Is the Green Card Lottery right for you?

Is the Green Card Lottery right for You

Is the US Green Card Lottery Right for You?

Due to the numerous ways to become a permanent resident, it’s reasonable to wonder, is the Green Card Lottery right for you?

The US Green Card Lottery is one option that many people consider when trying to enter the US. Although the process of applying for the lottery is fairly simple, everyone can qualify due to specific circumstances.

So, let’s go over some of the eligibility criteria to help you decide, is the Green Card Lottery right for you?

Alternative Routes of Entry

The first thing to consider is whether you have alternative routes to obtaining permanent residency in the US. Specifically, do you already have family in the country or is there a chance you could get a job with an American employer?

If so, it might be worth investigating these routes. While the Green Card Lottery is arguably simpler, there’s less of a chance that you’ll obtain a Green Card. This is because, as the name suggests, it’s a lottery, so you’re essentially entered into a prize draw.

On the other hand, family or employment connections typically result in guaranteed acceptance for residency. Not everyone will have these connections, but if you do, it’s worth thinking about them first.

Country of Origin

The country where you were born must be on the eligibility list for the US Green Card Lottery. This means that fewer than 55,000 migrants entered the US from your country within the previous 5 years.

Your country will be eligible according to these criteria. However, if the number of immigrants to the US changes, your country will be removed from the eligibility list. It is important to be sure of your country’s status before considering the US Green Card Lottery as an option.

There are typically some changes every year, although not many. Countries that fall off the list will usually appear again in a few years’ time because their migration numbers are often affected by the lottery.

The list of countries that do not qualify for the Green Card Lottery is subject to change from one year to the next, so you can always apply and be on our waiting list should your country not be on the list this year.

Also, some countries will never appear on this list. This includes most European countries as well as places like Mexico, Canada, and Australia. These countries always have high levels of immigration to the US, so aren’t eligible under the lottery’s diversity aspect. Unfortunately, if you’re from one of these countries, you’ll have to stick with a “traditional” route to permanent residency.

Health Status

Knowing your health status is vital when deciding is the Green Card Lottery right for you. That said, the vast majority of health conditions don’t change your eligibility for application.

USCIS is particularly focused on infectious diseases that could pose a threat to the wider American public. Some examples include infectious tuberculosis, smallpox, yellow fever, and COVID-19.

Your mental health is also considered to an extent when it comes to eligibility. You’ll still be eligible if you’ve had something like depression, but more severe psychiatric conditions might prevent you from entering the US.

Finally, you’ll need to have the required vaccinations. These include things like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis a and b, and more. You’ll attend a physical as part of your application process, and the doctor will check your medical records during it.

It’s worth noting that some health conditions won’t make you ineligible on the basis of being infectious, but could make you ineligible because you’d be a likely public charge. In short, this means you’d need government assistance when living in the country.

Educational Qualifications

To apply for the US Green Card Lottery, you must be able to show that you can support yourself in the US. In short, you must have an appropriate level of education to apply for entry-level jobs and/or enter further education.

In the US, this means a minimum of a high school-level diploma. Alternatively, you can have 5 years of work experience that required a minimum of 2 years of training. An extension of this is that you’re expected to have a basic level of English language ability, which should be a given if you’re filling out the lottery forms. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.

So, when asking yourself, is the Green Card Lottery right for you, consider your education and work experience. While you don’t need a high-level degree or specialist skills, proving you can support yourself is one of the main qualifications to apply for the US Green Card Lottery.

Criminal Record

It should probably come as no surprise that a criminal record could affect your chances of becoming a permanent resident in the US. That said, the severity of the crime is a big factor when it comes to applying for the Green Card Lottery.

First, you must have been convicted of the crime. In immigration law, this includes both being convicted in a court and admitting in a plea deal, even if you were told there wouldn’t be a record of the crime. For example, admitting to a drug-related crime and attending rehab as a result would count as a conviction.

There are a few different types of crime that could make you ineligible. The first is your country’s equivalent to an aggravated felony, which includes things like murder and tax fraud. Then there’s “crimes of moral turpitude”, which are generally the same. Finally, there are drug crimes, which are fairly self-explanatory.

Of course, different countries have different opinions of criminal severity, particularly for something like drug-related crime. Relatively minor offences, such as burglary or assault, likely won’t impact your eligibility. But if you do have a criminal record, it might be worth speaking to a lawyer before deciding whether or not to apply for the Green Card Lottery.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ll now be able to ask yourself, is the Green Card Lottery right for you? Remember, none of the things discussed above will necessarily make you ineligible, but it’s worth considering them in more detail before applying.

If you are still unsure, you should consult with a knowledgeable immigration professional who can answer your questions and determine your eligibility to apply for the US Green Card Lottery.

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