The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program also known as Green card lottery is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted based on United States law, specifically Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This law provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” with visas made available to persons from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. Generally, 50,000 diversity visas (DV) are made available every year.
The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random drawing chooses selectees for DVs. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, and within each region, no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available immigrant visas in any one year. Visas are allocated to natives of countries with historically lower rates of U.S. immigration. Natives of countries who have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years are not eligible to apply for the Diversity Visa program.
The Department of State implemented the electronic registration system beginning with DV-2005 in order to make the DV process more efficient and secure. The Department utilizes special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries.