How to Apply for Green Card Lottery and Get Legal Residence in the US

Perhaps all of us know how a regular lottery works. It is indeed exciting to know that you enter the lottery and if you are selected in random you win a prize. Likewise the US State department has taken the initiative of conducting the lottery program that allows people to win permanent residency in the US.

Officially known as the Diversity Lottery program, it is also called as the green card lottery program or the DV lottery. As a part of this random lottery process, this program allows 50,000 applicants to receive green cards. It is designed to provide a chance for immigrants from all parts of the world to immigrate to the US.

How do I qualify?

The foremost important aspect is screening for eligibility. The applicant must meet the requirements before applying to the lottery program. To qualify for the program you must be a native of a qualifying country and meet either the educational or work requirement. If you do not belong to a qualifying country you can claim eligibility through your spouse or if unmarried through one of your parents provided they are from a qualifying country. A country is eligible if it has low admission rates to the US and the list of such countries differs each year. Per the law no diversity visas will be provided for natives of “high admission” countries. As there is a separate determination made before every annual DV entry period, the list of countries whose natives do not qualify, can change from one year to the next.

The State Department has the sole responsibility for the lottery program and it is the only organization which oversees the green card lottery program. To participate in the lottery, each applicant must meet the requirements set up by the organization. Applications are generally accepted only for a specific time period usually between the month of October and December. Applications are accepted during the specified time and multiple submissions lead to disqualification. Applications are filled and submitted electronically. There are different websites which offer the service for the preparation of the online application. The green card lottery application is free, is filed online and has to be filled and submitted per the instructions. Once the application is sent along with the required photos which is mandatory, a confirmation number will be sent. With the help of this number, one can check the status of their application on the government website.

As far as the photos are concerned, it is as important as the application itself. If the family members are included in your application, you will have to include the individual photo of each of them. The selection process is all computerized and only the winners will be informed through mail.

Immigrants, Divorce, and Conditional Residence

Immigrants who marry a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident can be granted a special status to live in the United States. This status is called conditional residency status, because the immigrant is granted residency status with the condition that he or she be married to a citizen or legal resident of the United States. Conditional residence lasts for 2 years, at which point the status of the immigrant is reevaluated. However, marital problems that lead to divorce or legal separation within the 2 year period may compromise the residency status of an immigrant.

Granting Conditional Residency

Conditional residency may be granted to immigrant spouses if the marriage is less than 2 years old. The immigrant is given a green card, which allows him or her to live and work in the U.S. This status also allows the immigrant to enter and leave the United States. As long as the marriage remains valid, the immigrant spouse will maintain conditional residency for the 2 year period.

Conditional Residency and Divorce

If you are an immigrant on conditional residency and want to pursue a divorce, you should first consider how a divorce would affect your residency status. At the end of the 2 year conditional residency period, an immigrant spouse may apply for legal permanent resident status. However, if you have been divorced or separated from your spouse, applying for permanent residency will be more difficult, because you and your spouse must jointly file the application. An immigrant may apply to have the joint application waived if the applicant can show that he or she entered into the marriage in good faith.

Domestic Violence Cases

Special circumstances can override the joint application requirement. If an immigrant spouse is a victim of domestic violence, she or he may separate from her or his spouse and seek legal residency status without the spouse’s approval. This is a special condition that usually applies to battered women or mothers with children who have been abused by the husband. If you are a conditional resident and a victim of domestic violence, consider contacting a divorce lawyer and an immigration lawyer immediately.

Becoming a Legal Resident in Costa Rica

If you are thinking about living the good life in Costa Rica or even if you just want to travel there regularly, you are going to want to become a legal resident. This is vital if you want to be able to do any kind of business in the country, even just renting a cell phone. There are two fairly simple ways to do that and they are the pensionado and rentista programs.

For the pensionado residency, you need to have proof that you receive at least $600.00 or more per month from a guaranteed pension, Social Security or retirement account. Then you simply convert at least $600.00 a month from dollars to colones. You should also live in Costa Rica 4 out of 12 months each year.

For rentista, you should have financial investments that will bring in at least $1,000 each month for 60 months and again convert that money from dollars to colones. You should also live in Costa Rica at least 4 months of the year.

Either of these plans gives you important rights in Costa Rica. Another option that is very popular with those who want to be able to buy real estate is to form a corporation. A corporation has many rights and enables you to do even more than just your residency would.

Another option if you have a large sum to invest, $50,000 or more in projects that benefit the country of Costa Rica, is to get investor status. Special projects would include tourism, exports or reforestation. This shows the country that you are truly interested in being a part of it and that you have a vested interest in the welfare of Costa Rica. Within 2 years you can earn permanent resident status. Being a resident gives you more access than just being a tourist and helps you feel like you “belong” here. And who wouldn’t want that?

How to Apply For Green Card Visa Lottery and Get Legal Residence in the United States

The American Green Card Lottery DV2012 is held annually by the Department of State. It is open to people who would like to become legal residents of the US. Those who would like to apply can complete the application over the internet from October 2 2010 to November 30 2011 in the Eastern time zone of the United States.

Do You Qualify?

Each applicant is screened for eligibility and must meet requirements that are set by the State in order to be granted residency in the Green Card Visa Lottery. Those who apply must be born in and reside in a country that is eligible. Individuals who are from a country that does not qualify may possibly qualify if his or her spouse is from a country that is eligible by using the spouses native country. The couple must have visas and enter the US jointly.

Countries in Europe eligible for the USA legal residency lottery include Northern parts of Ireland, Denmark, Albania and Belgium. Some areas of United Kingdom are not eligible for the event. Individuals who were born in and reside in the Bahamas can apply but residents of Mexico as well as Canada are not eligible. People who are in Australia are eligible to enter. Countries in South America which are eligible include Panama, Antigua, Honduras and Argentina. There are many other countries that are also eligible.

Every applicant must meet requirements set by the Department of State. The requirements set by plan administrators include having a higher level of education with a minimum of a High School diploma or have a minimum of two years of working experience. The experience level an applicant has must be recent and within the previous five years.

Entering the Immigration Lottery

The application is know as the Electronic Diversity Visa and must be submitted by all individuals who wish to enter it. Ensure you send only one application as you will be disqualified if duplicate applicants are received by the Department of State administrators. You can complete the form yourself or have another person complete the form for you. A confirmation will be displayed if the completed application has been sent successfully. The successful completion page will also have a confirmation number for reference. The lottery administrators will not accept applications that are hand filled and mailed in. All applications must be sent digitally.

Every application must have a photo submitted. This is important to have the entry processed. Just like the application, a photo must also be digitally submitted by every person who wishes to enter the lottery. If you are entering other members of your family, you must include one photo of each. Photos with family members together in one photograph do not qualify. Children of the person entering the lottery who are already citizens do not need to supply a picture.