11 million entered 2014 green card lottery

Each year, the U.S. Department of State holds the green card lottery, formally known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. This program awards permanent residence to some 50,000 applicants annually, drawing winners randomly from a selection of immigrants from nations with low rates of U.S. immigration.

It’s an excellent opportunity to obtain the right to work and live in the U.S. while skipping ahead of the long waitlist for a green card. In fact, it accounts for about 5 percent of legal immigration to the U.S. But the number of applicants well outweighs the number of green cards available through this program, and in 2014, the lottery saw an astonishing number of entries.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. visa lottery program attracted more than 11 million applicants this year. That is a 21 percent increase from 2013, and this news means that less than 0.5 percent of those who entered will be awarded green cards.

While this number indicates rising interest in the lottery, this year is not a record breaker. The program has seen as many as 14.8 million applications in one year.