The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, commonly known as the lottery, makes available each year by random selection 50,000 permanent residence visas to persons from countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States. Eligibility to apply for this Program is determined by a person’s place of birth not citizenship or residence. The list of excluded countries may vary from year to year.
Each year in late Fall/Winter there is a registration period during which qualified applicants may apply to register for the Program. Entries are selected at random by computer, regardless of the date and time of receipt during that period. Successful applicants are invited to apply for an immigrant visa and will be required to establish their eligibility for a visa under current laws and regulations.
Complete information is available from the State Department’s Diversity Visa program website.