The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States congressionally mandated lottery program for receiving a United States Permanent Resident Card. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery. The lottery is administered on an yearly basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 to provide for a new class of immigrants known as "diversity immigrants" (DV immigrants). The Act makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
In order to allow for those who do not pursue immigrant visas, more 'winners' are selected in the lottery than there are visas available. This means that being selected from the lottery does not guarantee an immigrant visa to the U.S. To receive a Diversity Visa and immigrate to the United States, 'winners' must meet all eligibility requirements under U.S. law. Requirements include at least a high school diploma, or its equivalent, or two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years training.
There are a growing number of fraudulent green card lottery scams, in which agents take money from applicants by submitting application forms for them, usually for a fee between $50 to $250. Some claim that they can increase the chance of winning the lottery. This is not true - in fact, they may even delay the application or not submit the application at all. Similarly, some claim that they will provide free airline ticket to winners or other benefits. Both the United States Department of State and the Federal Trade Commissionhave issued warning statements about this type of fraud or similar business practices.