Diversity Visa

The Immigration Act of 1990 established the Diversity Visa (DV) Program, where 55,000 immigrant visas would be available annually, starting in fiscal year 1995. The DV Program aims to diversify the immigrant population in the United States by selecting applicants mostly from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States in the previous five years. Because many more people apply for the program each year than there are available visas, selection is made at random by a computer.

The DV Program is operated by fiscal year.  The chart below explains when to enter and check selection results for each DV program year.

Program Year Entry Period Selection Announced Interview Takes Place Last Visa Issued
DV-2020 October 2018 May 2019 October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020 September 30, 2020
DV-2021 October 2019 June 6, 2020 October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021 September 30, 2021

 

  1. WHAT IS THE DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM?

The DV Program is one way by which the United States increases the level of diversity among the population, particularly those who come from countries having a historically low rate of immigration to the United States. Entries selected during the DV Program have the opportunity to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa.

  1. HOW DO I ENTER THE DV PROGRAM?

Those interested in entering the DV Program should first go to https://dvprogram.state.gov/. This is the official website for entering the DV program and where one can read all of the rules and regulations for entering the program. After reading the rules and regulations, an applicant should determine if they meet all of the necessary requirements to qualify for the DV program. The basic requirements are that an applicant should be born in a qualifying country and have a high school education.  Applicants should then fill out the application form along with submitting recent photos of each applicant. Please note: all photos must be taken within the last 6 months and any photo previously used will be automatically disqualified. Also, glasses cannot be worn in any photo. Any photo with glasses will also be automatically disqualified.

All entries must include all members of your immediate family including your spouse if you are married and all of your children who are under 21 years old.

If your child does not currently live with you, you MUST include them in your entry; otherwise your entry will be disqualified.  Even if your child or spouse does not plan to immigrate with you, you must include them in your entry.

The entries selected are generally announced in May each year. In May, you can go to https://dvprogram.state.gov/ to find out if your entry was selected.   If you are selected you will be given further instructions on how to proceed with your appointment. We anticipate that appointments will begin in October.

  1. WHEN WILL THE PROGRAM BE DISCONTINUED?

No plan has been announced to discontinue the DV program.

  1. HOW IS AN ENTRY DISQUALIFIED?

We understand that there are many rules for the DV program. That is why it is very important for you to read and well understand all of the rules associated with entering the DV Program. Some of the most common disqualifications for entries are:

  • Entering your information twice will automatically disqualify you.
  • Not entering with all of your family members (e.g., your spouse and all of your legal and biological children under 21).
  • Not having the equivalent of a high school education (not having passed l’Examen d’Etat) or the equivalent work experience.
  • Not being able to prove that you will be able to support yourself or your family financially in the United States.
  • Wearing glasses in your entry photo will automatically disqualify you.
  • Using the same photo as a past entry will automatically disqualify you.
  • Changes in your biographical information between your entry and when you interview (e.g., your name, place of birth, date of birth).
  • Submitting fake documents (e.g., fake marriage certificates, fake adoption judgments, fake diplomas or attestations).
  1. WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DV PROGRAM?

There is no minimum age to apply, but the requirement of a high school education or work experience for each principal applicant at the time of application will effectively disqualify most persons who are under age 18.

  1. IF I AM SELECTED, HOW MUCH DOES THE PROGRAM COST?

There is no fee to pay to enter the program.  However, if you are selected there will be costs associated with your interview process including:

  • Interview Fees: $330/person- remember this fee is NOT refundable
  • Fees associated with medical exams for you and your family
  • Fees associated with obtaining passports (if you do not have one)
  • Fees associated with obtaining any documents necessary for your interview

DV applicants must pay all application fees and costs, including those for medical examinations, for themselves and qualifying family members.  Visa applicants under the DV program also must prove that they will be able to support themselves in the United States.  Immigration under the DV program does not entitle the immigrant or family members to any financial or settlement assistance in the United States.

  1. DOES THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TAKE CARE OF WINNERS FINANCIALLY ONCE THEY ENTER THE UNITED STATES?

No. The DV Program is your opportunity to apply for a visa to immigrate to the United States. The U.S. government will not provide any services to you if you receive a visa through the DV program.  If you are selected to apply for a DV, you must demonstrate during your interview that you will not become a public charge in the United States.  This evidence may be in the form of a combination of your personal assets, an Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) submitted by a relative or friend residing in the United States, an offer of employment from an employer in the United States, or other evidence.

  1. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE PERSON AT THE CYBER CAFÉ ADDS SOMEONE TO MY DOSSIER? 

If you enter at a cyber café, you must make sure that you control your account. NEVER let someone else, particularly cyber café operators, have access to your DV account. If someone is added to your entry without your knowledge or consent, please contact DVKinshasa@state.gov.

If a cyber café owner tries to add someone to your entry or tells you that you have to marry someone who was added to your entry in order for you to get access to your account or your interview date, please email DVKinshasa@state.gov.

However, this is your entry and your account and you are ultimately responsible for what happens to your entry, even if someone else plays or enters the DV program for you.

  1. HOW MANY COUNTRIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE DV PROGRAM THIS YEAR?

Well over 150 countries are eligible for the DV Program this year.

  1. IS THERE A QUOTA RESERVED FOR EACH COUNTRY?

Yes, the number of entries allotted to each county varies depending on population size and immigration rate to the United States.

