DV Frequently Asked Questions

Recent and individual photographs of you, your spouse, and all children under 21 years of age are required.  Family or group photographs are not accepted. IMPORTANT! The photographs must be taken within 6 month before the DV Lottery entry.

Entries for the DV program are accepted usually in October-November each year.  The exact days are determined each year and become available on the Program’s web-site in September of the same year.  Each year, millions of people apply for the program during the registration period.  The massive volume of entries creates an enormous amount of work in selecting and processing successful individuals.  Holding the entry period during October and November will ensure that selectees are notified in a timely manner and give both the visa applicants and our embassies and consulates time to prepare and complete cases for visa issuance.  You are strongly encouraged to enter early in the registration period.  Excessive demand at end of the registration period may slow the system down.  No entries whatsoever are accepted after the minute the program officially ends.

Yes, an applicant may be in the United States or in another country, and the entry may be submitted from the United States or from abroad.

Yes, the law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period.  Individuals for whom more than one entry is submitted will be disqualified.  The Department of State will employ sophisticated technology and other means to identify individuals who submit multiple entries during the registration period.  People submitting more than one entry will be disqualified, and an electronic record will be permanently maintained by the Department of State.  Individuals may apply for the program each year during the regular registration period.

Yes, a husband and a wife may each submit one entry if each meets the eligibility requirements.  If either is selected, the other is entitled to derivative status.

On your entry you must list your spouse (husband or wife) and all unmarried children under 21 years of age.  You must list your spouse even if you are currently separated from him/her, unless you are legally separated (i.e., there is a written agreement recognized by a court or a court order).  If you are legally separated or divorced, you do not need to list your former spouse.  You must list ALL your children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age at the time of your initial E-DV entry, whether they are your natural children, your spouse’s children, or children you have formally adopted in accordance with the laws of your country, unless such child is already a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.  List all children under 21 years of age at the time of your electronic entry, even if they no longer reside with you or you do not intend for them to immigrate under the DV program.  Children who are already U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents will not require or be issued a DV visa.  However, you should include them on your registration.

The fact that you have listed family members on your entry does not mean that they must travel with you.  They may choose to remain behind.  However, if you include an eligible dependent on your visa application forms that you failed to include on your original entry, your case will be disqualified.  This only applies to those who were family members at the time the original application was submitted, not those acquired at a later date.  Your spouse may still submit a separate entry, even though he or she is listed on your entry, as long as both entries include details on all dependents in your family.

You may prepare and submit your own entry, or have someone submit the entry for you.  Regardless of whether an entry is submitted by the individual directly, or assistance is provided by an attorney, friend, relative, etc., only one entry may be submitted in the name of each person, and the entrant remains responsible for ensuring that information in the entry is correct and complete.  All entrants, including those not selected, will be able to check the status of their entry through the Entry Status Check available from May 1 on the E-DV website www.dvlottery.state.gov.  Entrants should keep their own confirmation page information so that they may independently check the status of their entry.

The law and regulations require that every entrant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or have, within the past five years, two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years’ training or experience.  A “high school education or equivalent” is defined as successful completion of a twelve-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States.  Only formal courses of study meet this requirement; correspondence programs or equivalency certificates (such as the G.E.D.) are not acceptable.  Documentary proof of education or work experience must be presented to the consular officer at the time of the visa interview.

At the KCC, all entries received from each region will be individually numbered.  After the end of the registration period, a computer will randomly select entries from among all the entries received for each geographic region.  Within each region, the first entry randomly selected will be the first case registered; the second entry selected the second registration, etc.  All entries received during the registration period will have an equal chance of being selected within each region.  When an entry has been selected, the entrant will be notified of their selection through the Entry Status Check available from May 1 on the E-DV website www.dvlottery.state.gov.  The KCC will continue to process the case until those selected to be visa applicants are instructed to appear for visa interviews at a U.S. consular office or until those qualifying to change status in the United States apply at a domestic USCIS office.

