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Green Card Lottery Requirements

Almost everyone can participate in the Green Card Lottery. There are, however, two criteria that every participant must meet: Country of birth and level of education. You must have proof of these two requirements at the time you win the lottery. Do you qualify to enter the Green Card Lottery?


The requirement to present a passport to enter the Green Card Lottery has been overturned by a US federal judge. Learn how this came about and why it's good news.

Is my country of birth important for the Green Card Lottery?

Your country of birth plays an important role in the Green Card Lottery because some countries are not allowed to participate. Countries that are excluded usually have an already high rate of immigration to the USA.

Every country which has received more than 50,000 U.S. Green Cards through other legal immigration paths, such as family- or work-based visas over the last five years, are automatically excluded from the lottery.

A man stands in front of a US-American flag and holds his hand defensively into the camera

Unfortunately, if you were born in a country that is not currently eligible for the Green Card Lottery, you have no chance of winning a Green Card.

The list of excluded countries, therefore, can change from year to year. It is worth the time to check the list of excluded countries regularly to see if new counties have been added or taken off the list.

Please take note that your nationality plays no role in the Green Card Lottery. Only your country of birth according to current borders is important in deciding if you can participate in the drawing.   

Exceptions for people born in an excluded country

There are, however, exceptions! People born in an excluded country can still apply to the Green Card Lottery under certain conditions. They are when:

  1. The spouse of the participant was born in a country that can actively participate;


  1. People born in an excluded country can participate if their parents were only in the country of their birth temporarily for, for example, their studies or work. In this case, both parents must have been born in a country that can participate in the lottery.  

In these cases, the participant can take on, so to say, the country of their parents or spouse and enter the country as their “native country” when applying. If you are unsure, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The American Dream has made it their mission to help those who want to emigrate to the USA reach their goals. We are here for you if you have any questions or concerns.  

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List of excluded countries

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible. 

World map with areas marked in red

The countries that are allowed to participate in the Green Card Lottery change regularly.

Take your chance to win a Green Card! Apply now

What education or work requirements must I meet?

You can apply for the Green Card Lottery when …


  • ... you can prove that you have at least a US high school diploma or an equivalent level of education. This means that participants should have completed at least 12 years of formal primary and secondary schooling.


  • ... you can prove at least two years of work experience within the past five years in a qualified profession. Qualified professions are those that require at least two years of training. Please refer to the database provided by the Department of State to check if your job qualifies.

People who do not fulfill the above requirements cannot, unfortunately, apply for the lottery. If you have doubts, The American Dream is here to assist and advise you.

If it is not possible for you to participate in the Green Card Lottery, you can still travel to the USA with an ESTA or apply for a US visa for longer trips across America.

Is there an age requirement for the Green Card Lottery?

Principally, there is no age requirement to apply to the lottery, but be aware that effectively people under the age of 16 cannot fill the education requirements.

What information is asked for in the application?

Registering for the Green Card Lottery takes place online and is non-binding. 

In the application form, you must give personal details like your first and last name, date of birth, country, and city of birth, level of education, as well as a digital photo. This information is also required for each member of your family, with the exception of their passport details.  

Language skills

Many USA fans ask us about how good their English skills must be to apply for the Green Card Lottery. Principally, participants must not prove any special language skills. Many of our winners have quite the story to tell! Without speaking a word of English, many people have participated in the lottery, won, and successfully emigrated to the USA! We still recommend that you attend English courses at a language school so that you are best prepared when you win the lottery.

Proof of finances

Furthermore, applicants must not provide proof of their finances at the time that they apply for the Green Card Lottery. This information will first be requested once the Green Card has been won.

Take your chance to win a Green Card! Apply now