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Behind the Scenes of the GreenCard Lottery

Many myths surround the U.S. government's Green Card Lottery. Time and again, baffling field reports make the rounds, and future predictions range from doubling the Green Card quota to its complete abolition. We've collected the real facts and figures surrounding the popular US immigration program.

The history of the Green Card Lottery

The Green Card Lottery, officially known as the Diversity Visa Program, is a US government initiative that annually offers 55,000 people from around the world the opportunity to permanently live and work in the United States.

The program was created in the late 1980s by President Ronald Reagan to balance the nationality mix due to high immigration rates from certain countries.

The Green Card Lottery has evolved over the years. Major milestones included the introduction of digital application in 2003, changes to passport regulations in 2019 and 2022, and the inclusion of the United Kingdom in the list of eligible countries in 2023.

Although the Green Card application process may seem simple, it has some pitfalls, such as strict photo requirements and detailed forms, that lead many to seek agency help to avoid disqualification.


The American Dream has been helping people on their personal journey to the USA for almost 30 years. More than 21,000 USA fans have already won the Green Card Lottery thanks to the government-licensed immigration consultancy.

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Who are the winners of the Green Card Lottery?

To participate in the Green Card Lottery, applicants must meet certain criteria based on their country of birth, education, and work experience.

The winners of the Green Card Lottery are spread across all continents, although the countries eligible to participate in the annual draw may change from year to year. Most recently, Great Britain was added to the club of eligible countries.

Testimonials from Green Card Lottery winners

Watch and read the stories of people who have fulfilled the American dream with the help of the Green Card Lottery! From biker Uwe and his family in Colorado to actor Saša Kekez and reality TV star Stefan Kassek and his family in Florida.

→ Check out our Green Card Lottery testimonials

By the way, winners of the Green Card Lottery not only secure their place in the US for themselves but also pave the way for their spouses and children to receive Green Cards as well.

Countries of origin of Green Card Lottery winners

Green Card Lottery statistics from DV-2024 show Uzbekistan at the top among European Green Card Lottery winners with 5,555 winners, followed closely by Russia with 5,514 winners, and Kyrgyzstan with 4,464 winners.

Western European countries such as Germany, France, and Italy also accounted for significant numbers of happy US immigrants, with 466, 327, and 256 winners respectively.

The Asian leaders are Iran, Afghanistan, and Nepal with 5,077, 4,536, and 3,863 winners, respectively. In Africa, Egypt, Sudan, and Algeria top the list with 5,509, 5,435, and 5,142 winners.

In the Oceania region, Fiji had a remarkably high number of winners with 2,936, followed by Australia and New Zealand with 795 and 256 winners. South America is led by Cuba, Ecuador, and Peru with 3,081, 814, and 742 winners respectively.

Good to know

A high number of winners from one country does not mean a higher chance of winning the Green Card Lottery. The procedure is absolutely fair: the more participants there are from a country, the more winners are drawn there! There is a maximum of 3,500 Green Cards per country. Therefore, the probability of winning is extraordinarily high, no matter how many people apply from other countries.

Occupations of Green Card Lottery Winners

The Green Card Lottery is open to individuals from a variety of professional backgrounds, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. The occupational spectrum is broad and ranges from experts to skilled workers to craftsmen.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2021," the most commonly known occupations of Green Card Lottery winners in 2021 were "management, professional, and related occupations."

Occupations of Green Card Lottery Winners Distribution in 2021 approx.
Management, professional, and related occupations 18 %
Sales and office professions 2 %
Agriculture, fisheries, and forestry occupations 0.8 %
Construction, extraction, maintenance, and repair occupations 0.1 %
Production, transport, and maSales and office professionsterial handling occupations 0.4 %
No activity outside the home 37 %
Householders 3 %
Unemployed 1.2 %
Unknown 41 %

In addition, there are figures on service jobs and military activities of Green Card Lottery winners, but these are not published by DHS.

Age of Green Card Lottery winners

According to DHS, the largest group among global Green Card Lottery winners in 2021 was between the ages of 25 and 29.

Age of Green Card Lottery winners Distribution in 2021 approx.
Under 1 year 0.9 %
1 to 4 years 6.2 %
5 to 9 years 7 %
10 to 14 years 5.3 %
15 to 19 years 3.9 %
20 to 24 years 10.8 %
25 to 29 years 18.7 %;
30 to 34 years 18.2 %
35 to 39 years 11.4 %
40 to 44 years 7.4 %
45 to 49 years 4.5 %
50 to 54 years 2.6 %
55 to 59 years 1.7 %
60 to 64 years 0.8 %
65 to 74 years 0.4 %
75 years and older 0.04 %
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COVID-19: decline in immigration to the US

The total number of US immigrants declined from 1,031,631 in 2012 to 740,002 in 2021. A notable decline is seen in 2020. This is due to the global COVID-19 pandemic which affected migration across the board.