NOTE:  Notifications to those selected in the random lottery are not sent by e-mail.  Official notifications of selection will be made through Entry Status Check only, available from early May on the E-DV website www.dvlottery,state.gov.  The KCC will no longer send selectee notifications or letters by regular postal mail.  Should you receive an e-mail notification or a mailed letter about your E-DV selection, be aware that the notification is not legitimate.  It is only after you are selected, and respond to the notification instructions made available to you via Entry Status Check, and processing begins on your case, that you may receive follow-up e-mail communication from the KCC informing you to review Entry Status Check for new information about your application.  The KCC will not ask you to send money to them by mail or by services such as Western Union.

Yes, provided they are otherwise eligible to adjust status under the terms of Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), selected individuals who are physically present in the United States may apply to USCIS for adjustment of status to permanent resident.  Applicants must ensure that USCIS can complete action on their cases, including processing of any overseas derivatives, before September 30 of the program year, since on that date registrations for the DV program expire.  No visa numbers for the DV program will be available after midnight EST on September 30, under any circumstances.

All entrants, including those NOT selected, may check the status of their entry through the Entry Status Check on the E-DV website www.dvlottery.state.gov and find out if their entry was or was not selected.  Entrants should keep their own confirmation page information from the time of their entry until the completion of their visa application, if selected.  Status information for DV will be available online from May 1 until June 30 of the next year.

There are 50,000 DV visas available for each DV program, but because it is likely that some of the first 50,000 persons who are selected will not qualify for visas or pursue their cases to visa issuance, more than 50,000 entries will be selected by the KCC to ensure that all of the available DV visas are issued.  However, this also means that there will not be a sufficient number of visas for all those who are initially selected.  All applicants who are selected will be informed promptly of their place on the list through the E-DV website’s Entry Status Check.

Interviews for the DV program start in October, the first month of the program’s fiscal year (i.e. interviews for DV-2014 start in October 2013 and so on).  Selectees who provide information requested in the notification instructions will be informed of their visa interview appointment through the E-DV website’s Entry Status Check four to six weeks before the scheduled interviews with U.S. consular officers at overseas posts.  Each month, visas will be issued to those applicants who are ready for issuance during that month, visa-number availability permitting.  Once all of the 50,000 DV visas have been issued, the program will end.  In principle, visa numbers could be finished before September 30.  Selected applicants who wish to receive visas must be prepared to act promptly on their cases.  Random selection by the KCC computer as a selectee does not automatically guarantee that you will receive a visa.  Only the first 50,000 selected applicants to qualify will be issued visas and you must qualify for the visa as well.

There is no minimum age to apply for the program, 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.

There is no fee for submitting an electronic lottery entry.  DV applicants must pay all required visa fees at the time of visa application directly to the Consular cashier at the Embassy or Consulate.  Details of required DV and immigration visa application fees will be included with the instructions sent by the KCC to applicants who are selected.

Persons selected in the DV lottery are entitled to apply for visa issuance only during fiscal year of that program, from October 1 through September 30.  Applicants must obtain their visa or adjust status by the end of the fiscal year.  There is no carry-over of DV benefits into the next year for persons who are selected but who do not obtain visas by September 30 (the end of the fiscal year).  Also, spouses and children who derive status from a DV registration can only obtain visas in the DV category during the fiscal year of the program.  Applicants who apply overseas will receive an appointment notification from the KCC through Entry Status Check on the E-DV website four to six weeks before the scheduled appointment.

The death of an individual selected in the lottery results in automatic revocation of the DV case.  Any eligible spouse and/or children are no longer entitled to the DV visa for that entry.

No, you will not be able to save the form into another program for completion and submission later.  The E-DV Entry Form is a Web form only.  This makes it more “universal” than a proprietary word processor format.  Additionally, it does require that the information be filled in and submitted while online.

Yes, this can be done, as long as the photograph meets the photograph requirements in the instructions and the photograph is electronically submitted with, and at the same time as, the E-DV online entry.  The applicants must already have the scanned photograph file when they submit the entry online.  The photograph cannot be submitted separately from the online application.  Only one online entry can be submitted for each person.  Multiple submissions will disqualify the entry for that person for DV program in that year.  The entire entry (photograph and application together) can be submitted electronically from the United States or from overseas.

