Daily Digit: Applications for the U.S. visa lottery remain near record high

Daily Digit is the story behind the numbers that make our world work. Today we’re looking at the U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. More than 22.4 million people applied to the U.S. visa diversity lottery program in 2017, which awards green cards to 50,000 people every year. This nearly matches 2016’s record of 23 million applicants, despite the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate the system. In 2016, at least eight countries had over 1 million applicants. The program only accepts citizens from countries that haven’t had more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the last five years. This means citizens of Mexico, Canada, China and India are ineligible for the diversity visa lottery. Visa recipients go through background, security and health checks, as well as rigorous interviews. If selected, they are given permanent resident status and the ability to pursue the American dream.