US Green Card Application 2024/2025: Instructions and Best Guide.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE 2025 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM
The Department of State annually administers the statutorily created Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For Fiscal Year 2025, up to 55,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) will be available.
There is no cost to register for the DV program, but selectees who are scheduled for an interview will be required to pay a visa application fee prior to making their formal visa application where a consular officer will determine whether they qualify for the visa.
Applicants who are selected in the program (selectees) must meet simple but strict eligibility requirements to qualify for a DV. The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing. The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven per cent of the available DVs in any one year.
For DV-2025, natives of the following countries and areas are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, The People’s Republic of China (including mainland and Hong Kong-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Natives of Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.
With the exception of the United Kingdom and its dependent territories, which are now eligible for DV-2025, there were no changes in eligibility from the previous fiscal year.
Requirement #1: Natives of countries with historically low rates of immigration to
the United States may be eligible to enter.
If you are not a native of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, there are two other ways you might be able to qualify.
- Is your spouse a native of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States? If yes, you can claim your spouse’s country of birth – provided that you and your spouse are named on the
selected entry, are found eligible and issued diversity visas, and enter the United States at the same time.
- Are you a native of a country that does not have historically low rates of immigration to the United States, but in which neither of your parents was born or legally resident at the time of your birth? If yes, you may
claim the country of birth of one of your parents if it is a country whose natives are eligible for the DV-2025 program. For more details on what this means, see the Frequently Asked Questions.
Requirement #2: 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;
- 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. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of
Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.
For more information about qualifying work experience, see the Frequently Asked Questions.
You should not submit an entry to the DV program unless you meet both of these
Applicants must submit entries for the DV-2025 program
electronically at dvprogram.state.gov between 12:00 pm (noon), Eastern Daylight
Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 4, 2023, and 12:00 pm (noon),
Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Tuesday, November 7, 2023. Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter as heavy demand may result in website delays. No late entries or paper entries will be accepted. The law allows only one entry per person during each entry period. The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. Submission of more than one entry for a person will disqualify all entries for that person.
Completing your Electronic Entry for the DV-2025 Program
Submit your Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501),
online at dvprogram.state.gov. We will not accept incomplete entries or entries sent by any other means. There is no cost to submit the online entry form. Please use an updated browser when submitting your application; older browsers (Internet Explorer 8, for example) will likely encounter problems with the online DV system.
We strongly encourage you to complete the entry form yourself, without a “visa
consultant,” “visa agent,” or other person who offers to help. If someone helps you, you should be present when your entry is prepared so that you can provide the correct answers to the questions and keep your unique confirmation number and a printout of your confirmation screen. It is extremely important that you have the printout of your confirmation page and unique confirmation number. Unscrupulous visa facilitators have been known to assist entrants with their entries, keep the
confirmation page printout, and then demand more money or illegal activities in exchange for the confirmation number. Without this information, you will not be able to access the online system that informs you of your entry status. Be wary if
someone offers to keep this information for you. You also should have access to the
email account listed in your E-DV entry. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about DV program scams.
After you submit a complete entry, you will see a confirmation screen containing your name and a unique confirmation number. Print this confirmation screen for your records. Starting May 4, 2024, you will be able to check the status of your entry by returning to dvprogram.state.gov, clicking
on Entrant Status Check, and entering your unique confirmation number and
personal information. You must use Entrant Status Check to check if you have been selected for DV-2025 and, if selected, to view instructions on how to proceed with your application. The U.S. government will not inform you directly. Entrant Status Check is the sole source for instructions on how to proceed with your application. If you are selected and submit a visa application and the required documents, you must use Entrant Status Check to check your immigrant visa interview appointment date. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the selection process.
You must provide all of the following information to complete your entry. Failure to accurately include all the required information may make you ineligible for a DV.
- Name – last/family name, first name, middle name – exactly as it appears on your passport if you have a passport (for example, if your passport shows only your first and last/family name, please list your
last/family name and then first name; do not include a middle name unless it is included on your passport. If your passport includes a first, middle and
last/family name, please list them in the following order: last/family name, first name, middle name). If you have only one name, it must be entered in the last/family name field.
