We are explaining the application process on this page: How it works: the application process
DV stands for Diversity Visa and the year identifies the American fiscal year which is the relevant one for this certain lottery.
Fiscal year 2017 starts October 1st, 2016 and ends September 30th, 2017.
And this is the time frame an applicant can use to plan his/her immigration - in case he/she was drawn.
The Diversity Lottery (Green Card Lottery) makes available a maximum of 55,000 immigrant visa numbers annually to persons selected
at random from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
There is a separate registration for each year's visas.
The legal foundation for the Diversity Visa Lottery Program comes from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), INA §203.
Through the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NCARA), passed by Congress in November 1997, a portion of up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NCARA program. The reduction of the limit of available visas to 50,000 began with DV-2000 and remains in effect as long as it seems necessary.
That makes 50.000 visa numbers available. Each of these visas allows the winner to live and work in the US - one obtains the lawful permanent resident status.
The purpose of the program is to find qualified persons with a solid education and/or professional background who 'enrich' the country.
Every year before the drawing the Department of State publishes
the instructions for the upcoming lottery.
These Instructions are usually posted in August, and the registration period is usually held in October, November each year.
There is no fee for entering the lottery and the application must be submitted via the official government website. The 'winning' entries are randomly selected by a computer. These are the so-called 'lottery winners' who will be notified.
Anyone who is selected under this lottery will be given the opportunity to apply for permanent residence. If permanent residence is granted, then the individual will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. You will also be allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.