Bill Mandy 1 year ago

America's DV Lottery vs Canada’s Express Entry

Suppose you've started to explore your immigration options for 2023. In that case, you could have run across two popular options: America's DV Lottery and Canada's Express Entry system, or, as it is more generally known, the U.S. green card lottery.

Both have allowed immigrants to make a fresh start in their respective nations. Still, there are significant variations regarding the application procedure and the chances of success. Worldwide, millions of people submit immigration visa applications each year. According to the World Economic Forum, there are around 272 million immigrants globally.

Most of these people have decided to move to pursue employment because of problems like conflict, violence, and climate change in their home countries.

Meanwhile, most immigrants chose the United States as their final destination, with Canada at number eight internationally for international migration in 2019.

Therefore, if you're having trouble deciding whether to relocate to Canada or the U.S., keep reading to learn more about the DV Lottery immigration program in the U.S. and the perennially popular Express Entry system in Canada, and find out which one will be best suited to your specific needs and requirements.

America’s DV Lottery vs. Canada’s Express Entry

North America's immigrant environment is ever-evolving. Canada and the United States largely followed parallel patterns in the early stages of respective immigrant histories. Before extending their catchment areas to other parts of the world, both countries attracted most of their early immigrants from the British Isles and Europe.

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program, also known as the Green Card lottery, is a lottery program for receiving a U.S. Permanent Resident Card. Canada has no such program. Canada has its sort of pool — the Express Entry pool, which came into operation earlier in January 2015 — where candidates who have made an Expression of Interest in immigrating to Canada are ranked according to a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

What is the United States Diversity Visa Lottery?

Up to 55,000 individuals from underrepresented countries may apply for immigrant visas or green cards under the Diversity Visa Program, often known as the "Green Card Lottery" or "DV Lottery," as it is more widely known. The program was established in 1994, and random selection is used to choose between 10 and 12 million applicants worldwide each year.

Requirements for the Green Card Lottery

Two main requirements need to be met to qualify for the US DV Lottery:

  • Qualifying Country of Birth/ Nationality; and
  • Qualifying Level of Education

Eligible nationalities

As one of the most sought-after immigration destinations in the world, the United States government has decided to exclude citizens of the following nations from applying under the DV Program:

List of excluded countries:

  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China (including Hong Kong SAR)
  • Columbia
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland and its dependent territories
  • Vietnam

Additionally, two countries may be eligible if the applicants meet one of the following criteria:

  • Their parents (both born outside an excluded nation) were temporary residents of an excluded or non-eligible country; or
  • Their spouses were born in an eligible country.

These two countries include:

  • Macau SAR
  • Taiwan

Pros and Cons of the United States of America Diversity Visa Lottery

Here are the benefits and downsides of the United States' DV lottery.


The key advantages are that if you enter the lottery and win, you can apply for a U.S. green card, which, if granted, will allow you to live and work permanently in the country. Additionally, there aren't many prerequisites to be eligible for this immigration scheme. Success or failure will depend on whether you were born in an eligible country and pure luck.

The fact that your program is free is another advantage. It is a good idea for both of you to apply if you and your spouse are eligible because the other person might be able to join you in America as a derivative spouse.


Only once a year does the lottery take place. This implies you will have to wait a whole year before applying again if you miss the deadline.

Additionally, there are a finite number of spots. Since only 50,000 immigrant visas are available each year, it is best to submit your application as soon as the lottery is open. Since most people put off applying until the last minute, the government website frequently encounters high traffic, which may prevent you from applying.

You may only submit your application in English through the online application page.

The wait is also quite long, and even if you win the green card lottery, that does not imply you will automatically be granted a green card for the United States. A waiting list is created after a random draw of about 125,000 people.

You might not even get the opportunity to submit an application for permanent residency if the 50,000 applicants ahead of you submit their applications along with all required supporting documentation.

What is the Canadian Express Entry?

The Canadian Express Entry system is not as old as the American Express. It was created to make the visa application process simpler and more accessible to everyone when it was formed in 2015. However, this program is not a free-for-all. Instead, the Canadian government has chosen to implement a points-based system, where your application will be evaluated using the Comprehensive Ranking System's (CRS) five primary criteria:

  • Age;
  • Language;
  • Education;
  • Work Experience (if any); and
  • Adaptability.