- Gender – male or
- Birth date – day, month,
- The city where you were
- Country where you were born – Use the name of the country currently used for the place where you were
- Country of eligibility for the DV program – Your country of eligibility will
normally be the same as your country of birth. Your country of eligibility is not related to where you live or your nationality if it is different from your
country of birth. If you were born in a country that is not eligible, please
review the Frequently Asked Questions to see if there is another way you may be eligible.
- Entrant photograph(s) – Recent photographs (taken within the last six months) of yourself, your spouse, and all your derivative children included in your entry. See Submitting a Digital Photograph for
compositional and technical specifications. You do not need to include a photograph of a spouse or child who is already a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, but you will not be penalized if you do.
DV entry photographs must meet the same standards as U.S. visa
photos. You may be ineligible for a DV if the entry photographs of you and your family members do not fully meet these specifications or have been manipulated in any way. Submitting the same photograph that was submitted with a prior year’s entry will make you ineligible for a
- See Submitting a Digital Photograph (below) for more information.
- Mailing Address – In Care Of
Address Line 1
Address Line 2 City/Town
District/Country/Province/State Postal Code/Zip Code Country
- Country where you live
- Phone number (optional).
- Email address – An email address to which you have direct access and
will continue to have direct access through May of the next
year. If you check the Entrant Status Check in May and learn you have
been selected, you will later receive a follow-up email communication from the
Department of State with details if an immigrant visa
interview becomes available. The Department of State will never send you an email telling you that you have been selected for the DV program. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the selection process.
- Highest level of education you have achieved, as of today: (1) Primary school only, (2) Some high school, no diploma, (3) High school diploma, (4) Vocational school, (5) Some university courses, (6) University degree, (7) Some graduate-level courses, (8) Master’s degree, (9) Some doctoral-level courses, or (10) Doctorate. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more
information about educational requirements.
- Current marital status: (1) unmarried, (2) married and my spouse is NOT an S. citizen or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), (3) married and my spouse IS a U.S. citizen or U.S. LPR, (4) divorced, (5) widowed,
or (6) legally separated. Enter the name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, and country of birth of your spouse, and a photograph of your spouse meeting the same technical specifications as your photo.
Failure to list your eligible spouse or, listing someone who is not your spouse, may make you ineligible as the DV principal applicant and your spouse and children ineligible as DV derivative applicants. You must list your spouse even if you currently are separated from them unless you are legally separated. Legal separation is an arrangement when a couple remains married but lives apart, following a court order. If you and your spouse are legally separated, your spouse will not be able to immigrate with you through the DV program. You will not be penalized if you choose to enter the name of a spouse from whom you are legally separated. If you are not legally separated by a court order, you must include your spouse even if you plan to be divorced before you apply for the Diversity
Visa or your spouse does not intend to immigrate.
If your spouse is a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, do not list them in your entry. A spouse who is already a U.S. citizen or LPR will not require or be issued a visa. Therefore, if you select “married and my spouse IS a U.S. citizen or
U.S. LPR” on your entry, you will not be prompted to include further information on your spouse. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about family members.
- Number of children – List the name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, and country of birth for all living, unmarried children under 21 years of
age, regardless of whether they are living with you or intend to accompany or follow to join you, should you immigrate to the United States. Submit individual photographs of each of your children using the same technical
specifications as your own photograph. Be sure to include:
- all living natural children;
- all living children legally adopted by you; and,
- all living stepchildren who are unmarried and under the age of 21 on the date of your electronic entry, even if you are no longer legally married to the child’s parent, and even if the child does not currently reside with you and/or will not immigrate with
Married children and children who are already aged 21 or older when you submit
your entry is not eligible for the DV program. However, the Child Status Protection Act protects children from “ageing out” in certain circumstances: if you submit
your DV entry before your unmarried child turns 21, and the child turns 21 before visa issuance, it is possible that he or she may be treated as though he or she
were under 21 for visa processing purposes.
A child who is already a U.S. citizen or LPR when you submit your DV entry will not require or be issued a Diversity Visa; you will not be penalized for either including or omitting such family members from your entry.
Failure to list all children who are eligible or listing someone who is not your
child may make you ineligible for a DV, in which case your spouse and children will also be ineligible as Diversity Visa derivative applicants. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about family members.
See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about completing your
Electronic Entry for the DV-2025 Program.
