Got questions? Send ’em my way

Pictured: A guy whose advice you should definitely take with a grain of salt.
Pictured: A guy whose advice you should definitely take with a grain of salt.

It’s Monday October 27, which means there’s one more week for you hopeful folks to get your entries in before the DV2016 green card lottery closes for applications.

If – somehow – you’re reading this blog yet aren’t sure what the lottery process entails, or are thinking of applying but don’t know how, fear not! I’ve got you covered with a comprehensive rundown right here.

I’ve been documenting the process, and my life as a new immigrant to the U.S., since I got to Maine last December. I’ve now been here 10 and a half months, and I feel like I’ve jumped more than a few hurdles and navigated my fair share of interesting situations in getting acclimatized to life here.

I’ve done this a couple of times since December (here and here), and the results were pretty good, so I’m going to throw open the floor to all of you, my readers, to once again ask: What in particular would you like to know?

There have been questions about the lottery process itself, questions about different elements of relocating and getting set up here, questions about lifestyle and other differences between here and Australia, and plenty more.

So I’d love to hear from you all – leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer them all!

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7 thoughts on “Got questions? Send ’em my way

  1. Hi Adrian,

    I was reading your Q&A on britsimons blog and found it very helpful,I’m also a DV 2015 winner (and my interview might be in May 2015) my question is in the Q&A you mentioned that you opened an account with Wells Fargo in the US before your GC interview. Were you able to open that account without a SSN and/or drivers license/state ID, all the US banks I researched required these 2 items. If they didn’t can you provide more details. I plan to trigger the DV in July 2015, return to Trinidad and complete my MSc and make the final move (to either Austin TX or Triangle Park,NC) in the 1st quarter of 2016 and but a bank account would give me a solid foothold before the final move .

    1. Hey postman,

      I was still on a tourist visa when I went to Wells Fargo in Denver to discuss my options. I’d read on the Immigration.com forums (I think) that WF was one of the only banks to permit someone to open an account without a social security number. I simply arrived with my passport and Australian drivers license, spoke to a banker and we sorted the whole thing out. I had a debit card about a week later. In your case, you really shouldn’t have a problem because once you enter in July, you’ll have the temporary I-551 visa applied to your passport which should be sufficient ID. In any case, your SSN will likely arrive within a week or 10 days anyway, assuming you’ll be staying that long initially, so you can open an account wherever you want with that.

    1. Hey there,

      I did indeed buy a one-way ticket, but it seems I’m in the minority on that one.

      Most of the people I’ve come across in the lottery over the past year haven’t been immediately ready to move as soon as they were approved – they fly in, activate the visa, then fly back home. I was ready, since I’d been banking on that eventuality since May, and didn’t have to pack up a house or give notice at a job or whatever because I took care of all of that in August then headed to the U.S. on a tourist visa. I basically spent three weeks at home for the interview and seeing friends and family.

      As for travel insurance, I had been on vacation in Colorado from late August all the way through to the week before my interview. I had a travel insurance policy through TID that lasted until the day I returned to the U.S. as a permanent resident. After that, I bought Seven Corners immigration insurance to cover me for a couple of months until my employer-provided coverage kicked in.

      I’m not a lawyer or an insurance man, but I wouldn’t recommend covering yourself with Australian travel insurance once you immigrate, because if something happens and you have to claim, your policy may well be voided because you’re not technically on a trip, you’ve immigrated.

      Hope that helps!

  2. G’day Adrian,

    How’s it going? I really enjoy reading your blog and it’s been great to read how well you’ve settled into life in Maine.

    Wondering if you could provide some advice on my situation. I was recently awarded a visa in the DV2015 lottery and I’m not planning on moving to the US straight away, but by the time I do move it will be after the visa expiry date in April 2015. I’m going on holidays to the US next week and will be making another couple of trips in the coming 6 months or so.

    So my question is should I be ticking the box saying I’m immigrating when I leave Brisbane for LA next week and expect to take my pack from the Consulate? Will I need to go through the same process you did when you entered the US under your visa the first time?

    Effectively I’d be one of the people you’ve mentioned as activating the visa and then heading home but with the intention of moving later in 2015. Appreciate your thoughts on that one.

    Also, did you have to nominate a hospital and delivery your chest X-rays to them when first entering the US on your visa? I note on the back of the Consulate pack it states I have to deliver it to a hospital asap after entry. Just wondering what you did with yours?

    Thank I advance for your time and all the very best for a great Christmas in Maine. Leah.

    1. Hey Leah,

      I wouldn’t tick the immigration box, given you aren’t in fact immigrating. You have a return ticket.

      What I’d be wary of is your “other couple of trips” before your permanent move. It’s entirely at the border control officer’s discretion as to whether to let you in at all if there’s suspicion or concern that you’ve abandoned your permanent residency or are misusing the green card.

      What I mean is, if it appears that you’re coming and going but not staying long, inside the first few months of your eligibility as a permanent resident, it could raise flags about your intention to actually immigrate. Obviously this is a worst-case scenario, but it’s not unrealistic I don’t think.

      As for the package from the consulate and the X-rays, yes you absolutely have to have that with you. Once you’re approved for the permanent residency visa, you aren’t eligible to travel on the Visa Waiver Program. Your first entry after being approved for the green card will require you to go through the extras at Customs upon arrival.

      As for the X-rays, nope. Mine are still in a suitcase, and no one’s ever said boo about them. I asked my nominated primary care physician at my first doctor’s appointment here and even she didn’t give a shit. Your mileage may vary though; maybe that’s just a Maine thing, or a “healthy single white male from a developed country” thing.

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