Can Non-US Residents Play to Win the Lottery?
Are you eligible to win the lottery if you don’t live in the US?
Have you ever wondered who’s eligible to play the lottery in the United States?
Here are some common questions about buying lottery tickets:
- Can you buy tickets if you aren’t a US resident, but want to win one of those huge lottery jackpots?
- Can you buy US lottery tickets if you’re a citizen or a resident of a foreign country?
- Can you cross state lines to buy lottery tickets?
- What if you don’t have legal permission to be in the United States? Will you be able to claim the prize money if you win?
Here’s everything you need to know about who can and can’t play the lottery in the United States.
Who Can Play Mega Millions, Powerball, and Other US Lotteries?
You can buy US lottery tickets, win the Powerball and the Mega Millions lotteries, and collect your jackpot no matter what your US residence status is.
While there is an age restriction (you have to be at least 18 to play), adults can buy tickets in any state which offers the lottery even if you’re not a United States citizen, if you don’t live in the state selling the ticket, or even if you don’t live in the country at all.
Of course, since non-US residents are eligible to buy the tickets, they’re also eligible to claim the prize money should they win.
However, be aware that where you live will affect what happens when you win. For example, different states have different rules about whether lottery winners can remain anonymous.
Countries outside of the United States have different laws about how lottery prizes are taxed and how much money must be withheld from your winnings. If you do win, be sure to consult with a tax professional for more information.
If you’re trying to enter a lottery other than the Powerball or Mega-Millions games, check the rules before you enter for eligibility information.
Can you Buy US Lottery Tickets from Outside of the United States?
While non-US residents can enter and win the lottery, there’s a caveat: You have to actually be in the country to legally buy US lottery tickets. It’s illegal to buy lottery tickets over the internet or by mail — with some rare exceptions, such as a lottery app run by a company that sends an employee to physically buy tickets for its customers.
This’s important to keep in mind because many lottery scams trick people into believing that they’ve won lotteries from foreign countries. You can only win a foreign lottery if you bought a ticket while you were in that country. If you didn’t, you can throw those scam win notices away.
There are also scam websites that will take your money and promise to buy lottery tickets for you. Approach these sites with caution and be sure to check the company out carefully before handing over any money. Doing an internet search for the company’s name together with the word “scam” is a good first step.
Can an Undocumented Alien Win a US Lottery?
Because there are no residency restrictions about who can enter US lotteries, illegal immigrants can buy tickets and can claim their winnings. However, claiming the lottery winnings might make an illegal immigrant feel vulnerable to deportation.
For example, in 2011 Jose Antonio Cua-Toc won a $750,000 lottery and was afraid to claim it because he didn’t have a legal residency status. When he asked his boss to claim it for him, the boss took the money for himself.
However, winning the lottery might smooth the road to a green card. If you’re an undocumented immigrant and you have a winning lottery ticket, you should consult a legal professional before claiming your prize.
Can Felons Win Lottery Jackpots in the United States?
Rules vary from state to state, but in most cases, felons can legally buy lottery tickets and win jackpots.
In December of 2014, a story broke about Timothy Poole, a sex offender who won over $2 million in the Florida Super Millions scratch-off lottery.
Poole was convicted in 1999 of sexually battering a nine-year-old boy who was a friend of his family. Poole pleaded innocent but took a plea bargain, which included over a year in jail and registration as a sex offender.
The Florida lottery doesn’t have any restrictions regarding the criminal background of the entrants, which means that Poole received a lump sum of $2,219,807.90.
Many people were horrified to think that a sex offender could receive such an enormous prize. On the article linked above, Toni Tommas commented that it “Almost makes me question the existence of God.”
While some people think it’s wrong that murderers and sex offenders can win millions from the state, others find it would be unfair to prevent someone from playing the lottery after they’ve paid for their crime and served their time.
There is a bright side to a felon winning a lottery jackpot, however; It might give the victims a way to be compensated for damages or restitution in a civil trial. It’s hard for a felon to claim he or she can’t pay when they have publicly won a lottery jackpot.Who is eligible to buy US lottery tickets? Can a non-US resident claim a Powerball or MegaMillions lottery? What about illegal immigrants?
Get an answer to your DV Lottery question
What is the Green Card?
A green card, which is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), lets you live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. There are many ways to get Green Card, including through family, employment or status as a refugee or asylee, not everyone qualifies, and one of them is the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program (popularly known as the green card lottery).
What is the Diversity Lottery? How it works?
Every year the DV program issues around 50000 immigrant visas, based on the results of a random drawing. The visas are apportioned among countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.
When the DV Lottery starts?
