The Green Card Lottery program is officially known as the "Diversity Immigrant Visa program" and is administered by the US Department of State. It was created by an act of Congress, the Immigration Act (INA) of 1990. The program allocates a specified number of diversity visas ("green cards") to applicants from certain countries. Successful participants of the lottery are chosen in a random drawing each year.
Winners of the Green Card Lottery receive a United States permanent resident card ("green card"), which grants them the right to live and work in the US.
The Diversity Visa (DV) program is administered by the US State Department. It makes available 55,000 immigrant visas annually and its goal is to diversify the immigrant population in the United States by selecting applicants from countries that have sent low numbers of immigrants to the US in the previous five years.