Education/Work Experience Requirement for DV-2025 Lottery Program

Each DV applicant must meet the education/work experience requirement of the 2025 DV lottery program by having either: 

  • at least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education;


  • two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience.

Education/Work Experience Requirement for DV Lottery

The Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program requires the principal DV applicant to have a high school education, or its equivalent, or two years of qualifying work experience as defined under provisions of U.S. law.

If you do not have either the required education or qualifying work experience, you are not eligible for a diversity visa. (Only you, as the principal applicant, must meet this requirement. Your spouse and children do not have to meet this requirement.)

You should consider not pursuing a DV application if you do not meet the qualifying education or work experience requirements explained in this guide, as you may not be eligible for a diversity visa and any fees you pay for the visa application will not be refunded.

High School Education: A high school education means successful completion of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a 12-year course in the United States.  Only formal courses of study meet this requirement; equivalency certificates (such as the G.E.D.) are not acceptable.

GED is a General Educational Development program that’s an alternative to a high school diploma. People who are unable to complete high school can obtain a GED as an equivalent to a grade 12 education.

In Africa, G.E.D equivalents are the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the General Certificate of Education (GCE).

Work Experience: If you are qualifying with work experience, you must have two years of experience in the last five years, in an occupation which, by U.S. Department of Labor definitions, requires at least two years of training or experience that is designated as Job Zone 4 or 5, classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating of 7.0 or higher.

What occupations qualify for the DV program? 

The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) O*Net OnLine database to determine qualifying work experience.  The O*Net OnLine database categorizes job experience into five “job zones.”  While the DOL website lists many occupations, not all occupations qualify for the DV program.

To qualify for a DV on the basis of your work experience, you must have, within the past five years, two years of experience in an occupation classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) range of 7.0 or higher.

If you do not meet the requirements for education or work experience, you will be ineligible for a DV, and your spouse and children will be ineligible for derivative DVs.

How can I find the qualifying DV occupations in the Department of Labor’s O*Net OnLine database?

When you are in O*Net OnLine, follow these steps to determine if your occupation qualifies:

  1. Under “Find Occupations,” select “Job Family” from the pull down menu;
  2. Browse by “Job Family,” make your selection, and click “GO”.
  3. Click on the link for your specific occupation; and
  4. Select the tab “Job Zone” to find the designated Job Zone number and Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating range.

For example, select Civil Engineers, at the bottom of the Summary Report for Civil Engineers, under the Job Zone section, you will find the designated Job Zone 4, SVP Range, 7.0 to < 8.0. Using this example, Civil Engineering is a qualifying occupation.

You should not submit an entry to the DV program unless you meet both of these requirements.

The DV-2025 entry period will run from 12:00 pm (noon), Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT4), Wednesday, October 4, 2023, until 12:00 pm (noon), Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT5), Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

Each year, millions of people submit entries. Restricting the entry period to these dates ensures selectees receive notification in a timely manner and gives both the visa applicants and the embassies and consulates time to prepare and complete cases for visa issuance.

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to enter early during the registration period. Excessive demand at end of the registration period may slow the processing system. Entries will not be accepted after noon EST on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

DISCLAIMER: This post and content is designed for general information only and is NOT legal advice. This site is not offering any Diversity Visa and is not the official site for DV Lottery program. The information presented in this post should not be construed to be formal legal advice.