  1. WHAT ARE THE BEST STRATEGIES FOR BEING SELECTED?

Entries are selected completely at random by a computer. There is no strategy to being selected. If you enter the program more than once, you will be disqualified. However, if you are a family or are married, each spouse can enter separately. Just be sure you enter with your spouse and children if you have them!

  1. IS IT EASY TO FIND EMPLOYMENT IN THE UNITED STATES?

Immigrating to the United Sates and assimilating into American society can be difficult if you do not speak English or have any friends or family to assist you upon your arrival. However, this is an opportunity to permanently live in the United States and many, many people have succeeded in making a very good life for themselves in the US after winning the DV Program and immigrating to the United States.

  1. WHAT ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES DOES THE EMBASSY NEED TO DO BEFORE APPROVING THE VISA?

It is sometimes necessary for the Embassy to verify documents submitted by an applicant with the appropriate authorities (e.g., diplome d’etat, attestation de reussite, adoption judgement).

  1. WHAT TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT CAN I USE TO QUALIFY FOR THE DV PROGRAM IF I DON’T MEET THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?

The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) O*Net OnLine database to determine qualifying work experience.  The O*Net OnLine database categorizes job experience into five “job zones.”  While the DOL website lists many occupations, not all occupations qualify for the DV program.  To qualify for a DV on the basis of your work experience, you must have, within the past five years, two years of experience in an occupation classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) range of 7.0 or higher.

If you do not meet the requirements for education or work experience, your entry will be disqualified at the time of your visa interview, and no visas will be issued to you or any of your family members.   If you have questions about qualifying for the DV through work experience, please send an email to DVKinhsasa@state.gov.

  1. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I LOST MY CONFIRMATION NUMBER? IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO VERIFY IF I WON?

You must have your confirmation number to access Entrant Status Check.  A tool is now available in Entrant Status Check (ESC) on the E-DV website that will allow you to retrieve your confirmation number via the email address with which you registered by entering certain personal information to confirm your identity. Always use your own email address when entering the DV program and not an email address from someone else, such as a cyber café owner.  If you do not have a personal email account, you can quickly and easily set one up for free using several internet services.

U.S. embassies and consulates and the Kentucky Consular Center are unable to check your selection status for you or provide your confirmation number to you directly (other than through the Entrant Status Check retrieval tool).  The Department of State is NOT able to provide a list of those selected to continue the visa process.

  1. MANY PEOPLE ARE VICTIMS OF CYBER CAFÉ FRAUD. WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO DEAL WITH THIS?

We encourage you to prepare and submit your own entry, but you may have someone submit the entry for you.  Regardless of whether you submit your own entry, or an attorney, friend, relative, or someone else submits it on your behalf, only one entry may be submitted in your name.  You, as the entrant, are responsible for ensuring that information in the entry is correct and complete; entries that are not correct or complete may be disqualified.  Entrants should keep their own confirmation number so that they are able to independently check the status of their entry using Entrant Status Check at https://dvprogram.state.gov/.  Entrants should use their own email account to enter the E-DV submission.

The confirmation number is the only way to check whether an entry has been selected and to obtain visa application and appointment information, if selected.  The unique confirmation number helps to protect DV entrants against fraud, malfeasance, and problems with the mail.  Unscrupulous visa facilitators have been known to assist entrants with their entries, retain the confirmation page, and then demand more money in exchange for information on the entry.  Entrants can avoid this by ensuring they receive the unique confirmation number at the time of entry.

  1. MANY PEOPLE ENTER INTO FAKE MARRIAGES IN ORDER TO IMMIGRATE TO THE UNITED STATES. WHAT ARE THE MEASURES THE EMBASSY HAS PUT IN PLACE TO COUNTER THIS FRAUD?

The Embassy is aware that applicants may enter into fake marriages (des marriages blancs) in order to obtain an immigration benefit. During your interview, it will be your responsibility to prove to the consular officer that you are in a bona fide relationship and not a fake marriage. If the consular officer is not convinced, your visa will not be granted.

  1. DOES THE EMBASSY REQUIRE SOMEONE IN THE U.S. TO AGREE TO FINANCIALLY SPONSOR EACH DV PROGRAM WINNER?

A  U.S. based financial sponsor is not a requirement. However, if you are selected to apply for a DV, you must demonstrate that you will not become a public charge in the United States before being issued a visa.  This evidence may be in the form of a combination of your personal assets, an Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) submitted by a relative or friend residing in the United States, an offer of employment from an employer in the United States, or other evidence.

  1. IF A PERSON ENTERS THE DV PROGRAM AND IS NOT SELECTED, ARE THEY ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR A TOURIST VISA TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES?

Everyone is welcome to apply for a nonimmigrant visa even if they have entered the DV Program. For non-immigrant visa applications, please go to ­­­­ https://ais.usvisa-info.com/fr-cd/niv

  1. WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD IS OVER THE AGE OF 21 WHEN I AM SELECTED FOR THE DV PROGRAM?

Due to US immigration laws, it is possible that children close to the age of 21 at the time of entering the DV program may not be qualified for a visa by the time the family interviews at the Embassy.  If one of your children is close to turning 21, please contact DVKinshasa@state.gov to request more information.