JumpingJasonFlash

Members
  • Content count

    115
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    44

JumpingJasonFlash last won the day on October 18

JumpingJasonFlash had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

61 Excellent

About JumpingJasonFlash

  • Rank
    Silver Member
  • Birthday 05/17/1977

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    AZ
  • First Name
    Jason
  • Last Name
    Palmer
  • Landed
    Jun 2013
  • SA Location
    JHB & DBN
  • Language
    Afrikaans
  1. I’ve completely stopped sending stuff via regular mail. UPS and FedEx are stupidly expensive but it usually gets there unmolested and in reasonable time. The last gifts I sent to my friend, SAPO made him pay 150% customs and excise tax before they would release it. It was literally just some books, a few touristy oddities and a couple toys for his daughters. Everything was itemized, declared properly, with the correct codes and should have attracted no more than 15-20% at the absolute max! It’s quite ridiculous right now. If they aren’t outright stealing the packages, they’re holding them hostage and shaking down the recipients like mafiosos!
  2. Wishing you all the luck in the world. It is a lottery, but a weighted lottery based on region and country of origin. So the odds are really not that bad at all for us South Africans. On average about roughly 20,000 Saffers enter each year (sometimes more, sometimes less) and anywhere between 700 and 1200 are selected. Those are some pretty darn good odds for any lottery system. The trick is to keep at it and just live your life. Don’t let an unsuccessful entry stop you entering again the following year. Keep your paperwork up to date and keep on keeping on. If/when it happens the wait and effort will be worth it. We just made it part of our annual routine, like doing our taxes, hanging our Christmas decorations, paying our TV license, renewaing out vehicle license, fertilizing the lawn, entering the DV lottery... a few years went by and BOOM! Our entry won! Also remember if you’re married, you can both enter separately to improve your chances. Good luck and vasbyt!
  3. Well, yeah. When you put it like that... Seriously though, that was one hell of a screw up back in DV 2012. Those selectees must still be stewing and I can hardly blame them. Thanks for the update! Hopefully it will spare some selectees from disaster for DV-2019
  4. Don’t be too hard on that DV 2012 glitch, I have my Visa and Naturalization early next year thanks to that “disaster”...
  5. There used to be a place in Sandton City near the Laundromat that did Passport/Visa photos, but that was a long time ago when VFS was still in one of the Towers. They were okay. I used a “professional” in Randburg for my first US tourist visa, back in 2005, who said he had “30 years experience taking passport photos”, he didn’t appreciate my feedback afterwards, when I told him that he may have experience “taking” passport photos, but I had working with actual professionals for 10 years and he had clearly been taking them wrong for 30 years... I’ve taken and printed all of my own Passport, Visa and ID photos since.
  6. Congrats, Pete! Welcome aboard! I honestly wouldn't worry too much about your wife's Matric. The high school requirement is a minimum requirement. Your wife has clearly achieved that, and while she may, or may not, have graduated from a "traditional" high school, she clearly DID finish high school and went on to UCT and graduated with a recognized post graduate degree and has since acquired a whole bunch of skilled working experience. This is exactly what they are looking for and more than meets the base requirements, because it shows she is a.) more than adequately educated/experienced and b.) is highly skilled and employable. For now, focus on getting your marriage and birth certificates etc. and don't forget to apply for your police clearance certificate. You'll want to apply for it six weeks to two months before your interview. It can take a while to process, but is good for six months if I recall correctly. You have a low number so should get an interview around Dec/Jan, but even if it's a bit later, your certificate should still be good. Your second notification, for your official interview date is usually far enough in advance to give you enough time, but I wouldn't leave it much later than mid Oct, unless the Visa Bulletin numbers are moving slower than normal. Also don't forget to change that USA address as soon as possible, they usually want a standard physical address as this is where they ultimately send your Green Cards and someone has to usually sign for them on delivery. And the last thing on earth you want is for those to end up anywhere near a South African government institution. The Consulate folks are sweet and all, but still very much prone to good ol' SA bureaucracy. If you are really, really struggling with this, send me a PM and we can see if I can maybe help you guys out there Otherwise, good luck can and enjoy the ride! It's a crazy one for sure!
  7. I can say with confidence, that almost all of us that have been through the DV process felt he same limbo you are feeling. The eleven months between when we found out that we had won and the day of our interview the following June was easily the longest eleven months of our life! The uncertainty, the waiting, the early prep, the waiting, the research, the waiting, the panicking, the waiting, watching that Visa Bulletin sloooooowly creep towards our number, the waiting, the agonizing, the waiting, more uncertainty, more waiting... it was enough to drive me insane! We put nearly everything on hold. We were reluctant to commit to anything or renew any 24 month contracts (like Vodacom etc). We stopped buying and replacing things that we may have had to sell later. And becuase we didn't know 100% that we'd even get the Visa in the end, for any one of a number of reasons, we also didn't want to tell anyone or make too many life changing decisions just yet, so we still had to get up, go to work, pay the bills and get on with life like nothing was different, but in our minds EVERYTHING was already different! And when we eventually did get our Visas, everything changed and a whole new slew of challenges and worries set in. The panic, the rush, the panic, the endless questions, "What the hell are we doing?", "Where are going to live?", "Who will employ me?", "OMG! How much is this going to cost?", "Why are we even doing this?"