More than just sheer luck, winning a chance to earn a green card with the green card lottery entails skilled insight on the rules and processes of the Diversity Visa (DV) Program—the official name for the green card lottery. Green card lottery hopefuls can increase their chances of winning with a thorough understanding of the rules as well as building an awareness around scammer tactics to green card lottery applicants.
The Department of State (DOS) oversees the Diversity Visa (DV) Program—the green card lottery—with an explicit aim of promoting diversity within the nation’s immigrant population. The green card lottery is geared toward those living in countries where nationals account for fewer than 50,000 have immigrated to the United States in the last five years. In its administration of the green card lottery, DOS allots 50,000 visas per year across six geographic zones globally.
The allotment of green card slots in the six zones—Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America—is counted in terms of nationals from specific countries. With this, green card lottery applicants should understand that an eligible country can be claimed for where they were born or where their spouse or parents were born. This is called the country of chargeability.
“Your country of eligibility will normally be the same as your country of birth,” DOS instructional information reads. “Your country of eligibility is not related to where you live.”
Besides understanding the various methods of establishing country eligibility as a means of expanding the opportunity for entry, green card lottery participants should also understand that their effort likewise targets them for scammers. Communicating through e-mail, green card lottery scams claim applicants have won a spot in the lottery. To establish winning status, the fraudulent e-mail claims, recipients are asked to wire funds to a third party. One scam in particular asks recipients to wire nearly $900 per applicant or family member to an individual in London.
While wiring funds to the United Kingdom in order to apply for a green card for the United States might seem counter intuitive and a sure tip off of a scam in the works, the desire applicants have to begin a new life can color personal judgment in a way and make them further susceptible to scams. To complicate matters around immigration fraud even further is the fact that immigration has a long history of scam operators who are all-too-willing to take advantage of those with the desire to live in the United States. It’s incumbent on would-be immigrants then to exercise due diligence with any individual or organization offering assistance, especially in cases where a fee is involved.