Less than 1 percent win the US green-card lottery — here’s how it works

Last fall, after green-card lottery recipient Sayfullo Saipov allegedly used a truck to kill eight people in New York City, President Donald Trump told law enforcement officials that immigrants who enter the U.S. through visa lotteries are the “worst of the worst.”

Here’s how that lottery works.

The diversity visa lottery, more commonly known as the green-card lottery, was instituted in 1995 and offers a chance for people from qualifying countries to get a green card. It is intended to provide diversity in U.S. immigration, so only individuals from countries underrepresented in the U.S. are encouraged to apply.

If a person qualifies and is chosen, the lottery can allow them to receive a green card, which, aside from voting, offers all the benefits of permanent residency in the U.S. But even if you do qualify, only a small number of people who enter the lottery will win.


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