... the panic, etc, etc. All perfectly natural, all perfectly reasonable and all perfectly survivable. Just remember to breathe and don't forget to get on with life and enjoy the time and activities in SA with your friends and family in the meanwhile. It can be and feel like a looooong process, but looking back, that was a good thing, becuase by the time we eventually packed up everything a walked out the door of our home for the last time (23 months after the day we found out we had won) we were physically, psychologically, and mentally as ready as we could ever hope to be for the next crazy stage of the journey. As for the immigration issue, like I said, Congress and the Presidency are deeply dysfunctional at the moment, so it is unlikely that any sweeping changes to immigration will happen overnight. Having said that, if we've learned anything from last year's election and the Trump effect, it is to never say never. Trump is desperate for a win right now (any win) and so are the Republicans who despite seven years of attempts, threats, rhetoric and promises, and despite holding the majority in the House, the Senate, and the Executive branch were dealt a humiliating defeat over the repeal and replacement of the ACA last month. Although, I suspect that right now Trump is more concerned with the ever looming investigation into his election campaign, potential obstruction of justice and dubious financial connections to Russia, and Congress are more concerned with keeping him from going to war with North Korea. So legal immigration reform is most likely the last thing on anyone's mind right now in Washington. In the meantime... Hold thumbs that you have a low DV number, get your docs and such in order, vasbyt and carry on :-)
  8. Yeah, immigration reform comes up about every year to 18 months and goes absolutely nowhere every single time. The system is certainly far from perfect, quite ridiculous in fact, but much like the ridiculous healthcare system and the even more ridiculous tax system, nothing major really ever gets done about them, becuase they are such hot button issues and the nation is far too divided on all of them. Heck even the political parties themselves are divided internally on these issues, so getting any major bills through with even the slightest majority in both the House and the Senate requires a phenomenal effort and leadership (hahahahahahaha!), not withstanding the last hurdle being the President himself who can veto the bill unless it gets a +60% majority veto-proof in the Senate. Throw into that the near constant primary/election cycle and it's little wonder that these issues are never fully addressed and simply get kicked down the road. They are a conundrum wrapped in a riddle, because they are key election issues, but historically speaking the party that actually delivers on any promises in these three critical categories are almost always punished heavily the next election cycle. The trick in many cases (as the politicians have learnt) is to keep "talking" about them to get and stay elected, but to never fully deliver, becuase in most cases it is political suicide. So in a nutshell, keep entering that lottery and sponsoring your family if/when you are able. I'm pretty sure we'll still be talking about the same thing come this time next year and the years following that.
  9. Well said, SJ. To add to my original analogy, my implication was that while many of those people ultimately ended up fleeing or losing their lives in the end, I think it is safe to say that there we MANY years and many indications preceding those various tragedies that gave a lot of people enough cause for concern to consider and act on relocation before the rest were forced to flee or become actual refugees. Could they have predicted the ultimate level of catastrophe in each of their cases? Probably not. But I think it's still fair to say that there are and have always been people who read the warning signs of potential future threat better than others, or they simply choose to act sooner than others, while the ones without options, or who were more obstinate or who simply procrastinated until it was too late to do anything were left behind to suffer the consequences of their inability or inaction one way or the other. Is South Africa at that point? Who knows? Some would say yes, others would argue no. Either way it is fair to say that many, many, many Saffers, both at home and abroad and for whatever reasons, think about and discuss this issue on a daily and weekly basis. Which, in of itself, should be a very serious indicator of the direction the nation seems bound and the ultimate trajectory we find the country following. Others simply do the math and analyse history and previous patterns. Sadly for our home and the country we love so dearly, the continent of Africa in general has a terrible history, track record and statistical average for failure in regards to catastrophe, failed states, fascism, oppression, ethnic cleansing, military dictatorship, coups, mass civil unrest, lawlessness, corruption, oligarchy, cleptocracy, civically war and shocking human rights abuses. Many early warning signs of these maladies are already all too visible in our fledging democracy for the likes of many, and while these may not be the ultimate driving force of the emigration patterns we have seen up until now, should the situation ever deteriorate to a point where they do start driving a mass exodus, you can bet your bottom dollar that, just like the people in my previous post, it will be the ones who didn't or couldn't act on the idea of emigration early that will ultimately risk suffering the most.
