USA Diversity Lottery - More Information

Country of Eligibility for the green card lottery

Question: What do the terms "Eligibility" and "Chargeability" mean? Are there any situations in which a person or persons who were not born in a qualifying country may apply?

Answer: 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. Native ordinarily means someone born in a particular country, regardless of the individual’s current country of residence or nationality. For immigration purposes "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.

For example, if you were born in a country that is not eligible for this yearís diversity visa green card lottery program, you may claim chargeability to the country where your derivative spouse was born, but you will not be issued a diversity visa green card unless
  • your spouse is also eligible for and issued a diversity visa green card,
  • and both of you must enter the United States together with the diversity visa green cards.
In a similar manner, a minor dependent child can be "charged" to a parentís country of birth.

Finally, if you were born in a country not eligible to participate in this yearís diversity visa green card program, you can be "charged" to the country of birth of either of your parents as long as neither parent was a resident of your country of birth at the time of your birth. For example your parents might have lived temporarily in the ineligible country because of their jobs. In general, people are not considered residents of a country in which they were not born or legally naturalized if they are only visiting the country, studying in the country temporarily, or stationed in the country for business or professional reasons on behalf of a company or government.

If you claim alternate chargeability, you must indicate such information on the Diversity Lottery entry form under country of Eligibility. Please be aware that listing an incorrect country of eligibility or chargeability (i.e. one to which you cannot establish a valid claim) may disqualify your entry.

Green Card Lottery qualifying Education or Work experience

You must comply with one of the following two requirements (Option 1 or Option 2 below) to qualify for the Green Card Lottery:


You must have completed a U.S. high school education or a foreign equivalent of U.S. high school education “High School education or its equivalent” means the successful completion of a twelve year course of elementary and secondary education in the U.S. or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to complete a 12 year education in the U.S. Passage of a high school equivalency examination is not sufficient. It is permissible to have completed one’s education in less than twelve years or greater than twelve years if the course of study completed is equivalent to a U.S. high school education.

The Department of State defines high school education or its equivalent to mean “successful completion of a twelve-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to completion of twelve years’ elementary and secondary education in the Unites States.” A General Education Diploma (GED) test or its foreign equivalent will not satisfy this requirement.

  You must have worked in one of the following occupations for at least two years within the last five years: Proof that you satisfy these requirements should NOT be submitted when entering the Green Card Lottery but will be requested by a consular officer after your name has been selected and you formally apply for your permanent residence visa. Individuals who do not match these basic requirements should not apply in this program. You need to provide proof of education, work experience and native country only if you are selected. For this reason we do not request this information in the application form.

Green Card Lottery Marriage Status

Legally Seperated means that a court has formally declared that you and your former spouse are legally seperated. Legal Separation means that your spouse would not be eligible to immigrate as your derivative.


You must list ALL your children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age, whether they are your natural children, your spouseís children, or children you have formally adopted in accordance with the laws of your country, unless such child is already a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident. List all children under 21 years of age even if they no longer reside with you or you do not intend for them to immigrate under the DV program.
The fact that you have listed family members on your entry does not mean that they later must travel with you. They may choose to remain behind. However, if you include an eligible dependent on your visa application forms that you failed to include on your original entry, your case will be disqualified. This only applies to those who were family members at the time the original application was submitted, not those born/adopted/acquired at a later date. Your spouse may still submit a separate entry, even though he or she is listed on your entry, as long as both entries include details on all dependents in your family.

For more information please see USA Diversity Lottery’s On-Line Help.