The Green card lottery under Immigration Act?


This Article elaborates on the Immigration Act of 1990 and the green card lottery.


The Immigration Act of 1990 enacted November 29, 1990) was signed into law by George H. W. Bush on November 29, 1990

It was a national reform of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This increased the total number of immigrants so that 700,000 could come to the U.S. annually in fiscal years 1992-94 and 675,000 thereafter[1].

It provided for family-based immigrant visas and created five different employment-based visas categorized by occupation. And a diversity visa program that established a lottery to admit immigrants from countries with “low admission rates” and also countries whose citizenship was underrepresented in the United States

Division of Immigrant visas

The division of immigrant visas into three areas family-based, employment-based, and lastly the diversity-reflects the different interests behind U.S. immigration policy.

  • Family-based immigration is comprised of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens plus four preferences that track the family preferences existing under current law
  • Employment-based immigration is expanded to recognize the complexity of admitting persons based on different skills and economic contributions.
  • Diversity” based immigration is the third area provided for by the Act and is designed to remedy historical changes in immigrant admissions patterns since 1965. The Act moreover directs the U.S. Attorney General to determine which states and regions have, in recent years, been less represented in immigrant admissions.[2]

Diversity Immigrant Visa program/ green card lottery

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is also known as the green card lottery. It is a United States government lottery program for receiving the United States Permanent Resident Card.

Besides, it makes available 55,000 immigrant visas annually to applicants from countries with low numbers of immigrants in the previous five years. Around 13 million people applied for the lottery in 2020.

Initially, the DV lottery was administered entirely by mail, and only winners were notified. The entry form was moved to an online system starting in DV-2005, but only winners were notified by mail. But since DV-2012 it is done exclusively online.

Applicants for the American Visa Lottery are randomly chosen in the Green Card Program. Selected applicants and their immediate family members will receive Diversity Immigrant Visas. This gives them the legal right to live and work permanently in the United States. You and your family can get Green Cards. But you must apply immediately for the upcoming Green Card Program to get the best chance of being selected

To win a Green Card via the Green Card Program, you must follow the 16 steps. From online applications to the issuance of cards [3].


To enter the lottery, applicants must have been born in an eligible country.

Natives of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States may be eligible to enter.

Each DV applicant must meet the education/work experience requirement of the DV program by having either:  

  • at least a high school education or its equivalent defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education;  OR,
  • two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.

Applicants must submit entries for the DV-2024 program electronically at However, the immigration process is usually a little complicated and tiresome. It is advisable to hire an expert immigration lawyer to make the process smooth for oneself.

Critique of the diversity visa program

Criticism of the program has focused on instances of fraud, racism and the random nature of the lottery, as well as criminal or terrorist actions perpetrated by certain lottery winners.

Several attempts have been made to eliminate the lottery. In December 2005, the United States House of Representatives also voted 273–148 to add an amendment to the border enforcement bill abolishing the DV. Opponents of the lottery said it was susceptible to fraud as well as a way for terrorists to enter the country. 

Disclaimer: This Article is solely for providing information and does not contain any legal advice.



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