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Are you eligible for the green card lottery?

The government of the United States offers several ways for you to apply for permanent resident status, or a green card. If getting a green card is a goal of yours, you are probably eager to get started, but you should know that the process is long and complicated.

Some of the quickest ways to obtain a green card involve having special qualifications. For example, you may have immediate relatives who are already lawful residents in the U.S. You may have an employer in Georgia who is holding job for you. You may have skills that are in demand in the U.S or have considerable money to invest in a business. If none of these apply to you, you may be able to enter the green card lottery.

How can I qualify?

Once a year in May, the U.S. State Department makes 50,000 green cards available to residents of certain countries around the world. The countries are typically ones that are underrepresented in the U.S. immigration system. For example, if you are seeking to emigrate from the United Kingdom, Mexico or Canada, the lottery is not the route for you. However, there are exceptions, such as if your spouse was born in a country that is on the eligible list.

After determining if you come from a qualifying country, you must meet other eligibility requirements including these:

  • Completing high school with a course of study similar to those offered in the U.S. educational system
  • Working for at least two of the last five years
  • Working in an occupation that requires a minimum of two years of training and meets the job requirements listed on the U.S. Department of Labor's website
  • Having no criminal record or other issues that would disqualify you as an immigrant to the U.S.

The application period is a short window of time in the fall of each year, but it does not hurt to begin your preparations as early as possible. Since there are limited green cards available, you do not want to rush your application and risk making a mistake that would disqualify you.

Working toward a bright future

Obtaining a green card through the lottery allows you to bring your immediate family with you to the U.S. You will have the opportunity to seek work and obtain an education, and you will have the protection of laws governing those with lawful status in the country. To improve your chances of a successful application for the green card lottery, you can enlist the help of a skilled immigration attorney.

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