No, this cannot be done.  The E-DV Entry Form is designed to be completed and submitted at one time.  However, because the form is in two parts, and because of possible network interruptions and delays, the E-DV system is designed to permit up to sixty (60) minutes between the form’s download and when the entry is received at the E-DV website.  If more than sixty minutes elapse and the entry has not been electronically received, the information already received is discarded.  This is done so that there is no possibility that a full entry could accidentally be interpreted as a duplicate of a previous partial entry.  The DV instructions explain clearly and completely what information is required to fill in the form.  Thus, you can be fully prepared, making sure you have all of the information needed before you start to complete the form online.

Yes, the entry can be resubmitted.  Since the entry was automatically rejected, it was not actually considered as a submission to the E-DV website.  It does not count as a submitted E-DV entry, and no confirmation notice of receipt is sent.  If there are problems with the digital photograph sent, because it does not conform to the requirements, it is automatically rejected by the E-DV website. However, the amount of time it takes the rejection message to reach the sender is unpredictable, given the nature of the Internet.  If the problem can be fixed by the applicant, and the Form Part One or Two is re-sent within sixty (60) minutes, there is no problem.   Otherwise, the applicant will have to restart the submission process.  An applicant can try to submit an application as many times as is necessary until a complete application is received and the confirmation notice sent.

Keep your confirmation page.  You will need your confirmation number to access information through the Entry Status Check available on the E-DV website www.dvlottery.state.gov.  Entry Status Check will be the sole means by which DV entrants are notified of their selection, provided instructions on how to proceed with their application, and notified of their immigrant visa interview appointment date and time.

Status information will be available from early May.  If you lose your confirmation information, you will not be able to check your DV entry status by yourself, and we will not resend the confirmation page information to you.  Only the randomly selected individuals will be given additional instructions on how to pursue their DV visa application.  Persons not selected may verify the non-selection of their entry using their confirmation information through the official DV website, but they will not receive any additional instructions.  We will NOT forward the confirmation page information to you.  U.S.  Embassies and Consulates will NOT provide a list of those selected to continue the visa process.

Randomly selected entrants will receive notification instructions for the DV visa application process on the selectee confirmation page available through Entry Status Check on the E-DV website www.dvlottery.state.gov.  The instructions say the selected applicants will pay all diversity and immigrant visa fees in person only at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at the time of the visa application.  The consular cashier or consular officer immediately gives the visa applicant a U.S. Government receipt for payment.  Selected applicants applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate should never send money for DV fees through the mail, Western Union, or any other delivery service.  Selected applicants who are already present in the United States and who file for adjustment of status will receive separate instructions on how to mail DV fees to a US bank.

The E-DV lottery entries are submitted on the Internet, on the official U.S. Government E-DV website at  www.dvlottery.state.gov.  The KCC will not send notification letters to the selected applicants.  The KCC, consular offices, or the U.S. Government have never sent e-mails to notify individuals they have been selected, and there are no plans to use e-mail for this purpose for the future DV program.  Selectees will only receive e-mail communications from the KCC alerting them that a visa appointment has been scheduled after they have responded to the notification instructions on Entry Status Check.  Such e-mails will direct selectees to check their interview appointment details on Entry Status Check and will not contain information on the actual appointment date and time.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs advises the public that only Internet sites including the “.gov” domain suffix are official government websites.  Many other non-governmental websites (e.g., using the suffixes “.com” or “.org” or “.net”) provide immigration and visa related information and services.  Regardless of the content of non-governmental websites, the Department of State does not endorse, recommend, or sponsor any information or material shown at these other websites.

Some websites may try to mislead customers and members of the public into thinking they are official websites and may contact you by e-mail to lure you to their offers.  These websites may attempt to require you to pay for services such as forms and information about immigration procedures, which are otherwise free on the Department of State Visa Services website or through U.S. embassy consular sections’ websites.  Additionally, these other websites may require you to pay for services you will not receive (such as fees for DV immigration applications and visas) in an effort to steal your money.  If you send in money to one of these scams, you will never see it again.  Also, you should be wary of sending any personal information to these websites that might be used for identity fraud/theft.

No, applicants who obtain a DV are not provided any type of assistance such as airfare, housing assistance, or subsidies.  If you are selected to apply for a DV, you will be required to provide evidence 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) from a relative or friend residing in the United States, and/or an offer of employment from an employer in the United States.