Every year, the U.S. Department of States makes a certain number of immigrant visas available through its “Diversity Visa lottery”. Typically the applicants come from countries with low immigration numbers over the previous five years. If you apply for this program and make it through the randomized selection process, you may be able to obtain a visa and achieve legal permanent resident status in the U.S. without first getting sponsorship from a family member or employer.

However, there are still certain requirements to meet before you are eligible to apply for this type of visa, as well as additional steps you must complete to actually receive a Diversity Visa even after you “win” the lottery. If you have any questions or concerns about the Diversity Visa Lottery in San Diego, a qualified attorney could provide the answers you need to make the most of this process.

How to Apply for a Diversity Visa

Diversity Visas are only available to foreign nationals coming from countries that have sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the United States within five years of their application date. Qualifying applicants must also have spent at least two of the past five years working in a Job Zone 4 or 5 occupation with a Specific Vocational Preparation rating equaling or exceeding 7.0 in the eyes of the U.S. Department of State, or have the equivalent of a 12-year elementary and secondary education that is not an equivalency certificate like a G.E.D.

Individuals who wish to apply for a Diversity Visa must do so through the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website while applications are open. This short period generally runs from early October to early November. The ED-V site is also the only place where applicants can check the status of their application, as well as the only means by which the Department of State will notify applicants of their selection in the lottery.

If a Diversity Visa lottery applicant in San Diego has their application selected, they must then submit a Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application that includes their DV application case number. Winners of the lottery also must submit additional documentation such as a photocopy of their passport’s biographic data page, their birth certificate, and other documents like court and prison records if applicable. Finally, applicants must complete a visa interview at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate—or the nearest USCIS office, if they are already in the U.S. at the time—before they can receive their Diversity Visa.

What Is the Acceptance Rate for Diversity Visas?

Out of about 12 million applications each year, the Department of State only selects about 100,000 qualifying applicants through the Diversity Visa lottery. On top of that, not every applicant out of those selected will actually receive a Diversity Visa. The additional selections are meant to ensure that every available Diversity Visa out of 55,000 actually goes to a qualifying applicant each year.

Because of that, the rate of acceptance through the Diversity Visa lottery process in San Diego is relatively low, and there is very little that a legal professional can do to increase an individual applicant’s odds of selection. However, guidance from an immigration lawyer could be crucial to ensuring that every stage of the Diversity Visa application process goes smoothly and without any errors that could make an otherwise eligible applicant ineligible.

Talk to a San Diego Attorney About Entering the Diversity Visa Lottery

If you want to enter the United States on a Diversity Visa, you may have a long wait ahead of you before you are fortunate enough to be selected. If your application does make it through the randomized process, you should have help from dedicated legal counsel who could help you take advantage of your good fortune.

A knowledgeable immigration lawyer could walk you through every step of the Diversity Visa lottery process in San Diego and help you submit the strongest application possible. Call today to learn more.