The online registration period for the DV Program typically runs between October 1 and November 3 each year. The sign-up period for the DV-2022 green card lottery will likely begin in October 2020. The U.S. Department of State has not yet released registration information regarding this year’s lottery.
You should register as early as possible once it opens, because quantity of visas for each country is limited.
Why the lottery called DV-2022 starts in 2020?
Applications will accepted in October-November 2020, but results of lottery will be published in May 2021 and visa processing and issuance will be only in 2022.
Will DV-2022 be held in 2020?
Yes. Though Covid-19 pandemic affects everything, the Lottery still be held in 2020. See more information at http://dvlottery.me/blog/1300-when_dv_lottery_covid .
How many visas will be issued in DV-2022? How many people will become winners?
There is still no information from the U.S. State Department, but by law, a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) are available each year. Typically around 110,000 individuals will be selected at first as the winners of the Lottery, and then about a half of them will not get the visa for some reason and eventually there will be around 55,000 visas issued.
How many DV-2022 visas be issued for each region and eligible country?
The number of visas that are issued to natives of each country depends on the regional limits established, how many entrants come from each country, and how many of the selected entrants are found eligible for the visa. No more than 7% of the total visas available can go to natives of any single country.
Where I can fill the form for participating on Diversity Lottery?
Applications are accepted only on the official website of the US Department of State: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov. Other services are intermediaries who fill in the form on behalf of you, and use of their services is discouraged by the USCIS.
What is my chance to win?
Chances to win a Green Card in DV Lottery are much higher than to win a million in a usual lottery. You can find the percentage of winning for each country at http://dvlottery.me/win-chances-green-card-lottery
What is the most important in the lottery form?
First of all remember: don’t lie, write only the truth. Use English letters only.
Сountry of eligibility.
Pay attention to the country of eligibility: you need to select exactly the country of birth, not residence.
Make the right photo.
Lots of participants fail at providing a correct photo. USCIS automatically disqualify applications which have photos not meeting requirements. There are many requirements and conditions from the background to the head size. So you can use special services like https://visafoto.com/diversity-visa-lottery-photo
What else can I do to win?
Each adult member of your family (spouse, adult children, parents) should participate at the lottery as the main entrant (providing all other family members like spouse or children as derivatives).
Is there an age requirement for the Green Card Lottery?
There is no minimum age for apply, but because of requirement of a high school education it will effectively disqualify most person who under the age of 18 years.
What level of English should I have?
In order to be eligible participants do not have to have any special language skills.
Can I enter the DV program if I live in the US?
Yes, an entrant may apply in this program all over the world including the United States.
Can I take a part if I already have a US visa?
Yes, you can take part in the DV lottery if you already have any type of visa.
I’m already registered for an immigrant visa in another category. Can I still apply for the DV program?
Will US government help me to settle in the USA? Will it pay transport or other fees?
No, you should do that on your own.
Can I list a boyfriend or girlfriend as spouse?
No, you can include only legal spouse to your application as a derivative.
Is there any fee for the DV lottery?
There is no fee for entering, but if you were selected you need to pay about $215 for medical examination and $330 for the interview per person.
Also you will pay immigrant application visa fees in person only at the U.S. embassy or consulate at the time of the visa application. Do not send money for the DV fee to anyone through the mail, Western Union, or any other money transfer service.
If I apply for the DV, but don’t qualify to receive one, can I get a refund of the visa fees I paid?
No. Visa application fees cannot be refunded. If a consular officer determines you do not meet any requirements for the visa, or you are otherwise ineligible for the DV under U.S. law, the officer cannot issue a visa and you will forfeit all fees paid.
Who can participate in the official Green Card Lottery Program (DV-2022)?
There are only two criteria you must meet. First one: your country of birth (or spouse’s or parent’s country) must be in list of eligible countries. Second one: you must have at least a high school education or have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.
What family members must I include on my entry for Green Card Lottery?
You must list your current spouse (wife or husband) even if you are currently separated from him/her and all unmarried children under 21 years of age.
How many applications can I submit?
Only one during each year, but spouses can submit separate entries.
How much times can I take a part in Diversity Lottery?
You can try to win every year, but only one application in one year.
Can I fill the form from mobile phone?
How much time do I have for filling the form?
You have 30 minutes to complete the form. If you exceed the 30-minute limit and have not submitted your application, the system discards any information already entered. So the best thing is that you train at https://dvlottery.me/ds-5501-edv-form online before the lottery, and have all your form data ready before you really start filling in the actual form at the official website.
Is it possible to download and save the DV Lottery form into a word processing program and finish it later?
