The application is not rocket science, and again, individuals should not be tricked into thinking they need to pay an exorbitant fee to have their application processed. Nor should anyone be tricked into thinking that payment of a fee to a “professional” increases their chances of being picked. As stated, complete details on the 2012 DV visa lottery program can be accessed at

Copyright © 2010, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois