Rules and restrictions
The vast majority of people in Ukraine can apply. To participate in the lottery, you only need to have a secondary education. Natives of many countries, including those born in the former USSR republics, are eligible to participate. To become a participant, you need to fill in an application form with biographical information. The application form needs photographs of all family members (wife and children under 21). You must also have no criminal record, no violation of U.S. visa and immigration laws, and no socially dangerous diseases. Basic application rules:
- One participant may submit only one entry. If more than one competitor submits an entry, all of the competitor’s entries will be disqualified. Spouses and children may apply separately.
- The application is only submitted electronically via the internet. There is no procedure for submitting applications on paper.
- The application must be completed and submitted in English.
- Once an application has been submitted, the participant will immediately be notified of its successful receipt and registration on a dedicated webpage. A registration number will be required to check the status of your application in a few months’ time.
- If the photographs submitted do not conform to the specified format, the application will not be accepted or will be disqualified.
What is needed to participate?
In order to become a participant in the lottery, an application (application form) must be submitted by the deadline set out in the annual rules. Submission of the entry form requires the participant to provide general biographical information about himself/herself and his/her family and the participant to provide photographs of himself/herself and family in the required format;
Spouses and their children under the age of 21 are considered family under immigration law. Accordingly, the participant must provide information and a photograph for himself/herself; for the wife/husband (if married), even if the spouse will not travel to the United States if he/she wins; for all children under the age of 21 of both spouses, including those from previous marriages of both spouses, regardless of whether the children live together and will travel to the United States if he/she wins. The participant is not required to submit information and photographs for children who are themselves married or over 21 years old. Each spouse can submit his or her own application. This naturally doubles the chances of those who are married.
The best chance of entering the USA is for participants under the age of 21. In fact, then it is possible to participate both independently and as part of a parent’s application (triple chance). Those who are unmarried and have no children need only provide data and a photo of themselves.
Lack of necessary information and/or photos may result in a visa refusal if won. Serious mistakes in the information provided may also lead to a visa refusal.
The first rule of the Green Card lottery
To apply, a participant must have been born in a country that is on the lottery’s list of participating countries. The list is determined annually by the US Department of State. This list includes all countries in the world except those that are excluded. It is the country of birth that is indicated on the entry form as the country of entry!
The following countries are currently excluded: Brazil, Canada, China (Mainland), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependencies, Viet Nam.
Accordingly, natives of all other countries may participate in the lottery. Please note: the rule is set for the country of birth. It does not matter what country you live in or what country’s nationality you are. It only matters where you were born.
Excluded are those countries from which more than fifty thousand immigrants have already come to the US in the last 5 years. Since the purpose of the Green Card lottery is to maintain national diversity, there is no point in accepting applications from those countries from which so many people have already come.
There are two exceptions to this rule, which in some cases allow even those born in an “excluded” country to participate:
- If a participant born in an “excluded” country is married to a native/native of an “allowed” country, both spouses may participate (submit their own applications) by declaring the “allowed” country as the country of participation.
- If both parents of a participant born in an “excluded” country were not born in that “excluded” country and were not permanently resident there at the time, the participant may participate and declare as a country of participation the “permitted” country of birth of either parent.
The second rule of the Green Card lottery
In order to be eligible for an immigration visa, the winner must have at least a secondary education or work experience in a highly skilled occupation.
In practice, this means the following – if you have completed secondary school, secondary vocational or secondary technical education or are studying in a higher education institution by the time you receive your immigration visa, this will be sufficient. If you have only a basic education, however, you can only receive a Green Card if you have worked for at least 2 years in the last 5 years in a highly skilled occupation.
As you can see, there are no age restrictions on participation in the lottery. Even a ‘yesterday’s’ schoolboy and an elderly pensioner can participate. There is also no requirement to be proficient in English. So, in fact, the main problem is not with the rules. The rules are very simple and almost everyone complies with them.
But in addition to complying with the rules of the lottery, you must also avoid the restrictions placed on all potential U.S. immigrants. In the cases listed below, additional documentation will have to be prepared when you win, or there may be a temporary or permanent ban on entry into the United States, or a waiver will be required to obtain a green card after you win.
- Existence of a socially dangerous illness or socially dangerous mental disorder.
- The use of narcotic or psychotropic substances.
- Lack of necessary vaccinations…
- The risk of becoming a ward of the state because of an extremely serious illness (public charge).
Problems with the law and visa regulations:
- Intentional socially dangerous crimes (crimes involving moral turpitude).
- Previous deportations or being in the US illegally for more than 180 days.
- Visa fraud (fictitious marriage or providing false documents).
- Staying in the USA with a J-1 visa if the 2YHR – two-year home residency requirement (this does not apply to the Work & Travel student programme) is established and not yet fulfilled.
As practice shows, it is these restrictions that often prevent you from obtaining an immigration visa. If you think there may be a problem in your situation, please ask under “ Questions and answers “.
Drawing and results
All collected entries are drawn and the winners are notified in writing to the postal address indicated in the entry form.