Cubans won 2,703 visas in the latest U.S. visa lottery, outpacing all but 10 countries, State Department figures show.
Applicants in Egypt obtained the highest number of visas, with 5,568, followed by Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Nepal, Sudan, Albania, Ukraine, Algeria and Turkey. See visa winners by country.
The federal government awards up to 55,000 visas per year to people in countries that have low rates of immigration to the U.S.
Consular officials have notified 83,884 lottery applicants that they may now apply for visas. That’s larger than the 55,000 limit per year because officials don’t expect everyone to pursue a visa. An August 2019 State Department bulletin shows a breakdown by country of 82,300 of the applicants. The document omits the remaining 1,584 applicants.
U.S. officials say they selected the visa lottery winners at random from 14,722,798 qualified entries. Applicants had a 1-in-175 chance of being selected based on 83,884 applicants.
The 34-day application period ran from Oct. 3 to Nov. 6, 2018. The visa bulletin states:
During the visa interview, principal applicants must provide proof of a high school education or its equivalent, or show two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience within the past five years. Those selected will need to act on their immigrant visa applications quickly. Applicants should follow the instructions in their notification letter and must fully complete the information requested.
The State Department says people in the following countries are not eligible to participate in the lottery: “Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.”
Dates for next fiscal year’s visa lottery are expected to be announced on the State Department’s visa website in the coming months.