The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State to provide for a new class of immigrants known as diversity immigrants (DV immigrants).
Up to 50,000 permanent resident visas are given out annually to persons from countries with low immigration rates to the United States.
The annual DV program makes permanent residence visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements.
Applicants for Diversity Visas are chosen by a computer-generated random lottery drawing.
The visas are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to citizens of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years.
Within each region, no one country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas in any one year.