The diversity visa program (the lottery) is a U.S. Department of State program that selects approximately 50,000 individuals to apply for a U.S. visa on a random, yearly basis. Individuals must qualify to enter the lottery based on educational and other criteria. Selected individuals are subject to security screening. Visas are allocated based on global region, with no more than 7% of total visas allotted to each individual region. National allocation of visas within each region are based on previous immigration trends—with higher allocations going to countries with historically lower levels of immigration to the United States in the preceding five-year period.
[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]