No, you can fill the form online only. But you can use https://dvlottery.me/ds-5501-edv-form for this purpose.
Can I save the form online and finish it later?
No, it’s impossible. We highly recommend to read the all DV instructions completely before you start to fill the form online. However you can use https://dvlottery.me/ds-5501-edv-form for this.
If the system rejects my entry, can I re-submit my entry?
Yes, you can re-submit your entry before the ending of lottery. You can try to submit an application as many times as is necessary until a complete application is received and the confirmation notice sent. Once you receive a confirmation notice, your entry is complete, and you should not submit any additional entries.
How soon after I submit my entry will I receive the electronic confirmation notice?
You should receive the confirmation notice immediately, including a confirmation code, but sometimes delays happen. You can hit the “Submit” button as many times as is necessary until a complete application is sent and you receive the confirmation notice.
I didn’t receive a confirmation number after clicking the “Submit“ button. What should I do?
f you did not receive a confirmation number, your entry was not recorded. You must submit another entry. It will not be counted as a duplicate.
If I was selected, can I take my family with me?
Through DV lottery program, only spouse and children can go with you. For other relatives you can apply for a family reunion visa later. But it will take much time.
Can I take a part in the DV Lottery if I have a conviction?
There is no restriction for people who were convicted, but remember that the decision about visa issuance depends on a US consulate.
Is it true that the DV Lottery is only for young people who have just finished university?
No, it’s not. Everybody can be a part of the lottery and winners are randomly selected by the US Dept of State.
Do I have to have a job in the USA already, relatives there or enough money?
For participation in the DV Lottery you don’t need a job or job offer in the US, you don’t need to have relatives in the USA, you don’t need any specific amount of money.
How will I know about winning? How to check my USA Green Card Lottery results? Will I get a notification?
Do not wait until the US Department of State will contact you by email or telephone about you being selected. Check your result by yourself through the Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website http://dvlottery.state.gov/ using your confirmation number. It is the only way to find out. Information will be published around May 2020.
Will I receive information from the Department of State by email or by postal mail?
The U.S. government never send emails to notify individuals they have been selected, and there are no plans to use email for this purpose for the DV-2022 program. The Department of State will never ask you to send money by mail or by services such as Western Union.
When the results will be available?
You can find out if you are a lottery winner in May 2020 by going to the DV Entrant Status Check page online at http://dvlottery.state.gov. Information will be available till the end of September 2021.
What if I lose my confirmation number? How to retrieve my lost confirmation number for DV Lottery?
A tool is now available in the Entrant Status Check page of the E-DV website that will allow you to retrieve your confirmation number via the email address with which you registered by entering certain personal information to confirm your identity.
There are no other ways to check your status or provide your confirmation number. U.S. embassies and consulates and the Kentucky Consular Center are unable to do this. The Department of State is not able to provide a list of those selected to continue the visa process.
How successful entrants are selected?
Winners will be randomly selected by the US Dept of State.
What should I do when I win?
Winning the green card lottery does not result in your automatically getting a green card. If you are lucky enough to win, all it means is that you have won the opportunity to apply for a green card. So you should check your confirmation number on the official web-site of DV Program http://dvlottery.state.gov/ and if you have won, you will be directed from there to a confirmation page with further instructions.
Pay attention during filling the lottery form, because if you are selected you will need to fill in the DS-260 immigrant visa form exactly with the same information as the lottery form. That’s why we recommend to not use anyone who helps in completing the lottery form. Do not use any intermediaries or third party services to fill in the DV lottery application for you. It’s better to apply on your own. We recommend using https://visafoto.com/diversity-visa-lottery-photo to fill in and then save and print your DV lottery form before your fill in the actual form so you have remembered all your submission data, so then you can use the same data on the DS-260 immigrant visa form.
How soon should I apply for an immigrant visa after winning?
In case of winning in the DV-2022 program, you are entitled to apply for a visa only during U.S. government fiscal year 2022, which is from October 1, 2021, through September 30, 2022. It is recommended to do this as soon as possible.
In case of a successful interview at a consulate you’ll get a visa for 6 months, and if you don’t move to USA during this time your visa will be annulled and it’s impossible to recover it.
When I get a Green Card?
At first you will be issued an immigration visa and you can get the Green Card after moving to the USA.
Are you obliged to move to the USA if you won the lottery?
No, the decision of immigration is up to you.
I won the Diversity Lottery earlier but decided do not move. Can I take a part in lottery again?
Yes, you can. But there can be doubts about your immigration intentions and the decision to issue a visa depends on a US consulate. In this case chances to get a visa are not high.
