Despite rhetoric from the current administration, individuals looking to migrate to the United States hit a record high for 2017, with more the 22 million people applying for the US visa program. The Diversity visa is unique in that only 50,000 people can qualify for the program. The green card provided does not accept people based on any previous qualifications such as work experience or education but instead focus on countries with low immigration rates to the US.

For 2016, eight countries, “had at least a million applicants in 2016, accounting for more than half of the total: Ghana, Uzbekistan, Iran, Ukraine, Egypt, Nepal, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.” Countries with high immigration rates such as Mexico, China,and India do not qualify for the program.

According to Pew Research, the “U.S. diversity lottery accounts for a relatively small share – about 5% – of the roughly 1 million people awarded green cards each year. Though small in size, the program is unusual because it places few restrictions on who can receive a green card (principal applicants must, in general, have a high school education or two years of recent work experience).”

Those selected have two years to enter the US. So as an example, “lottery winners who applied in the calendar year 2017 have until Sept. 30, 2019, to obtain their diversity visa.”