"They give us their worst people, put them in a bin... they're picking the worst of the worst, congratulations you're going to the US."
The lottery is unusual because it does not require foreigners to obtain a sponsor — such as an employer or a relative — to come to the United States. Originally conceived as a way to help Irish citizens fleeing an economic crisis back home, the only requirement is that entrants be adults with a high school diploma or two years of recent work experience. Winners can bring their spouses and minor children. There is no application fee.
Millions apply each year, and fewer than 1 percent are randomly selected to undergo background checks. If they pass, they receive a green card, which grants them permanent residency in the United States and puts them on a path to citizenship.