The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State. 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 2017, 50,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) will be available. There is no cost to register for the DV program.
Applicants who are selected in the program (“selectees”) must meet simple, but strict, eligibility requirements in order to qualify for a diversity visa. Selectees are chosen through a randomized computer drawing. Diversity visas are distributed among six geographic regions and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.
For DV-2017, natives of the following countries 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, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.