Which countries cannot participate in the visa lottery and why?
(CNN Spanish) — The United States this week opened registration for the 2025 visa lottery, also known as the “Green Card Lottery.” It is a mechanism by which the US government allows approximately 55,000 people each year to obtain documents to legally reside in the country.
Potential beneficiaries of this program are people from countries with low immigration to the United States. As the Department of State puts it on its official website, it aims to support “diverse immigrants.” Although people are randomly selected for visas, they all must meet the same safety and eligibility requirements that all immigrants must meet to receive their visas.
Entries must be made through the Department of State website dvprogram.state.gov.
Instead, there is a list of countries whose citizens cannot participate in the lottery. According to a formula established by law, countries with more than 50,000 native-born immigrants to the United States in the past five years are ineligible.
Those countries are:
China (including Hong Kong)
United Kingdom (except for citizens of Northern Ireland and its territories)
There are no additional changes to FY2024 eligibility, except for the United Kingdom and its territories, which are now eligible for the scheme.