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.