It is highly recommended that you have a valid passport issued by your country before you participate in the DV lottery. So if you have no valid passport, you should get one before you fill in the lottery form.
Your should write your name in English letters exactly as in your passport.
Be careful with the middle name. If your last name is double (it has 2 parts), you should list all parts to “Last/Family Name” field. If you one part of it will put as a middle name, then you will be disqualified.
If you don’t have no first or middle name it can be omitted by checking the “No name” box.
If in your name you have some letters with “crotchets” just change them to similar English letters. For example “ä” can be change to english “a”, “ö” to “o”, “ñ” to “n”, etc.
My name has different spelling in the birth certificate and in my passport. What name should I use?
You should write your name exactly as in your passport in English letters. Spelling of your name on ID card, Birth certificate and other documents does not matter. This is stated in the instruction provided by the US Department of State: https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Diversity-Visa/DV-Instructions-Translations/DV-2018-Instructions-Translations/DV-2018%20Instructions%20English.pdf
There are pictures of man and woman for additional help near the radio buttons.
3. Birth Date
Pay attention to the order of elements. It is the american date order, so first you should put the month (not day), then the day and the last one is the year.
4. City Where You Were Born
Use city or town which is specified in your birth certificate or passport.
What if the current name of the city and name in the passport are different?
You should take the name of city from your passport.
5. Country Where You Were Born
Specify the present day name of the country even if it was renamed or got independence. Also it is not a country of your residence or citizenship, it is the country of your birth.
6. Country of Eligibility for the DV Program
Instead of your birth country you can choose the country of birth of your spouse or parents. If your country is ineligible or has lower chance to win than that country, then you can select that country.
Here is a list of countries whose natives are eligible for DV-2020:
Central African Republic
Congo Democratic Republic of the Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Sao Tome and Principe
* Persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region**
United Arab Emirates
*Persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.
**Hong Kong S.A.R. (Asia region), Macau S.A.R. (Europe region, chargeable to Portugal), and Taiwan (Asia region) do qualify and are listed here. For the purposes of the diversity program only, persons born in Macau S.A.R. derive eligibility from Portugal.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Cyprus Czech Republic
Denmark (including components and dependent areas overseas)
France (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Macau Special Administrative Region**
Netherlands (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Norway (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Portugal (including components and dependent areas overseas)
** Macau S.A.R. does qualify and is listed above and for the purposes of the diversity program only; persons born in Macau S.A.R. derive eligibility from Portugal.
***For purposes of the diversity program only, Northern Ireland is treated separately. Northern Ireland does qualify and is listed among the qualifying areas.
Australia (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Micronesia Federated States of Nauru
New Zealand (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Papua New Guinea
SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Suriname Trinidad and Tobago
Here is a list of countries whose natives are not eligible for DV-2019:
Great Britain (United Kingdom) includes the following dependent areas: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St. Helena, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN
I live in a disputed territory (Crimea, for example), what I should use as a country of eligibility?
You can call any American Consulate/Embassy and ask them.
Can I take part in the Diversity Lottery (DV-2022) if I was born in a country which is not in the list of eligible countries?
If your spouse or parents were born in an eligible country, you may use that country as your eligible country.
7. Entrant Photograph
Your photo digital image must be:
Square, 600×600 pixels in size
In JPEG (.jpg) file format
No more than 240 KB (kilobytes) in file size
Head size is between 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
Eyes are located between 56% to 69% from the bottom of the photo
Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
Glasses are not allowed
With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily
Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose
Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face
Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo
If you normally wear a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo.
All official requirements are listed here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/photos.html
You can get your photo that meets all requirements and technical specification in 2 seconds by Visafoto at https://visafoto.com/diversity-visa-lottery-photo. To make it correctly, please follow this guide: https://visafoto.com/en/guide
Why it is very important to check if my photo is correct
This is because your lottery application will be rejected later if your photo is incorrect, but when you upload a photo to the DV lottery form, it accepts any photo, incorrect or correct, without any feedback. If you upload a photo of incorrect size or a photo of a car instead of a photo of yourself, there will be no error message and your photo will be accepted no matter what. So when you submit your application there is no way to know if your photo is correct or not. But later all applications with incorrect photos will be disqualified. Thus it is very important to know if your photo is correct before you fill in the Green card application form.
Where can I verify if my DV lottery photo is correct?
You can use service at https://dvlottery.me/dv-lottery-photo-checker , it does full verification. The Photo Tool on the US Department of State website doesn’t take eyes or background into consideration and does not work on most phones, tablets and some laptops, and thus does not do the job properly; you can see more information about why the Photo Tool is not fully fit at https://visafoto.com/en/us_photo_tool .
