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The 2018 Diversity Visa program (DV-2018), aka the "green card lottery program," is now open on the U.S. Department of State's website. The Diversity Visa program is not a myth or urban legend. Administered by the U.S. Department of State under Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and designed to foster the perfect melting pot, this program allows 50,000 "diversity immigrants" from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S. to obtain a green card through a lottery system.

The entry submission period for DV-2018 started on October 4, 2016, and will end on November 7, 2016. Eligible applicants should not wait until the last week of the registration period to apply as heavy demand may result in website delays. No late or paper entries will be accepted. The immigration regulations allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period.

The Diversity Visa program is free. Applicants should beware of and avoid third-party websites that charge a fee to process the application.

The eligibility criteria for the Diversity Visa program changes year to year. For 2018, natives from the following countries are not eligible to apply because more than 50,000 natives from these countries have immigrated to the U.S. in the previous five years:
  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China (mainland-born) – Individuals born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories
  • Vietnam

The detailed eligibility criteria and official instructions can be found on the Department of State's website. The lucky winners will be announced starting May 2, 2017, through at least September 30, 2018.