The Diversity Lottery: Overview -P2

If you are not in the United States, you will apply for your green card at the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country using "Packet 3," which should have been included in your notification.  If all goes well, you will then receive "Packet 4," which will have an interview appointment letter, more instructions, and more forms. In addition:
  • You will have a medical examination.
  • You will have an interview at the embassy or consulate where your forms will be verified and your documents reviewed.
  • If all goes well, you will return to the embassy later in the afternoon to pick up an immigrant visa.
  • When you travel to the United States, your passport will be stamped at the port of entry showing that you have become a permanent resident.  It will serve as your authorization to work.
  • You will order your green card, and it should arrive several months later.
If you are in the United States, you will "adjust status" to obtain your green card by filing the appropriate forms with the INS. If you want to work while you wait for your adjustment to be processed, you must also apply for work authorization. If you file your adjustment and work authorization papers in person, you may get your work authorization immediately, although the INS has sixty days within which to provide it to you. If all goes well, after several months, you will receive a notice of your interview appointment. In addition:
  • You will get a medical examination.
  • You will attend the interview, where your forms will be verified and your documents reviewed. If all goes well, your passport will be stamped showing that you have become a permanent resident.
  • Your green card will arrive in the mail after several months.
Ineligible Countries and Excludable Individuals
Foreign nationals of the following countries are not eligible for the 2005 Diversity Lottery: Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.  
Individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes or who have certain communicable diseases may be automatically excluded from participation in the diversity lottery.
Diversity Lottery Visa Benefits
A Diversity Lottery visa allows the successful applicant to live and work permanently in the United States. The successful applicant will also be allowed to bring a spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 with them. Each spouse may submit an application, and, if accepted, bring the other spouse with them. For applicants who are already in the United States, receiving a Diversity Lottery visa allows them to apply for adjustment of their status to "permanent resident" with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Legal Help with a Diversity Lottery Application
A simple error in the diversity lottery application can result in the application being rejected from the visa lottery altogether. Something as simple as meeting the strict time guidelines for electronic submissions or sending a picture that meets specifications can cost an applicant the opportunity to live and work in the U.S. To ensure the best chance in the diversity visa lottery for yourself or a loved one, contact an experienced immigration attorney near you.