8. Mailing Address
Remember that your mailing address should be clear enough for the international mail service.
“In care of” in the mailing address is the name of the receiver. Address line 2 field can be blank if your address fully fits within the line 1. If you do not know your postal code, you can get it in your post office.
How to spell the address.
If you don’t know how to spell your address in English correctly use the Google Maps: select English language and copy the address to the lottery form.
Here is instruction:
9. Country Where You Live Today
It is not country of your citizenship or origin, it is country of your actual residence. Select it from the list.
What if I move after the filling form?
You can move, it doesn’t matter, you should fill in your current location at the moment of filling the form.
10. Phone Number
Remember that your telephone number should be in the international format. They should be able to call it from the USA.
11. E-mail Address
lease enter your own email address. Not address of someone else or email of company where you are employed.
12. What is the highest level of education you have achieved, as of today?
In order to be eligible to enter to Diversity Visa Lottery, you must have at least a high school education or have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.
You must have documentary proof of education or work experience: diploma or any certificates.
It is my final year in college (degree). What should I write about my educational level?
In the DV lottery form you are required to tell your education level on the day of filling application. So levels “High School, no degree” or “Some University Courses” are suitable for you.
Which occupations qualify for the Diversity Visa Program (eDV)?
The Department of Labor (DOL) O*Net Online database groups job experience into five job zones. While many occupations are listed on the DOL Website, only certain specified occupations qualify for the Diversity Visa Program. To qualify for a Diversity Visa on the basis of your work experience, you must, within the past five years, have two years of experience in an occupation that is designated as Job Zone 4 or 5, classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) range of 7.0 or higher.
How To Find the Qualifying Occupations on the Department of Labor?
Qualifying DV Occupations are shown on the Department of Labor O*Net Online Database https://www.onetonline.org/
Follow these steps to find out if your occupation qualifies:
Click to “Find Occupations“
In the “Job Family” section select your profession from the dropdown (for example, select Business and Financial Operations) and click “Go“
Then click on the link for your specific occupation. (For example, select Credit Analysts)
Find a SVP Range in the Job Zone section. It must be 7.0 or higher to qualify for the DV Lottery. So in this example Credit Analyst qualifies.
13. What is your current marital status?
Remember that legally separated is a different status than divorced. Legal separation is a status when divorce is not finished yet but couple live apart, following a court order. Many countries do not have such status. If you are divorced, but you will choose legal separation, you will be disqualified.
If you are not legally separated, you must include your spouse even if you plan to be divorced before you apply for the Diversity Visa. Failure to list your eligible spouse is grounds for disqualification.
If your spouse is a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, do not list him/her in your entry.
What if I’m not married right now, but I’m going to do it later?
You should fill in your current marital status for the moment of filling the form.
14. Number of Children
You must list all your children who are unmarried and under 21 years old. Include all your biological, step children or legally adopted children. If you do not do that, you will be disqualified. If your children are citizens of the United States, do not list them in your entry.
My children under 21 years but they are living separately. Should I list them?
Yes, list all children under 21 years of age, even if they no longer reside with you or you do not intend for them to immigrate under the DV program.
15. Part 2 – Derivatives
You should fill form with information about your spouse and children: Last/Family Name, First Name, Middle Name, Birth Date, Gender, City Where Spouse/Child Was Born. Also upload photo of your spouse/children. There are the same rules.
If I fill the form with my spouse’s information does it mean that he/she also takes part in the DV Lottery and has a chance to win?
No, you spouse should fill his/her own form to count as a separate participant to increase the chance to win (and should include you as a derivative in this case).
What if I am pregnant now?
If you are the winner you’ll just add your child’s information to your visa application later.
Do I need to upload a photo of a little baby?
Yes, if you do not provide a photo of any family member, your application will not be accepted by the USCIS. We recommend using https://visafoto.com/diversity-visa-lottery-photo for baby’s photo.
What should I do if I cannot to get a photo of my child?
Unfortunately then you cannot take a part in DV Lottery.
How do I save the confirmation number?
The confirmation number is very important, so after submitting the lottery form you need to copy the confirmation number and then paste it into an email message and send this message to yourself with the subject of DV Lottery confirmation number. Also make a screenshot of the screen with the confirmation number and save this screenshot in a safe place (like Google Drive, Dropbox, your flash drive, etc). Also you can save the number in Notes on your phone, can write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in a safe place.What do you need to do before and after the Green card lottery, how do you fill in the DV lottery form, what do you do if you win the lottery, what are the possible costs, how to increase your chances to win, and more ]]>