The Immigration Act of 1990 established the U.S. Diversity Visa (DV) Program where, each year, 55,000 immigrant visas would be available annually, starting in fiscal year 1995. The U.S. Diversity Visa Program aims to diversify the immigrant population in the U.S. by selecting applicants mostly from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. in the previous five years. Because many more people apply for the program each year than there are available visas, a computer runs the selection randomly.
After the selection phase, applicants can check their status online on the DV Entrant Status Check system. Applicants need their confirmation number, birth year, and lastname to check their status. In addition to these three key elements, applicants must retain their e-mail address to receive notifications from the Statement Department or access their online application. Unfortunately, over the years we’ve found that many people have entrusted their personal data to third parties, who then extort large sums of money from them. Please note that DV Lottery registration is free! The only fee required is the visa fee, payable at the consular section of the US Embassy in Kinshasa.
The Diversity Visa program is operated by fiscal year. The chart below explains when to enter, check selection results, and get applications processed. It is applicable for the current and upcoming year.
|Program Year||Entry Period||Selection Announced||Interviews begin||Last Visa Issued|
|DV-2024||5 Oct 2022 – 8 Nov 2022||6 May 2023||1 Oct 2023||30 Sept 2024|
|DV-2025||4 Oct 2023 – 7 Nov 2023||4 May 2024||1 Oct 2024||30 Sept 2025|
Note: Please find the U.S. Diversity Visa Program instructions for fiscal year 2024 here.
For general visa information, please visit our main visa page.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. WHAT IS THE DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM?
The DV Program is one way by which the United States increases the level of diversity among its population, particularly those who come from countries having a historically low rate of immigration to the United States. Entries selected during the DV Program may apply for a U.S. immigrant visa.
2. HOW DO I ENTER THE DV PROGRAM?
Those interested in the DV program should first visit https://dvprogram.state.gov/ , the official website where all rules and regulations for the program are published. That said, applicants must ensure that they meet the requirements before submitting an entry to the program.
There are two basic requirements:
- be a native of an eligible country and
- have at least a high school education or its equivalent or two years of qualifying work experience.
In addition to that, applicants must submit their application form with recent passport photos taken without glasses within the last six months. All entries must include all members of your immediate family who are not US citizens or Legal Permanent Residents; this includes your spouse – if you are married – and all your children under 21 years old, no matter whether they live or plan to immigrate with you. Not complying with these requirements will automatically lead to disqualification.
The entries selected are generally announced in May each year. You may check the site https://dvprogram.state.gov/ to see if you have been selected by entering your confirmation number, last name, and birth year. If you have been selected, you will see further instructions about the next step. We anticipate that interviews will begin in October.
3. WHEN WILL THE PROGRAM BE DISCONTINUED?
No plan has been announced to discontinue the DV program.
4. HOW IS AN ENTRY DISQUALIFIED?
We understand that there are many rules for the DV program. That is why you must read and understand them all before entering the DV Program. Some of the common disqualifications for entries are:
- Entering your information twice will automatically disqualify you.
- Not entering with all your family members (spouse and all legal and biological children under 21).
- Not having the equivalent of a high school education (not having passed the “Examen d’Etat”) or qualifying work experience.
- Not being able to prove that you can financially support yourself or your family 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 your 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).
5. 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.
6. IF I AM SELECTED, HOW MUCH DOES THE PROGRAM COST?
There is no fee to pay to enter the program. However, there are some costs associated with the visa interview and case preparation, such as:
- 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 cover all relevant costs for themselves and their qualified family members. They must also prove they can financially support themselves in the United States. Immigration under the DV program does not entitle the immigrant or family members to financial or settlement assistance in the United States.
7. 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.
8. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE PERSON AT THE CYBER CAFÉ ADDS SOMEONE TO MY DOSSIER?
If you submit an entry at a cybercafé, you must make sure that you control your account. NEVER let someone else, particularly cybercafé operators, have access to your DV account. If someone adds a dependent to your entry without your knowledge or consent or forces you to participate in a sham marriage so you can access your account or your interview date, 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.
9. HOW MANY COUNTRIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE DV PROGRAM THIS YEAR?
Well over 150 countries are eligible for the DV Program this year.
10. 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.
11. 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!
12. 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.
13. 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., Diplôme d’Etat, Attestation de Réussite, adoption judgement). In such cases, processing time may be longer than normal.
14. 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 are eligible for the DV program. To qualify for a DV based on 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.
15. 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 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.
16. 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. Regardless of whether you submit your own entry, or an attorney, friend, relative, or someone else does it on your behalf, only one entry may be submitted in your name. As the entrant, you are responsible for ensuring that the 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 can independently check the status of their entry using Entrant Status Check at https://dvprogram.state.gov/. Entrants should use their own email accounts 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 confirmation number, 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.
17. MANY PEOPLE ENGAGE 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 engage into fake marriages to obtain a Diversity Visa. During the visa interview, it is your responsibility to demonstrate 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.
18. DOES THE EMBASSY REQUIRE SOMEONE IN THE U.S. TO AGREE TO FINANCIALLY SPONSOR EACH DV PROGRAM WINNER?
A US-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.
19. 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?
20. WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD IS OVER THE AGE OF 21 WHEN I AM SELECTED FOR THE DV PROGRAM?
Due to US immigration laws, children close to age 21 at the time of the DV program entry submission might not be eligible for a visa by the time the family attends the visa interview at the Embassy.