During a 60-day period each fall, the State Department accepts applications for the DV lottery. “Winners” in this lottery will be eligible to receive green cards for themselves and their immediate family members during the State Department's next fiscal year. For instance, from November 1, 2010 to December 30, 2010, the State Department accepted applications for the 2012 DV lottery. Winners of this lottery were eligible to apply for permanent resident visas during the State Department's 2012 fiscal year, which ran from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012.
The application process is fairly straightforward but it must be followed precisely. If the applicant fails to do so, then their application will be disqualified. The State Department is very strict in this regard. For instance, of the 10.2 million applications for the 2004 DV lottery, 2.9 million of them were disqualified as invalid.
All applicants must submit Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Forms online at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov. Paper applications are no longer accepted. The applicant must include biographical information about themselves, their spouse and all children under the age of 21. Furthermore, the application must include electronic images of each person covered by the application. The State Department has established specific rules regarding these images.
Applicants who are randomly selected as winners of the green card lottery will be notified by mail within 6-8 months of the entry deadline. For instance, for the 2014 DV lottery (whose registration period ran from October 2, 2012, until November 3, 2012), winners will be notified between May 1, 2013 and July 31, 2013. Those who are not selected are not notified. In this case, no news is bad news.
Our next article will briefly discuss what happens in the event of good news.