55,000 Green Cards Are Now Up For Grabs In A Lottery

REUTERS/Marko Djurica

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has opened its annual process for prospective immigrants to apply for 55,000 green cards in a lottery system Tuesday.

DOS’s Diversity Visa program targets people who come from countries that typically don’t immigrate to the U.S. Individuals from countries that have had more than 50,000 people immigrate to America in the last five years are not eligible to apply for a green card through this program.

Among the many countries that have been excluded from the green card lottery are Mexico, El Salvador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and China. Some of the people that can apply for visas are applicants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and many more. DOS has designated Iran, Syria and Sudan as three state sponsors of terrorism in the world.

Applicants to the program must have a high school education or two years of work experience in a trade that requires two years to learn. If an applicant is not from one of the eligible countries, they can still apply as long as their spouse or parents are from one of the countries listed by DOS.

The annual lottery for 55,000 visas was set up by Congress in 1990 and has been very popular — 14.4 million people applied for a spot in the coveted annual lottery in 2015 alone.

The paperwork involved in the lottery system is free. DOS stops accepting applications for this year’s lottery Nov. 7 at 12pm ET.

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