When I woke up this morning, I noticed a solid uptick in visitors to this site over the preceding 10 or so hours.
That can only mean one thing: Green card lottery season is upon us again.
Less than an hour ago (at the time of writing), at 12:00 p.m. ET on October 1, the 2016 Diversity Visa program opened its doors to the world.
I’ve always wanted this blog to act as a strong resource for Aussies in the lottery, so after the jump I’ll give you all a nice rundown of what’s what.
UPDATE 10/24: It’s come to my attention that this post may randomly generate an advertisement at the bottom or on the sidebars for green card lottery entry websites. IGNORE THEM. The only place you should apply for the green card lottery is through this link: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/
And now, an introduction. Hey, how’s it going? My name is Adrian Crawford. I’m a 29-year-old guy from Brisbane, Queensland.
From long before my first vacation to the U.S., in 2008, I was intrigued by America and always wanted to see it for myself. By the time my first trip here ended, I knew I had to give it a go living and working here.
That didn’t eventuate until late 2013, after my green card number came up in mid-November. I moved permanently right before Thanksgiving, and I had a job offer around two weeks later.
Since mid-December 2013, I’ve been working as a web editor and columnist at two newspapers in central Maine, based in the capital city of Augusta. This blog has chronicled the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the last 10 or so months.
But that’s not why you came here (although I hope it’s why you’ll stay. I can be funny sometimes.) You want immigration information, and I’ve got it.
What’s a green card?
For those unacquainted, “green card” is a colloquialism for US permanent residency. I’m sure the cards were all green once, but nowadays they’re a little more sophisticated and just retain splashes of the color.
Every year, the US Government allocates 50,000 green cards to citizens of select countries that don’t have a high immigration rate to the United States. The basic principle behind this is to make the country a more diverse place through immigration. Read more here.
How do I get one?
Between October 1 and November 3, the US State Department throws open a website where anyone of eligible nationality can apply. There’s a web form to fill out with your basic information, contact details, parental heritage (as questionable as it may be) and whatnot.
If you’re a green card aspirant, you can apply right here. There are a ton of sites on the internet purporting to be the official place for entry, some even charging fees, but they’re bullshit. It’s free to enter, and you should only enter through the U.S. State Department website.
Once you submit, you’re given a confirmation number and are told to check back in six months’ time. So, y’know, just around the corner. Read more here.
What’s the interview like?
You’ll have to have some face time with an employee of the U.S. Government, at the consulate closest to where you applied. For many Australians and New Zealanders, that’s Sydney.
It can be nerve-wracking at times, and it’s important you get all your ducks in a row before you go in. I’ve done a pretty comprehensive rundown of it. Read more here.
What’s immigration day like?
Glad you asked! It’s exciting, obviously, but also confronting when you check that box that says “Australian citizen departing permanently.” Yikes.
At the other end, after that lengthy flight, it’s also a little tedious and nerve-wracking when you’re up close and personal with a stern-looking immigration official at the gates at LAX. Read more here.
That, my friend, is entirely up to you. But this is the land of opportunity – the sky’s the limit.
I don’t know what field of employment you’re in, but be aware that job applications and resumes are quite different in the U.S. than they are back home.
A few months ago, I wrote some tips for cracking the media market out here. While it’s a little journalism-specific, the advice translates pretty well across all fields (if I do say so myself.) Read more here.
Be aware, if you weren’t already, that many things are going to be different to your life in Australia, or your vacations in the U.S. The ones that tripped me up were:
But it’s not all doom and gloom, you guys! There are a ton of great things about living here obviously, like:
- Experiencing the great outdoors and national parks
- Brew festivals
- State fairs
- Mingling with the locals
- Watching changing seasons we don’t have down under
And of course, if you’ve got any questions at all about the process, my experiences or anything else, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
Other great resources
When I first started writing this blog, it was mostly due to a lack of well-written and accessible information about the process from start to finish.
Being a writer by trade, I figured it was up to me to put it all together. But I can’t claim credit for everything – I had some help along the way, and I’m not the only one doing this.
First and foremost, the Immigration.com Forums have an unbelievable wealth of both knowledge and experienced posters who can answer just about any question you’ve got.
Since my immigration I’ve also made some internet friends going through the same experience as I have.
Bernie Watt is a Queenslander who made the move to New York City in early 2013. His great blog can be found here.
Another e-pal, Kiara Cunningham, is a 22-year-old nursing student from Melbourne who also came up big in the lottery this year. She hasn’t made the jump yet, but she’s documenting the process on a very cool website called American State of Mine.
And hey, if the lottery doesn’t work out for you, there are other ways in, like the E3 visa. Another Melburnian, Lynda Galea, has been through that whole process and blogged the HECK out of it. She now lives in Florida. Take a look at how she did it right here.
Look ’em up, give ’em some traffic, tell ’em I sent you.