Green Card Lottery: Why the Department of State added passport as a requirement

Applicants who are selected in the program (selectees) must meet simple but strict eligibility requirements to qualify for a diversity visa. The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing. The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year


Applicants will now be required to have a valid passport to qualify for the Diversity Visa. The following are new requirements for the passport.

The passport number, country of issuance, and expiration date for the principal entrant’s valid, unexpired international travel passport. This requirement applies to the principal entrant only, not to dependents. You must enter valid international travel passport information unless you are stateless, a national of a Communist-controlled country and unable to obtain a passport from the government of the Communist-controlled country or the beneficiary of an individual waiver approved by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State.

The State Department explained recently in a document published in the Federal Register that the rule change is needed to curb the high number of fraudulent enrollments in the program, because sometimes fraudulent organizations submit entries for individuals without their consent, among other scams.

“We strongly encourage you to complete the entry form yourself, without a ‘visa consultant,’ ‘visa agent,’ or other facilitators who offer to help. If someone helps you, you should be present when your entry is prepared so you can provide the correct answers to the questions and retain the confirmation page and your unique confirmation number,” the department advised applicants.