For some, winning, the green card lottery may be as good as winning big bucks.
The lottery program, officially called the U.S. Diversity Visa Program, is an annual drawing which grants foreigners a chance to win a green card and the right to work and live in the United States. Open for only about one month every year, the 2012 lottery will occur approximately between October 4 and November 5. Applications can be submitted free of charge, so with few bars to entry, diverse contestants are given the chance to obtain an extended U.S. visa and enjoy access to a better life in the United States.
One such lucky winner was Gary McLaughlin, who recently chronicled his lottery win in an Irish Central article. McLaughlin, who was born in the Irish town of Dundalk but says he was a self-proclaimed “child of America,” entered the U.S. green card lottery in 2010 with his partner Frances. While Frances’ application was unsuccessful, McLaughlin was one of 100,000 applicants to make it to the second round, down from 23 million applicants for the year. After being interviewed by the U.S. Embassy in October 2011, McLaughlin and Frances moved to New York City in January 2012, and are currently looking for employment.
New England Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko’s family arrived in the United States from Romania thanks to the 1997 green card lottery, as well, being one of only 55,000 families in the world to be granted a green card that year, out of 19 million entries, according to Yahoo Sports.
Making the move from their war-torn homeland, Mesko’s parents decided to immigrate to the United States for a better life for their son. Only 11 when he came to the United States, both of Mesko’s parents took odd jobs while they learned English before they could enter into their former lines of work.