The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs published its Visa Bulletin for September 2020, announcing the results for fiscal year 2021 of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which makes available up to 55,000 permanent resident visas, known as green cards, each year.

The 2021 visa lottery winners were drawn from random selection by computer from among 6,741,128 qualified entries from around the world — or 11,830,707 foreign nationals including family members or “derivatives” of principal applicants — received during the 35-day enrollment period last year, federal authorities said.

The number of applicants was substantially lower than last year’s DV-2020 diversity lottery, when the department received over 14 million qualified entries, or more than 23 million including family members.

That’s because fewer people were eligible to apply due to a program rule changed last year to curb fraudulent enrollments.

For the first time since the program was established 30 years ago to boost immigration to the United States from countries with historically low rates of immigration, this fiscal year foreigners were required to have a valid, unexpired passport, to be able to submit the entry form electronically. Previously, prospective immigrants didn’t need a valid passport to register for the drawing.

Diversity Visa Lottery 2021 results

According to the department, the immigrant visas — which allow immigrants to live and work legally and permanently in the United States — were distributed among six geographic regions “with a maximum of seven percent available to persons born in any single country.”

The department published in its latest bulletin this week the official statistical breakdown by country for fiscal year 2021.

Here are the 15 countries that most benefited from the program and the number of applicants selected:

Egypt — 6,002

Iran — 6,001

Russia — 6,001

Algeria — 6,001

Sudan — 6,001

Ukraine — 5,604

Uzbekistan — 5,319

Democratic Republic of Congo — 4,503

Morocco — 4,458

Albania — 3,962

Ethiopia — 3,957

Nepal — 3,801

Cameroon — 3,686

Ghana — 3,284

Turkey — 2,874

“Approximately 132,404 applicants have been registered and notified and may now make an application for an immigrant visa,” the bulletin explains.

“Since it is likely that some of the first 55,000 persons registered will not pursue their cases to visa issuance, this larger figure should insure that all DV-2021 numbers will be used.”

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Venezuela, Peru and Cuba won the most immigrant visas in the Americas

In the South American region, 5,501 foreign nationals are eligible to obtain legal permanent residence through the 2021 program, a 31.3% increase compared to the DV-2020 program, when 4,189 visas were apportioned in the region, according to the August 2019 Visa Bulletin.

This year, natives from Venezuela benefited the most, and 1,872 Venezuelan nationals were selected at random for a green card. It is an increase compared to last year, when 1,068 citizens of Venezuela won.

The second position in the breakdown by foreign state in South America is occupied by Peru, with 1,559 winners, followed by Cuba, also included in this region, with 1,235.

For Cuban nationals, this was a notable decrease compared to last year’s lottery, when the island’s participants totaled 2,703 lottery winners.

In fourth and fifth place in South America were Ecuador natives (246) and Argentina natives (191).

How to find out if you won the visa lottery

To check on whether you won the visa lottery, the following is required:

The confirmation number or code issued to you when you registered for the lottery

Your surnames, just as you wrote them when you registered

Your birth year, with all four digits

The authentication code indicated by the system

State Department officials stressed that the Entrant Status Check page on the internet is the only way the lottery winners are announced. No notification letters are sent out.

Green cards are only available to immigrants who fall under one of these categories

If you were selected for a U.S. green card

If you or a relative won the lottery, the next step is to submit an application for an immigrant visa using Form DS-260, and start to prepare for an interview in English.

But first, you have to confirm that you’re qualified. Overall, the winner must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, or two years’ work experience over the past five years in an eligible occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.

After the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) processes the Form DS-260, the visa winner and his or her relatives that will be allowed to migrate to the U.S. will receive instructions on how to scan and upload the required supporting documentation, including birth certificates, court and prison records, military records and police certificates.

Also on September’s bulletin, the foreign policy agency noted that the registration period for the 2022 Diversity Visa Program “will be publicized in the coming months.”

Daniel Shoer Roth is a journalist covering immigration law who does not offer legal advice or individual assistance to applicants. Follow him on Twitter @DanielShoerRoth or Instagram. The contents of this story do not constitute legal advice.

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