  10. My good friend who still in JHB feels exactly the same as you, Woekes. Yet our other mutual friend blows hot and cold every few months. One month he just wants to pack it all up and leave but he has no options. I then remind him that DV entries open in a few months time. He then says snarkily that "oh, but America has soooooo many of its own problems and is on the brink of collapse". He doesn't enter. Two months later he's tearing his hair out, crying about something Zuma has done to collapse the exchange rate and is "desperate to get out" and come to the US. I remind him that the entry was in Oct, but he should enter the following year. It costs nothing to enter after all and he has nothing to lose by at least trying. He goes quiet. I post something on the June anniversary of our departure about how time flies. He jokes "can you adopt me?". I say, "sure! I've always wanted a bearded man-baby". We laugh. September rolls around, and I remind all my friends that DV entries open in October. He again snarkily remarks about the demise of the US... rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. Superkruz nailed it. Immigration and Veven the idea of immigration is hard for many people. The enigmatic lure of something better, something different and something new, while tantalizing, diametrically opposes their need for the familiar and the safety net that they have spent their entire life weaving. They cry for the opportunity to leave the trouble behind, yet at the same time they almost can't bear the thought of giving up the stability (real or perceived) that they have created when faced with "the great unknown". For many, it's simply too much to face and it is ultimately easier to not try in the first place and convince themselves that "ja, things might not be great, but they aren't really THAT bad... not yet". Meanwhile the water has been slowly getting hotter and hotter and the poor little frog has absolutely no idea that he is cooking. Has been for a while. This is not unique to Saffers. It's basic human nature. Fight, flight, paralysing fear or simple flat out denial. I'm pretty sure if you analyzed the pattern, you'd hear hundreds of thousands of stories just like this from Rhodesians, Rawandans, Syrians, Sudanese, and Eastern Europe's Jews of the 1930s.
  11. Don't get me wrong, the premise and spin in the article itself sounds silly to me too, then again we all felt the same when they started drafting legislation regarding birth certificates for traveling with minors and we all know what an utter farce that turned out to be. So I would be weary of underestimating their ability make highly bizarre, unrealistic and simply outright stupid legislation regarding travel and movement. I'm sure, as SJ pointed out, that this has more to do with broadening their tax net as there have been numerous rumblings about potentially chasing after the income of expats abroad. However, there does still seem to be an increasing trend regarding the government's almost schizophrenic attitude toward immigration and emigration both demographically and financially. As for exact numbers of expats living abroad, its hard to peg it exactly, but I think it's safe to say that an estimate of between 600 and 700 thousand isn't too far off. The countries with high concentrations of South African immigrants and expats are pretty good at recording and reporting on those numbers, even if our own government doesn't appear to actively track or publicly report those numbers. Of course, if you include the children and other relatives that have acquired citizenship as a result of this same group then that number grows exponentially, but these as well as Saffers who work on medium to long term contracts abroad aren't technically emigrants per se or expatriates in the traditional sense. I'm also pretty sure that if more than a million South Africans had migrated permanently abroad, there would be a lot more news and reporting on the phenomenon. That's not to say that there isn't a significant number that is on "French Leave" and looking into making their absence more permanent, but that is a different kettle of fish altogether. I guess we just have to wait for more clarification on the matter as concerns are raised over the coming weeks/months. Then again, clarification has rarely been DHA or Parliament's strong suit ;-)
  12. https://businesstech.co.za/news/wealth/174919/government-plans-to-track-all-south-africans-who-leave-the-country-for-longer-than-3-months-report/ It seems that something strange is cooking in SA. There have been far too many articles lately about the government taking a special interest in Saffers living or moving abroad. Considering that the number of SA expats officially living abroad is barely 2/3rds of a million, or less than 0.2% of the population, they certainly do seem to be paying an inordinate amount of attention to those who have left and now those who are even thinking about relocating...
  13. Another reason to never say the words Medical Aid in the US, is that in a South African accent it sounds very much to Americans like you are saying 'Medicaid', which is a whoooole other kettle of fish and will almost certainly confuse the heck out of the person you are dealing with.
  14. Yeah, the whole check thing takes some time getting used to, but once you figure out some of the cool things your bank can do with checks, it all starts to make bizarre sense! The whole deposit a check by using your camera and banking app on your phone is voodoo, I tell ya! VOOOOOOODOOOOO!
  15. I can't help you with timelines when applying from within the US, but I can tell you that if you have already applied from the US and you apply again when you get to SA, a duplicate application will ultimately register in the Home Affairs system and will result in both applications automatically being cancelled. Remember, SA Consulates and Embassies do not process your application, they merely forward your application to Home Affairs in Pretoria and facilitate the return of your documents they receive back from Home Affairs. Besides, you will almost certainly not be issued either an unabriged marriage or birth certificate within 10 days back in SA. I've heard that new passport applications have lately been issued within a week of applying in SA, but definitely not marriage or birth certificates. Good luck and enjoy your visit.