Fewer Poles Win Visa Lottery, and Even Fewer Immigrate to US

(Image via Wikipedia)

(Image via Wikipedia)

Each year the number of Poles who get lucky in the Diversity Visa Lottery dwindles. This year applications of only 629 Polish nationals were drawn in the DV-2016 lottery.

The number of Polish winners in DV lotteries has been declining regularly ever since Poland was readmitted into the program. In DV-2013 2,028 Poles were given a chance to get a green card, in DV-2014 – 1,552, and in DV-2015 – only 961.

What’s more, many of the winners did not use the chance the lottery gave them. Only 829 Polish nationals picked up their immigration documents from the 2013 lottery and decided to come to the U.S., and a year later, out of the 1,552 who won the chance at a green card in the 2014 lottery, only 500 immigrated to the U.S. In the DV-2015 lottery the immigration documents will be distributed through Sept. 30 so it is still not known how many Polish nationals whose entries were drawn in the lottery decide to settle in the U.S.

In the most recent lottery, some 11.4 million from all over the world filed their entries last fall – two million more than in previous years. The State Department drew 90,000 applications and will grant 50,000 visas (a portion of winners each year decides not to complete the process and settle in the U.S., which is why the number of entries drawn is higher than available visas).

The numbers in the lottery indicate both the demographic potential of a given country as well as the level of interest in immigrating to the U.S.

The Department of State says that the number of entries from Polish nationals is not available yet for the current lottery DV-2016. However judging from the declining numbers in previous years, it may be even lower than in DV-2014 when some 40,000 Poles sent their applications (77,000 including family members), and in DV-2015 – 34,800 (66,600 with family members).

When it comes to European nations, Ukrainians lead the way with 4,507 applications drawn, followed by Uzbeks (4,300), Russians (2,200), Albanians (1,931), Moldavians (1,854), Turks (1,795), Bulgarians (855) and Belarusians (811). In recent times, some 1.2 million Ukrainians each year have expressed interest in emigrating to the U.S.

However, according to the lottery rules, which aim at diversifying ethnic immigration to the U.S., nationals of one country cannot receive more than 7 percent (that is 3,500) of the overall number of visas. Entrants in the DV lottery have to have a clean record and at least a high school diploma.

The distribution of DV-2016 immigration documents will begin on Oct. 1, 2015.


  1. How does the lottery work? You said that nationals of one country can receive maximum of 7% (3500) visas, but Ukrainians lead with 4500 applications drawn.

    The less applicants of the specific country the less proportionally is chosen? Can you explain how does it work?

  2. 90000 visas drawn, 50000 awarded – similarly 4500 Ukrainians drawn, 3500 accepted.

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