Online registration for the 2018 Diversity Visa program opened on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 12:00 noon (Eastern Daylight Time). Registration closes at the same time on Monday, November 7, 2016.
50,000 immigrant visas (green cards) will become available on October 1, 2018 for people with at least two years of high school education from around the world. If you were born in one of the eligible countries, you can now apply for the lottery.
Winners of the lottery will be notified in May of 2017. Those selected then have the opportunity to either adjust their status to lawful permanent resident (if they are in the U.S.) or to consular process for an immigrant visa (if outside the U.S.).
The visas are only available for people from certain countries. Basically, if you were born in a country and that country already has a lot of immigrants here in the U.S., you probably are not eligibile to participate in the DV Lottery.
Here is the list of countries that are NOT ELIGIBLE to participate in the DV Lottery. If you were not born in one of these countries, you can and should apply for the lottery if you would like to live in the U.S.:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
Because this is a lottery system and the chances are relatively low, the State Department does not consider you to have shown "immigrant intent" if you apply for the lottery.
People often contact our office and ask for help in coming to America. This may be your best chance to obtain lawful permanent resident status, unless you are from one of the listed countries.
If you are married, both you and your spouse can and should apply. Also, if you are in the United States and wish to adjust status through the DV Lottery, you need to be in valid immigration status throughout the process.
Here is the link to apply for the DV Lottery: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/
The instructions for the lottery can be accessed here: https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Diversity-Visa/DV-Instructions-Translations/DV-2018-Instructions-Translations/DV-2018%20Instructions%20English.pdf
And be careful. There are a lot of fake diversity visa lottery websites. The site listed above is the only proper site.
Remember, you only have until November 7, 2016 to apply.