US State Department announces 2013 green card lottery winners

Acquiring a green card can be a difficult and drawn-out process, and many immigrants fail to obtain or renew theirs and must stay in their country of origin for unforeseen periods of time. But the U.S. government offers an alternative method for securing a green card: the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

Also known as the green card lottery, this program awards as many as 50,000 immigrant visas each year to applicants pursuing American citizenship. The visas are distributed to applicants from six geographic regions, doling out a larger number to people from countries that have low levels of U.S. immigration with the aim of increasing diversity among America’s immigrant population.

The process of selecting winners can also be a long one, taking a year to complete, but the U.S. Department of State has just announced the selection of applicants for the 2013 green card lottery. The winners, who applied in 2013 between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2 to obtain visas in 2015, were chosen at random using a computerized program. Among all the countries involved in the lottery, Nigeria had the largest number of winners with more than 6,200, according to RocketNews24 . Nepal and Iran also had some of the biggest numbers in terms of visa recipients.

Applicants have through Sept. 30, 2015, to check the status of their entry online through the U.S. Department of State website, and the lucky winners can then begin the application process in order to obtain their visas, which grant them permanent American citizenship.

The selection of the 2013 green card lottery winners comes just as the 2014 lottery is underway. For this year’s contest, immigrants interested in American citizenship should apply between Oct. 1 and Nov. 3, 2014, and the results are expected to be announced about one year from the beginning of the registration period.