Green Card Lottery program provides 50,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) each fiscal year. Persons are drawn from the randomly selected entries from the persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. It is officially called the Diversity Immigrant Visa program and provides the U.S. green card to those selected and who go through the entire process of getting the immigrant visa and are not otherwise ineligible to immigrate to the U.S.
Green card lottery is conducted annually by the Dept. of States under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 to provide for a new class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants”.
The law makes a maximum of 50,000 permanent resident visas each year to eligible persons as part of the DV lottery program.
As the name of the program applies, Diversity Lottery program is intended to give an immigration opportunity to the persons from the countries that do not send too many people to the United States already. That would make the immigration population diverse in the U.S. That is a good intention in theory. However, if the particular country has only 30,000 total population or a 5 mile long island, they are considered the same way as the big countries like India or China that have over a billion people each, that is somewhat unfair to the people of those big and populous countries. Well, that is how the law is.
Some people argue that it is unfair that 50,000 random people from different parts of the world are picked up and are given the permanent residence in the U.S. Many of those people may not be well educated or skilled workers. However, highly skilled workers who come to the U.S. on an H1 visa have to wait many many years and go through a very complicated procedure without any clear path to the green card. Some people think that it is not a fair U.S. immigration system.