Newsflash: Diversity Lottery

On November 1st, President Trump tweeted a statement threatening the Diversity Visa (Lottery). The tweet came in response to a lottery winner that carried out an act of terror in New York City. Many people feared that the program would be end immediately. Contrary to widespread belief, Congress would have to pass an immigration reform bill to enact substantial changes, including any change to the Diversity Visa program.

What is the Program?

Passed with primarily democratic support in the 1990s, the Congress intended the program to foster diversity from countries with low rates of immigration into the US. The lottery randomly selects 50,000 applicants for the opportunity to receive green cards. Applicants apply online, and usually reside outside the US at the time of application and selection. The Lottery is amongst the quickest routes to obtain a green card in the US, with most applications approved in less than two years. Some years, the lottery program receives nearly 15 million applications. High volume immigration countries, like Mexico, India, and China, are not included in the lottery. Currently, the biggest beneficiaries of the lottery are from Africa & Europe.


 There is no official order to end the lottery program. For current news, it is important to stay updated on USCIS news alerts for official immigration rulings, including any future executive orders. While there may be growing uncertainty about certain immigration programs and applications, under the current administration, it is noteworthy to remember that Congress passes bills which upon President’s approval and signature becomes the law.  Passage of laws, especially for controversial and politically sensitive topic like immigration, is very difficult