Selection of Entries
Based on the allocations of available visas in each region and country, the
Department of State will randomly select individuals by computer from among
qualified entries. All DV-2025 entrants must go to the Entrant Status Check using the unique confirmation number saved from their DV-2025 online entry registration to find out whether their entry has been selected in the DV program. Entrant Status Check will be available on the E-DV website at dvprogram.state.gov from May 4, 2024, through at least September 30, 2025.
If your entry is selected, you will be directed to a confirmation page
providing further instructions, including information about fees connected with immigration to the United States. Entrant Status Check will be the ONLY means by
which the Department of State notifies selectees of their selection for DV-2025. The
Department of State will not mail notification letters or notify selectees by
email. U.S. embassies and consulates will not provide a list of selectees. Individuals who have not been selected also ONLY will be notified through Entrant Status Check. You are strongly encouraged to access Entrant Status Check yourself. Do not rely on someone else to check and inform you.
In order to immigrate, DV selectees must be admissible to the United States. The
DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration
Application, electronically, and the consular officer, in person, will ask you questions about your eligibility to immigrate under U.S. law. These questions include criminal and security-related topics.
All selectees, including family members, must be issued visas by September
30, 2025. Under no circumstances can the Department of State issue DVs nor can USCIS approve adjustments after this date, nor can family members obtain DVs to follow to join the principal applicant in the United States after this date. The U.S. government only authorizes the issuance of approximately 55,000 diversity visas each year. Given the limited number of visas available, selectees should act promptly in submitting their materials and pursuing their application.
See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the selection
Submitting a Digital Photograph
You can take a new digital photograph or scan a recent (taken within the last six months) photograph with a digital scanner if it meets all of the standards
below. DV entry photos must be of the same quality and composition as U.S. visa photos. You can see examples of acceptable photos here. Do not submit a photograph older than six months or a photograph that does not meet all the standards described below. Submitting the same photograph
that you submitted with a prior year’s entry, a photograph that has been manipulated, or a photograph that does not meet the specifications below may make you ineligible for a DV.
Your photos or digital images must be:
- In color
- In focus
- Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50 per cent and 69 per cent of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirements
- Taken within the last six months to reflect your current appearance
- Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
- Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
- With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
- Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
- Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing
that is worn daily.
- Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your
- Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not
acceptable in your photo.
- Do not wear
- If you normally wear a hearing device or similar articles, they may be
worn in your photo.
Review the Photo Examples to see examples of acceptable and unacceptable
photos. Photos copied or digitally scanned from driver’s licenses or other official documents are not acceptable. In addition, snapshots, magazine photos, low-quality vending machines, and full-length photographs are not acceptable.
You must upload your digital image as part of your entry. Your digital image must be:
- In JPEG (.jpg) file format
- Equal to or less than 240 kB (kilobytes) in file size
- In a square aspect ratio (height must equal width)
- 600×600 pixels in dimension
Do you want to scan an existing photo? In addition to the digital image
requirements, your existing photo must be:
- 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)
- Scanned at a resolution of 300 pixels per inch (12 pixels per
Taking photos of your baby or toddler
When taking a photo of your baby or toddler, no other person should be in the photo, and your child should be looking at the camera with his or her eyes open.
|Tip 1:||Lay your baby on his or her back on a plain white or off-white sheet. This will ensure your baby’s head is supported and provide a plain background for the photo. Make certain there are no shadows on your baby’s face, especially if you take a picture from above with the baby lying down.|
|Tip 2:||Cover a car seat with a plain white or off-white sheet and take a picture of your child in the car seat. This will also ensure your baby’s head is supported.|
1. What do the terms “native”, and “charge ability” mean?
Native ordinarily means someone born in a particular country, regardless of the individual’s current country of residence or nationality. Native can also mean someone who is entitled to be charged to a country other than the one in which he/she was born under the provisions of Section 202(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Because there is a numerical limitation on immigrants who enter from a country or geographic region, each individual is charged to a country. Your charge ability refers to the country towards
which limitation you count. Your country of eligibility will normally be the same as your country of birth. However, you may choose your country of eligibility as the country of birth of your spouse, or the country of birth of either of your parents if you were born in a country in which neither parent was born and in which your parents were not resident at the time of your birth. These are the only three ways to select your country of chargeability.
Listing an incorrect country of eligibility or charge ability (i.e., one to which you cannot establish a valid
claim) may make you ineligible for DV-2025.
