Should you apply for the 2015 diversity visa lottery?

To ensure that immigration into the U.S. is balanced, government immigration officials try to make green cards available for people from many different countries of origin. The way they do that is though the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. This program awards up to 55,000 diversity visas annually, which are available to those from countries with a historically low presence in the U.S. Applications for the 2015 lottery are available now, so find out if you are eligible.

You must have been born in a country accepted in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. Where you have citizenship is less important than where you were born. Countries not awarded Diversity Visas include Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom/Great Britain and its dependent territories, except Northern Ireland, and Vietnam.

However, a person born in one of the above countries may apply for a Diversity Visa if their spouse is from an approved country. You must also have the equivalent of a high school diploma and two years of work experience that required training, such as college or vocational school. You do not have to give proof of this, such a diploma or work references unless you are chosen in the lottery.

To find out if you are eligible, you can apply online through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program website. The application must be filled out accurately and carefully. Any error will result in the disqualification of your application. The applications will be reviewed at the end of the year and the winners will be announced between April and June of the following year. In this case, that means the 2015 winners will be notified between April and June of 2014.

The application must be filled out and submitted electronically. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program does not accept any other form of application.

What it means
If you are chosen, you will be awarded a green card. This will allow you to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely and unconditionally.