DOS Releases Instructions for the 2021 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

The Department of State (DOS) has announced the opening of the 2021 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which opened on October 2, 2019 and will close on November 5, 2019.  DOS annually allocates visas for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For Fiscal Year 2021, there will be 55,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) available without a fee.

Only individuals from certain countries may qualify. The full list of eligible countries can be found beginning on page 16 of the DOS announcement.

If not born in an eligible country, there are two other possible ways to qualify.

1.      If your spouse was born in an eligible country.

2.      If you were born in an ineligible country in which neither of your parents was born or legally resident at the time of your birth, you may claim the country of birth of one of your parents if it is a country whose natives are eligible for the DV program.


Diversity Visa applicants must also adhere to the education work requirement of the program by having either:

1.      A minimum of a high-school or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education;


2.     A minimum of two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation which requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.

Although there has been push to eliminate the DV lottery for years, including President Trump’s repeated calls for a more “merit-based” immigration system, Congress has not moved to end the program. By offering individuals from countries with low immigration to the US, particularly from Africa and Eastern Europe, the chance to immigrate, the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes America more diverse and benefits the American economy.

Details: Department of State announcement