2. Can I still apply if I was not born in a qualifying country?
There are two circumstances in which you still might be eligible to apply. First, if your derivative spouse was born in an eligible country, you may claim charge ability to that country. As your eligibility is based on your spouse, you will only be issued an immigrant visa if your spouse is also eligible for and issued an immigrant visa. Both of you must enter the United States together, using your DVs.
Similarly, your minor dependent child can be “charged” to a parent’s country of birth.
Second, you can be “charged” to the country of birth of either of your parents as long as neither of your parents was born in or a resident of your country of birth at the time of your birth. People are not generally considered residents of a country in which they were not born or legally naturalized. For example, persons simply visiting, studying, or temporarily working in a country are not generally
If you claim alternate charge ability through either of the above, you must provide an explanation on the E-DV Entry Form, in question #6.
Listing an incorrect country of eligibility or charge ability (i.e., one to which you cannot establish a valid
claim) will make you ineligible for a DV.
3. Why do natives of certain countries not qualify for the DV program?
DVs are intended to provide an immigration opportunity for persons who are not from “high
admission” countries. U.S. law defines “high admission countries” as those from which a total of 50,000 persons in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based visa categories immigrated to the United States during the previous five years. Each year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) counts the family and employment immigrant admission and adjustment of status numbers for the previous five years to identify the countries that are considered “high admission” and whose
natives will therefore be ineligible for the annual Diversity Visa program. Since DHS makes this calculation annually, the list of countries whose natives are eligible or not eligible may change from one year to the next.
4. How many DV-2025 visas will go to natives of each region and eligible country?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines the regional DV limits for each year according to a formula specified in Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The number of visas the Department of State eventually will issue to natives of each country will depend on the regional limits established, how many entrants come from each country, and how many of the
selected entrants are found eligible for the visa. No more than seven per cent of the total visas available can go to natives of any one country.
5. What are the requirements for education or work experience?
U.S. immigration law and regulations require that every DV entrant must have at least a high school
education or its equivalent or have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. A “high school education or equivalent” is defined as the successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary
education in the United States OR the successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Only formal courses of study meet this requirement; correspondence programs or equivalency certificates (such as the General Equivalency Diploma [G.E.D.]) are not acceptable. You must present documentary proof of education or work experience to the consular officer at the time of the visa
If you do not meet the requirements for education or work experience you will be ineligible for a DV, and your spouse and children will be ineligible for derivative DVs.
6. What occupations qualify for the DV program?
The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) O*Net OnLine database to determine qualifying work experience. The O*Net OnLine database categorizes job experience into five “job zones.” While the DOL website lists many occupations, not all occupations qualify for the
DV program. To qualify for a DV on the basis of your work experience, you must have, within the past five years, two years of experience in an occupation classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) range of 7.0 or higher.
If you do not meet the requirements for education or work experience, you will be ineligible for a DV, and your spouse and children will be ineligible for derivative DVs.
When you are in O*Net OnLine, follow these steps to determine if your occupation qualifies:
- Under “Find Occupations,” select “Job Family” from the pulldown menu;
- Browse by “Job Family,” make your selection, and click “GO”.
- Click on the link for your specific occupation; and
- Select the tab “Job Zone” to find the designated Job Zone number and Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating
As an example, select Aerospace Engineers. At the bottom of the Summary Report for Aerospace
Engineers, under the Job Zone section, you will find the designated Job Zone 4, SVP Range, 7.0 to <
8.0. Using this example, Aerospace Engineering is a qualifying occupation.
For additional information, see the Diversity Visa – List of Occupations webpage.
8. Is there a minimum age to apply for the E-DV Program?
There is no minimum age to apply, but the requirement of a high school education or work experience for each principal applicant at the time of application will effectively disqualify most persons who are under age 18.
COMPLETING YOUR ELECTRONIC ENTRY FOR THE DV PROGRAM
9. When can I submit my entry?
The DV-2025 entry period will run from 12:00 pm (noon), Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT- 4), Wednesday, October 4, 2023, until 12:00 pm (noon), Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-
5), Tuesday, November 7, 2023. Each year, millions of people submit entries. Restricting the entry period to these dates ensures selectees receive notification in a timely manner and gives both the visa applicants and our embassies and consulates time to prepare and complete cases for visa issuance.
We strongly encourage you to enter early during the registration period. Excessive demand at end of
the registration period may slow the processing system. We cannot accept entries after noon EST on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.