Millions Vie for ‘Last’ Diversity Visa Lottery


The diversity visa lottery has been described as one of the quirks of the U.S. immigration system.

On May 2, more than 14 million people around the world checked their computers to learn whether they had been a winner in the diversity visa lottery. Every year up to 50,000 foreign residents find out if they have qualified for a green card.

However, the diversity lottery may be living on borrowed time. The Washington Post noted May’s lottery may be the last.

The Diversity Visa Lottery rewards fewer than one percent of the people who enter permanent residency in the United States.

Visa paper

It remains to be seen whether it will survive the tougher immigration policies of the Trump era.

While Trump has attempted to bring in travel bans related to predominately Muslim countries, proposed a wall on the Mexican border and cracked down on undocumented immigrants with criminal records, he has said nothing about the diversity visa lottery.

The Washington Post predicted it might, nevertheless, be scrapped. The random lottery appears to conflict with Trump’s call for a “merit-based” immigration system. Two bills in the Republican-controlled Congress would eliminate the program.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), the co-sponsor of one of the bills intended to end the lottery says fraud is inherent in the program and it fails to deliver diversity, despite its name.

Its supporters say the diversity lottery is a public relations exercise that counters the idea that America no longer lives up to the inclusive dream.

We outline the diversity visa program here on our website. It was originally set up under Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The legislation creates a set of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” They come from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

The visas are handed out among six geographic regions and no one country is allowed to pick up more than seven percent of the available visas in any one year.

Find out more about the diversity lottery program on the Department of State website. If you want to find out more about the program contact our experienced Texas immigration lawyers at  (512) 399-2311.

Share To: