From Armenia to US: Green Card Application Statistics

By Hovhannes Nazareyan

Aztag, the publication of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) in Lebanon, published a piece last week on US Green Card applications from Armenia. The author claimed that the 160,000 Armenians who applied for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program), popularly known as the US Green Card lottery, each paid $325 for the application in 2019, amounting to a total of more than $52 million.

#CivilNetCheck found that 160,000 Armenians had, in fact, applied. The data is released by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. Interestingly, the 160,000 applications made in the fall of 2019 (for the 2021 program) was the lowest since 2014. The peak of Armenian applicants was in 2016, when the figure stood at 267,000. The figures for applications in 2020 and 2021 still have not been made public.

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The Bureau of Consular Affairs has also released statistics on the number of selected entrants between 2011 and 2018. In those years, the number of Armenians selected for the program has fluctuated between around 1,000 and 3,000. The data for 2020 and 2021 has not been made public yet.

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However, the amount of fees supposedly paid by Armenian applicants is baseless. #CivilNetCheck’s investigation revealed that there are no fees for applying to the program. This is explicitly stated in the instructions on how to apply on the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Fees are only paid by a small minority of applicants selected for interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The Diversity Visa fee is currently $330 per person and is nonrefundable, whether a visa is issued or not.

Another fee, called the USCIS Immigrant Fee ($220), is paid to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after receiving an immigrant visa and before traveling to the United States.