Which preposition should I use in the following sentence:

I applied ____ greencard lottery.

Would it be:

I applied for the greencard lottery.


I applied to the greencard lottery.

If both are fine, how would I decide which one to use? If neither are fine, how should I convey the thought I am trying to convey?

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  • Are you applying in order to get funding? - a job? Please explain. – chasly from UK Aug 30 '15 at 15:18
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    If the situation is that not all who validly try to enter the lottery even get their names entered into it, but some are rejected even before the drawing, then perhaps apply for. But if to put your name forward is more or less automatically to place it among the names from which winners will be selected by lottery, I would say you did not apply (for or to) but rather entered the lottery, which takes no preposition. – Brian Donovan Aug 30 '15 at 15:24
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    @BrianDonovan thanks. It is the case that some are rejected before the drawing. – Viktor Aug 30 '15 at 15:26
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    Oh, I see. As a Brit, I didn't know what the Green Card Lottery was. I thought it was about winning cash like other lotteries. – chasly from UK Aug 30 '15 at 15:31
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    Rather then "apply", people register to the green card lottery. – Graffito Aug 30 '15 at 17:18

You don't apply for a lottery. You're trying to combine "apply for" and "take part in".

What you want to say is "I applied for a green card by participating in the green card lottery." That is a bit wordy, so you might say "I participated in the green card lottery."

You could also say "I submitted my application and took part in the green card lottery."


I think you really wanted to add an "a" and "in the". Like,

I applied for a green card in the visa lottery.

The green card is what you hope to receive, the visa lottery is how the green cards are allocated among applicants.

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    you know, i think it's "green card" (for example the film of that name) - it's not one word. – Fattie Aug 30 '15 at 17:05
  • @ElliottFrisch green cards and visas are different things. The grammar in your sentence is fine but the statement is not true. Visas are permission to enter a country for a limited duration. Green cards give unlimited access. You can't get a green card from a visa lottery. It's like saying "I won a car in the office cake lottery." – michael_timofeev Aug 31 '15 at 0:59
  • @michael_timofeev Actually, it refers to a permanent resident. The visa lottery is (one) method to become a permanent resident. Other Ways to Get a Green Card says (in part) there are other ways a Green Card (permanent residence) can be obtained, such as the: Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (referred to by many as the 'Green Card Lottery'). – Elliott Frisch Aug 31 '15 at 1:01
  • @ElliottFrisch it's referring to different steps in the process and trying to say a visa is the same thing as a green card. You don't get a green card through a visa process and a green card is not a visa. – michael_timofeev Aug 31 '15 at 1:04
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    Hey michael -- bizarrely, the "green card lottery" is in fact officially called the "Diversity Immigrant Visa Program" (I'm fairly sure). Note that US bureaucratic processes are arcane; your point is well-made, but it's quite possible that "green cards" {by the way - I'm sure anyway they are not actually called that} are, in fact, "visas" of some type officially. – Fattie Aug 31 '15 at 2:46

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