Millions of individuals from around the world participate in the annual US Diversity Visa program (popularly known as the green card lottery). With that many people hoping for a chance to be among the 50,000 that are selected each year to receive permanent residency in the United States, there are companies and individuals that deceive participants into believing they have a better chance at winning if they apply through them.
The US States Department, the department that runs the Diversity Visa program, warns participants to be aware of scammers. The State Department warns of some common ways participants are scammed each year:
- Being charged money to enter the green card lottery: The Diversity Visa program is free of charge to enter. There is no fee charged to enter the lottery. The government says that even if a company charges you to enter the lottery, they will follow the same procedure you would have followed had you submitted the entry yourself.
- Companies that claim to offer better chances of winning: The lottery drawing is completely random, and here is no way to increase your chances of winning. Everyone who fills up the online form correctly and provides all the required information has the same chance of winning as everyone else. Anyone who promises to improve your chances of winning is deceiving you, warns the government.
- People who claim to be “agents” or “visa consultants”: The US government says it does not employ any outside consultants to operate the Diversity Visa program, and warns anyone who employs the services of these “agents” or “visa consultants” to do so at their own risk. The State Department encourages everyone to submit their own entries and get their own confirmation numbers that they will later need to check if they won.
- Fake websites: The government wants of fake websites that deceive participants into believing they are submitting their entries for the DV program. The government says that any website that does not have a “.gov” suffix is not an official U.S. government website. Diversity Visa program entries are only accepted at dvlottery.state.gov.
- Receiving a message saying you won the lottery: The State Department says it does not send emails or any other kind of message to inform participants that they won the lottery. The only way to check if you won is, using the confirmation number you received when you submitted your entry, check on the dvlottery.state.gov when the results become available. This usually happens around May the year following when the registration period closes.
The next registration period for the Diversity Visa program (DV-2021) opens Wednesday, October 2nd and runs through November 5th, 2019.