Can Foreigners Play Powerball? (The Ultimate Guide)


The American Powerball has some of the most lucrative jackpots and can entice anyone worldwide to play. The Powerball is part of the lottery system and sometimes has a prize that reaches over half a billion dollars. So, it should not surprise you that even the foreigners want to have a piece of the action.

This game is available in 45 states and under the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) management, a non-profit organization. You can get your ticket and wait for the drawing date that is usually on Wednesday and Saturday. Laura Johnson and Sam Arlen are the current hosts of the game at the Florida studio.

While Powerball tickets are usually bought by Americans, foreigners also feel tempted to take a chance at the huge prize money offered by this lottery.

Foreigners can buy, play, and win the Powerball regardless of their residency status. Non-residents can either buy tickets through an agent or sometimes through online services. As long as the ticket was purchased legally, foreigners can collect the Powerball prize – and also pay the appropriate taxes.

Can Non-Citizens Buy Powerball Tickets?

Foreigners can indeed buy tickets and play the Powerball lottery. Playing the lottery from a different country has been made easy through the internet. Unlike other lotteries in which you must be present in America to play, a foreigner with the itch to make it big can take a chance at the Powerball.

You can buy the Powerball coupons on the internet; however, you should consider doing so through an agent to be safe. Remember that you can play this from almost anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately, some people may not enjoy these privileges – which is usually the case when a person’s home country may have legislations that bar out any gambling.

You must be either be physically available in the US or use an agent to buy tickets, play, win, and claim your prize. Also, you cannot play the Powerball if your country is under economic sanctions from the US. It would be wise to use one of these agents to help you play as a foreigner.

Winning The Powerball as a Foreigner

You can win the Powerball even without leaving your home country like the Iraqi winner in August 2015. Winning the Powerball is quite open and transparent as they will ask the person playing to match their numbers with the hosts. The truth is that you can win and claim the Powerball prize despite not being a citizen.

Remember that you must legally purchase the ticket. Therefore, even if you were touring the US, you can play and win. However, it would help if you played by the state’s rules that you are playing in. For example, some of the conditions may ask you to prove your country of origin and permit to be in the US.

However, you have to be careful when you buy these tickets. Also, you should choose wisely the people who can help you claim them. Note that there is a nontax trap that does not allow you to bring Powerball tickets into the US by mail or air.

Plus, many lottery scams on the internet may lie to you that you have won. Or, you may end up buying fake tickets that may never pun out.

Powerball Taxes for Foreigners

Any foreigner that wins the Powerball is subject to income tax implications by the US government. However, this may change if your country has a taxation treaty with the US. It would be great for you if your country has a double taxation treaty with the US to pay the tax ones.

As per the IRS regulations, all the lottery winnings connected to business or trade are, therefore, income. So, foreigners are taxed at a flat rate of 30 % unless there is an active treaty with their country.

This is one position supported in Barba v. the US, 52 AFTR 2d 83-5272 (1983), and Park v. Commissioner, 136 TC 569 (2011).

Does Winning the Powerball (or any lottery) Affect Citizenship Status?

Winning the Powerball can only affect your citizenship only when you are an illegal immigrant in the US. It can also affect you when you try to claim your winnings with a ticket you bought over the US borders. All of these may lead to the US department of immigration, sending you back home without a chance of gaining your citizenship.

When people refer to the lottery as changing their citizenship status, they are referring to another lottery program run by the Department of State (DOS) that may grant foreigners full citizenship. This is the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program that helps to relocate citizens of countries with low immigration to the US to get a visa.

If you are staying in the US, you can make your application through USCIS. However, to be eligible, you must apply through the DV program and be admissible to the US.

What Happens If You’re in the US Illegally and Win?

As an illegal immigrant and a winner of the Powerball, you still have a chance to collect your winnings. However, you have a huge chance of facing deportation from the US. The government may allow you to apply for citizenship, but you must be eligible for the event.

It would really help if you kept in mind that being wealthy does not guarantee that you will get your green card. However, there is a loophole that can guarantee you permanent residency; you can invest one million dollars. This cash must create at least ten jobs for permanent US citizens or resident workers. In most cases, you will have to return home and apply for a visa.

Final Thoughts

Winning the Powerball lottery is a dream that can help most of us realize our every financial dream. However, it would really help if you remembered to play the game while being cautious of the people that may want to take advantage of you.

As a foreigner, you should also learn more about the taxation treaties that your home country has with the US. Besides, this may help you avoid getting taxed by both states.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there, I'm Gui! I was born in Brazil, and I got to travel the world playing tennis. In 2014 I moved to the US to study, and ended up staying here. I've been a student, got married, got a green card, bought a home, and started a business - all without being a citizen. I know how difficult it can be to find answers when you are living in a foreign place, and this is why I started Foreigner Living - to help you with any questions you may have!

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