Year Total number of immigrants to the U.S.
2012 1,031,631
2013 990,553
2014 1,016,518
2015 1,051,031
2016 1,183,505
2017 1,127,167
2018 1,096,611
2019 1,031,765;
2020 707,362
2021 740,002

Where do most immigrants move to in the US?

DHS's official US residency figures show clear trends that certain US states enjoyed high popularity among immigrants during the period evaluated.

US states with high immigration rates through 2021

In the DHS evaluation from 2012 to 2021, there are clear winners among US states.

Most popular US states among immigrants

Rank 1: California

Despite a decline from 196,622 immigrants in 2012 to 135,181 in 2021, the US state of California has consistently had the highest immigration numbers during this period.

Rank 2: Texas

Texas unsurprisingly held the second-highest numbers with a decrease from 95,557 in 2012 to 78,873 in 2021.

Rank 3: New York

The popular US state of New York remained in the top group despite a significant drop from 149,505 in 2012 to 76,127 in 2021.

Rank 4: Florida

With a peak of 130,405 in 2017, a decline in 2020, and a recovery to 83,227 in 2021, Florida has earned a stable 4th place ranking over the period evaluated.

Experts cite the robust economic opportunities in the aforementioned US states as well as social factors as possible influencing factors for these trends: established immigrant states attract more immigrants due to social and cultural support networks.

These US states are becoming increasingly popular with immigrants

The US states of Georgia and Virginia have seen steady increases in immigration over the decade evaluated by DHS.

The immigrant population in Georgia is primarily from Mexico, India, Korea, Vietnam, and China, while immigrants in Virginia are most often from El Salvador, India, Mexico, Korea, and Vietnam.

Green Card Lottery: a contentious issue in US immigration policy

An intense debate has been unfolding in US politics for years over the challenges of near-unconditional immigration through the Green Card Lottery.

The lottery system, which gives nearly every USA enthusiast around the world the opportunity to live an unrestricted life in the United States, seems out of date to some conservative Americans.

Debates run deep, touching on both social and economic issues, with proponents of the Green Card Lottery emphasizing cultural diversity and the potential for economic growth, while critics highlight security concerns and potential negative effects on the labor market.

At the heart of this dispute are ethical considerations and the question of the extent to which the US should open its doors to international migrants, both to preserve its historic role as a "melting pot" of nations and to meet national interests and security needs.

We've gone through some of the most common claims about the Green Card Lottery for you:

Claim 1: The Green Card Lottery lacks thorough vetting processes.

In fact, unlike other immigration routes to the US, access to the Green Card Lottery is enormously easy. However, after their immigration application, lottery winners go through a rigorous vetting process that includes interviews and health exams before the visa is issued.

Thus, the system combines open access with scrupulous and rigorous screening to provide a balanced immigration policy.

Claim 2: The Green Card Lottery takes jobs away from American workers.

No direct link has been demonstrated between the Diversity Visa Program (the official name of the Green Card Lottery) and job availability for American workers. On the contrary, there have been repeated complaints in recent years about a lack of skilled workers in many industries.

Immigrants often fill gaps in the American labor market and can even create new jobs by starting businesses. Numerous studies have also shown that immigrants, including those who enter through the Diversity Visa Program, have a positive impact on the US economy by being entrepreneurial, paying taxes, and contributing to Social Security.

Claim 3: The program is vulnerable to fraud.

While no system is entirely immune to fraud, the U.S. Department of State has mechanisms in place to detect and prevent fraudulent activity related to the Green Card Lottery. These include, for example, the use of sophisticated AI software to detect fake photos or documents.

Claim 4: The program encourages chain migration.

Green Card Lottery winners may bring spouses and unmarried children under 21 to the US, but with respect to sponsoring additional family members (family reunification Green Card), there are annual visa caps. These caps minimize so-called "chain migration", i.e., an uncontrollable inflow of immigrants' family members.

10 Facts about the Green Card Lottery

Have you heard these facts about the US government's Green Card Lottery?

  1. The Green Card Lottery is also known as the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery or DV Program.
  2. In the Green Card Lottery, the US government awards up to 55,000 visas annually to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
  3. The application for the GreenCard Lottery is done online.
  4. Green Card Lottery winners are selected through a random process.
  5. Green Card holders have the right to live, work, and study permanently in the United States.
  6. Obtaining a Green Card is the first step on the path to US citizenship.
  7. The short period for registration in the Green Card Lottery may change from year to year. Only The American Dream allows you to submit your Green Card application all year round.
  8. In order to participate in the Green Card Lottery, applicants must be from a country that is eligible. They must also have either a specific education or work experience.
  9. If an applicant wins and successfully completes their immigration process, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may also immigrate to the United States.
  10. Applicants must undergo a medical examination to receive a Green Card.

The Green Card Lottery is a testament to the cultural melting pot that makes the United States of America so unique. Whether you come from Africa, Europe, or any other part of the world, remember: the American dream is universal and waiting for you!

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