These elements are crucial for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to assess your ability to integrate into the Canadian society and your potential to significantly add to the country's economy. There are far too many tales of immigrants leaving their home nation in pursuit of better opportunities only to encounter extra difficulties along the way, such as language obstacles or a lack of skills or experience necessary to get employment in their chosen industry in their new homeland.

You can submit your Express Entry application through one of three programs:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP);
  • The Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP); or
  • The Canada Experience Class (CEC).

Requirements for the Canadian Express Entry System

As previously noted, to qualify for one of the three federal economic immigration programs and receive Express Entry to Canada, you must do so. Additionally, you must ensure that you are eligible to enter Canada, which involves, among other things, having a clean criminal record and an excellent physical. For the first few months after moving to Canada, you will also need enough cash to support yourself and any dependents traveling with you. These standards have been set to make it simpler for you to move from your native country to your new residence in Canada.

Eligible nationalities

All countries are welcome to use Canada's Express Entry System every day of the year. Unlike the Green Card Lottery, you can submit an application whenever you choose, and it will be good for a year or until your Express Entry (EE) profile is chosen from the pool of applicants for the draw. These drawings typically take place every two weeks and invite 5,000 people to submit applications for Canadian permanent residence. But recently, the Canadian Express Entry system broke records by allowing an astounding 27,332 people to apply to immigrate to Canada!

Benefits of the Canadian Express Entry System

If you’re Canadian visa application is approved, just like the American green card lottery, you can live and work permanently in Canada. However, unlike the DV Lottery system, you are not constrained to apply for your visa during a specific timeframe, nor will your application be denied due to your nationality.

In addition to being free, creating an Express Entry profile can speed up the processing of your visa application by up to six months! As a result, if you submit your Express Entry profile today and are chosen in the ensuing draw, you might be in Canada by the end of the year, assuming you have completed and submitted all of your paperwork and supporting documents within the timeframe specified as per the EE instructions supplied.

You will always have the option to increase your chances of success in various ways. For instance, you might take another language exam or learn a new language to boost your IELTS score. For instance, French speakers might be eligible to receive an additional 50 CRS points. Another strategy to improve your chances is to increase your work experience, as well as your abilities and educational background.

Having a job offer in a province where your abilities are in demand is one of the simplest methods to obtain Express Entry to Canada. The acquisition of a Provincial Nomination can arise from this (PN). A PN is incredibly valuable because it is worth 600 more CRS points, which could help your application stand out. Another is having Canadian work experience, as CEC applications and those submitted through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) linked to Express Entry is currently given priority.

Life in Canada vs. Life in the United States of America

To address the pressing issue you may have in the back of your mind, "Is Canada or America a better place to live?" let's take a small break and examine some of the significant similarities and contrasts between the two countries.


There are many parallels and contrasts between Canada and the US. Even though the American economy is undoubtedly more robust, you might make about the same amount of money in both nations. Before the pandemic struck, reported that the average wage in the United States was USD 66,778 in 2019. However, the typical wage in Canada is around CAD 52,600 annually, which is equivalent to USD 41,652. Naturally, this will depend on the province where you work and your kind of work.

Cost of living

Depending on your lifestyle and where you reside, the cost of living in the United States may be much greater than in Canada. Taxes are more significant for Americans. In Canada, taxes range from 15 to 33 percent, whereas those in the United States range from 10 to 37 percent. Additionally, American consumer prices are substantially higher.

Consumer costs, for instance, might be about 24.83 percent lower in Toronto than in American metropolises like New York City. In addition to the fact that food and transportation are significantly less expensive, you may anticipate paying approximately half as much for rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto.

Furthermore, take a look at the comparison below between the cost of living between these two major cities:

U.S. vs. Canada: Cost of Living (all prices in US$)

Source: Investopedia


In America, postsecondary education can result in significant debt. In 2020, there will be USD 1.57 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the United States, according to Investopedia. To pay for their university or college tuition, more than half of students must take out loans, which cost an average of $37,584. Studying in Canada is significantly less expensive. In America, the average cost of tuition at a public university is about USD 8,200; however, in Canada, you will more likely pay about CAD 7,938, or roughly USD 6,286.

