How you can qualify for a green card this year

    Andy J. Semotiuk

    Andy J. Semotiuk, U.S. and Canadian Immigration lawyer.

    One of the best ways to immigrate to the United States is to win the Diversity Green Card Lottery. This lottery is held annually by the Department of State and approves 50,000 visas for applicants who come from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S.A. Applicants can apply free of charge on the Department of State’s website. Everyone can take part regardless of their language abilities, skill level, age, profession or wealth – the only requirements are you need a secondary school education, that is to say high school, or two-years of work experience in the past five years in a job that requires at least two years of training.

    The U.S. State Department has already opened the registration period for this year’s lottery. The entry submission period for the 2022 diversity year is from October 7th to November 10th, 2020. The results will be announced in May 2121. You must be born in an eligible country to apply, even if you are a citizen of any other country. Most countries qualify. The only countries that do not are: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and dependent territories, and Vietnam. There is also one exception: The Trump travel ban announced in February 2020, excludes some citizens of Sudan and Tanzania. What is a green card, and why is it so important?

    A green card is a personal identification document that confirms that the holder of the card is a permanent resident of the United States. This gives the person the right to live and pursue employment in the country. Getting a green card means getting certain privileges. Examples include:

    • You can live in the U.S. for life, with unlimited legal re-entries.
    • You receive pension rights and medical care when retiring.
    • It will be easier to get medical insurance and a line of credit.
    • It will be easier to buy real estate, start a business and apply for jobs.
    • Your children will get discounts on education tuition fees.

    What are the chances of winning

    Hundreds of thousands apply but only 50,000 are chosen. If you are applying with your spouse, the probability of you moving to the U.S. multiplies by two because a green card owner can bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. So each of you should apply separately with the idea that whoever wins will bring the whole family. In fact, there is no limit on how many eligible members of the same family may apply. If you have any children who have met the educational or work experience requirements (which usually requires them to be at least 16 to 18 years of age), those children should also enter the lottery. If they win, they will not be able to bring you to the U.S. immediately, but they will start a path to helping you and other family members immigrate in the future. After five years of living in the U.S., a child can become a U.S. citizen. As a U.S. citizen, he or she can petition for you to become a resident of the United States as well.

    This is a great program. It helps to “Make America Great Again” because it is designed to ensure new immigrants arrive from all parts of the world and that they are from all walks of life. It reflects the sentiments symbolized by the Statue of Liberty and embodied in the American Dream. In that sense the program reaffirms the core values of this country and what is good about America. Even if you have an existing application pending, if you can qualify under this program, you should apply.