Get a Green Card in just a few steps

The Green Card Lottery has successfully taken place every year since 1994 and each year many participants get closer to making their American dream come true. Below you will find a more detailed description of the Green Card application process from the time you apply for the Green Card Lottery to the point when you move to the USA.

The American Dream Green Card winners at Rockefeller Center in New York City

Green Card winners from The American Dream at Rockefeller Center, New York in August 2007.


With a little bit of luck, you might just become one of the more than 19,000 The American Dream winners!

We are keeping our fingers crossed that your name is drawn in the next lottery and your dream of living and working in the USA will come true. From the Green Card Lottery application, all the way to getting your Green Card – your future path could look like this:

1.  Applying for the Green Card Lottery

You can apply for the Green Card Lottery year-round with The American Dream either online or per post. All applications are then submitted to the US authorities, generally between October and November every year. In these four weeks, people from around the world can apply for the Green Card Lottery through the portal provided by the US authorities.

All year, we take the time to process your Green Card application personally and individually. We will get in contact with you if we have any questions and make corrections before submitting your application electronically and on time to the US authorities. This way, you will not risk being disqualified because of a formal application error.

You will receive an official participation certificate from us in the mail as a confirmation that your application has been successfully submitted to the US authorities. This participation certificate will also be electronically uploaded into your personal customer account.  

Picture of a The American Dream Participation Certificate

2.    The Green Card Lottery drawing

In May or June of the following year, about seven months after submitting all the applications, the US government announces the winners of the Green Card Lottery. Winners are randomly selected by the US authorities. Those who participated in the lottery with The American Dream will receive a written notification of their own personal results.

Participants will be personally informed if they won the Green Card Lottery or not. You should stick to your dreams no matter the result and continuing trying your luck. Thousands of satisfied winners have spoken out and are the living proof that it is possible to make your American dream come true – you just cannot give up!  

3.  Delivery of your winner documents

If you are one of the lucky winners, we will confirm the status of your win by mailing you a confirmation certificate, the original notification from the U.S. State Department and our winner documents.

Picture of an orginial letter from the Kentucky Consular Center KCC

Furthermore, you will receive our 56-page winner’s guide carefully complied by our Green Card experts. This guide details the entire Green Card application process including instructions on how to complete the DS-260 online form. Do not hesitate to contact The American Dream by phone, e-mail or personally any time of day if you have questions.

Additionally, Green Card winners will have access to our exclusive winners’ forum and be able to learn from the experiences shared by former Green Card winners. With more than 48,500 posts from The American Dream winners, you will be more than prepared to successfully emigrate to the USA and live the American dream! 

4.    Applying for the Green Card

The Green Card application must be completed and submitted online. The online form is the so-called DS-260 and requires that the applicant enter many details concerning their personal life including work and education. After you win, we recommend completing and submitting this online form for yourself and every member of your family within a few weeks to officially apply for a Green Card.

As soon as the responsible US authority, Kentucky Consular Center (KCC), receives your application, it will be processed. Depending on the service you booked with The American Dream, our Green Card experts will undertake most of the application work and guide you through every step of the process until you have your Green Card. 

5.    US consulate invitation

After submitting your online DS-260 form, you will receive an invitation to attend an interview at a US consulate. When your interview will be scheduled depends on your case number and on how early you submitted your DS-260. In the meantime, most of the contact between the Green Card applicant and the US authorities is via e-mail. It is important to provide a valid e-mail address that you regularly check.

You can expect to get an invitation to attend an interview at a US consulate between October and September of the following year. The interview appointment is usually scheduled in your home country at a US consulate that handles immigrant visas. Some countries, like the Netherlands have no US embassy for process immigrant visas and Green Card interviews are held in the US consulate in Stockholm, Sweden.  

Picture of an invitation letter for an interview in the U.S. consulate

6.    Activation trip to the USA

If you had a successful interview appointment at the US consulate, then you have up to 6 months to travel to the USA for the first time as a Green Card holder. These 6 months start on the day that you had your panel physician appointment before the consulate interview.

When you enter the USA for the first time as a Green Card holder, the border officer will inquire about your personal data and take, among other things, your photo and fingerprints. This information is needed to issue your Green Card. Moreover, you will receive a stamp in your passport which proves your status as Green Card holder until you get your physical Green Card.

Your first trip to the USA does not have to be your permanent move to America. It is entirely possible to first take a long vacation and take the time to get to know your new home country! Or, as a permanent resident, you could fly back the next day.  

7.  Getting the Green Card

About 3 to 6 months after you activate your Green Card, your physical, legal US permanent resident card will be mailed to the USA address you gave in your form.

Picture of the Green Card Design 2012

Take Note: Green Cards can only be delivered to an address in the USA. The US authorities do not send immigration documents outside of the United States. If you have friends or family in the USA, then you can have your Green Card sent to their address. If not, you are welcome to use our US address in New York City for a small fee. As soon as your Green Card is delivered to our US address, we will forward it to a desired address.

8.      What to do after getting the Green Card

As a proud Green Card holder, you can enjoy the benefits of being a U.S. legal permanent resident. The Green Card paves the way for your USA emigration. Moving to the USA will help guide you as you plan your new life in America.

Getting a Green Card isn’t the end of the services offered by The American Dream. If you have questions about the validity of your Green Card, applying for a Social Security Card or need a few tips for your move to the USA, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to help. 


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