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Immigrant Visas


Immigrant visas are for people who plan to live, work or study and remain permanently in the United States. U.S. immigration law provides for the issuance of immigrant visas in four general categories: immediate relatives, family-based, employment-based, and the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (also known as the "green card" lottery). An immigrant visa holder who successfully enters the U.S. will receive a permanent resident card during the first year of residency.  In most Immigrant visa cases, you can only receive an immigrant visa if someone files an immigrant visa petition on your behalf.  You cannot petition for your own immigrant visa except for winners of the Diversity Visa Lottery.

U.S. immigration law assumes that beneficiaries of Immigrant Visas will live permanently in the United States.

There are three steps involved in applying for an immigrant visa:

Step 1
Filing an immigrant visa petition with the Department of Homeland Security - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Step 2
Processing of the immigrant visa by the National Visa Center (NVC) in New Hampshire. In Diversity Visa Lottery cases it is at Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) in Kentucky.

Step 3
Immigrant visa interview.

Diversity Visa (DV 2017) Program

The Department of State is pleased to announce the beginning of the Diversity Visa lottery program 2017 (DV-2017), commonly known as the “Green Card Lottery.” The registration period will run from 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), on October 1, 2015, through 12:00 noon, EST, on November 3, 2015.

During this registration period, applicants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form (E-DV) at Paper entries will not be accepted.