Family benefits

In general, Canada is a significantly more developed nation than the US. As a new parent, you might anticipate receiving up to 33 percent of your annual wage during your legally required paid parental leave. Although you can take a 12-week leave of absence in the US, it won't be reimbursed, so you'll need to plan. This may put a heavy dent in your finances and increase the already difficult task of caring for your new baby.

Requirements for the Canadian Express Entry Requirements

The Express Entry system's three federal programs each have a unique set of minimal requirements.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

For highly skilled foreign employees who desire to reside and work in Canada, there is the FSWP. There is a preliminary eligibility standard that must be met. It would be best if you got a minimum FSWP score of 67 out of 100 points to qualify for this. The FSWP uses a different point system than the Comprehensive

Ranking System (CRS). The bare minimum demands the following:

  • Having skilled work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) job at level 0, A, or B (usually managerial, professional, and technical trade jobs);
  • Language Ability in English (CLB 7) or French (NCLC7) in writing, reading, listening, and speaking;
  • Education - with a Canadian secondary or post-secondary qualification or a foreign credential and an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
  • Proof of sufficient funds, as well as be admissible to Canada.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The FSTP is for highly talented foreign employees who want to live and work permanently in Canada. The following are the prerequisites for this Canadian immigration program:

  • Have at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade in the past five years;
  • Meet the job requirements as stipulated by the NOC; however, you won't need a certificate of qualification
  • Language Ability in English (CLB 5 in speaking and listening and CLB 4 in reading and writing) or French (NCLC5 in speaking and listening and NCLC4 in reading and writing);
  • Have a Canadian job offer for at least one year or a certificate of qualification;
  • Proof of sufficient funds, as well as be admissible to Canada.

Tradespeople from the following categories are eligible to apply for permanent residency through the


  • Major Group 72, industrial, electrical, and construction trades;
  • Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades;
  • Major Group 82, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture, and related production;
  • Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing, and utility supervisors and central control operators;
  • Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks; and
  • Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers

Canada Experience Class (CEC)

With prior Canadian job experience, qualified overseas workers can come to Canada with the aid of the CEC. The following are the prerequisites for applying to this program:

  • Having at least one year of skilled Canadian work experience in the last three years;
  • Language Ability in English or French (NOC 0 or A - CLB/NCLC7; NOC B - CLB/NCLC5) in writing, reading, listening, and speaking;
  • Have you gained your work experience under temporary resident status with work authorization; and
  • Be admissible to Canada.

Application Process for the Express Entry

To apply for Express Entry, you must take the following steps.

  1. Check if you are eligible: Verify that you meet the requirements for one of the three programs for Canadian immigration under the Express Entry system.
  2. Express Entry Profile: Create your online Express Entry Profile once you know which program you qualify for.
  3. Invitation to Apply: Your information will be included in biweekly drawings, and if your name is drawn, you will be sent an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residency.
  4. Apply: You must submit your application, upload your supporting documents, and pay the appropriate visa application fees once you have gathered your necessary paperwork.
  5. Await your results: The IRCC will let you know whether or not your application has succeeded.


Furthermore, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about America’s DV Lottery vs. Canada’s Express Entry:

Is there a visa lottery for Canada?

The answer is no, even though the DV Lottery and Canada's Express Entry system need to be more frequently mixed up. There is no lottery system for Canadian visas.

What Differs the Express Entry System from the Diversity Visa Lottery?

The key difference is that applicants for permanent residency through the Express Entry program are chosen based on points instead of applicants for the Diversity Visa Lottery, who are chosen randomly.

Which Countries Qualify for Express Entry vs. the Diversity Visa Lottery?

There is a list of nations that are ineligible to enter America's DV Lottery. Only people born in historically underdeveloped countries are regarded as eligible, in contrast to the fact that everyone in the world can apply for Express Entry to Canada.

Is it Cheaper to Live in Canada or the United States?

In general, Canadian metropolitan areas are more affordable than American ones. Your tax brackets, preferred locale, and way of life are all essential factors.

Can I Live in Canada if I am a US Citizen?

Yes, you can, as long as you apply for the right kind of citizenship and consider your status as a worker (skilled or unskilled), student, or both. Additionally, you can continue to use your American passport while residing in Canada.

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