United States: FY 2021 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Opens Today

Last Updated: October 10 2019
Article by Fragomen  

At a glance

  • Entrants have until Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at noon EST to register online at the State Department's official lottery website.
  • Lottery applications must conform to the State Department's strict requirements.

A closer look

The State Department begins accepting online registrations for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery today, October 2, 2019 at noon EDT. Foreign nationals who wish to enter the lottery have until Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at noon EST to file online.

For FY 2021, the DV lottery program will make 55,000 green card numbers available through random selection. FY 2021 lottery results will be announced in May 2020. Foreign nationals selected in the FY 2021 lottery can submit their green card applications starting on October 1, 2020.

Who is eligible to enter the lottery?

  • The DV lottery is open to natives of countries that have historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
  • Individuals from countries with high rates of U.S. immigration are not eligible to register.
    • This year, those born in the following countries are ineligible: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
    • People born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan can participate.
    • Those people who cannot register because their country of birth is excluded may be able to qualify through a spouse who was born in an eligible country or, in certain circumstances, through a parent's country of birth.
  • Entrants must have a high school education (or equivalent) or at least two years of qualifying work experience.

Registering for the lottery

  • Entrants must submit an online form and a digital photo through the official DV lottery website. DV lottery applicants may include a spouse (same-sex or opposite-sex) and children in their entry.
  • Only one entry is permitted per person. If there are multiple registrations on behalf of one person, all of them are disqualified.
  • Applicants must carefully follow the State Department's official lottery instructions. Lottery entries and digital photos that do not precisely conform to the instructions will be disqualified.
  • For FY 2021, the principal applicant must enter information from his or her valid international travel passport unless the applicant is stateless, a national of a Communist-controlled country and unable to obtain a passport from the government of the Communist-controlled country, or the beneficiary of an individual waiver approved by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State.
  • Once the application is accepted, applicants will receive a confirmation number, which can be used to check the status of their application.

How lottery winners are chosen and notified

The State Department chooses lottery winners by random computer selection. Results will be published starting May 5, 2020 through September 30, 2021, on the official DV lottery entry status website.

Foreign nationals can learn whether they were selected only by visiting the official DV website and entering their confirmation number. The State Department does not notify entrants by letter, e-mail, fax or telephone. The official website is the only legitimate source of lottery results.

Guarding against DV lottery fraud

DV lottery fraud is very common, but foreign nationals can and should take a few precautions to protect themselves.

  • Look out for deceptive lottery websites. The only authorized DV lottery website is located on the State Department website. The State Department does not use or authorize any outside individual or company to accept lottery applications or operate the lottery. There are boundless websites posing as official government sites or claiming to have State Department authorization. They should be avoided.
  • The State Department does not charge a fee for lottery registrations. A website, individual, or company claiming there is a government fee to enter the lottery is fraudulent.
  • If lottery assistance is needed, seek competent advice. Applicants may use a lawyer or other representative to prepare a lottery registration, but they should be wary of commercial websites that claim to register applicants outside of the registration period or purport to be authorized by the State Department to accept registrations for a fee.
  • Beware of lottery e-mails, letters or faxes that claim to be from the State Department. The State Department does not send e-mails, letters or faxes about the DV lottery. The official website is the only legitimate source of information about lottery results and the only place to submit a lottery registration.
  • Be skeptical of any communication claiming a foreign national has won the DV lottery when he or she did not register or registered in a previous year.
  • Avoid sending money or personal information to questionable individuals or companies.



Learn more about DV lottery fraud by visiting the websites of the State Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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