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  1. 5 points
    I cannot believe how quickly 2019 has passed by and the year is coming to a close. With the 2021 DV Lottery entrance applications complete, I wonder how many from our neck of the woods will be joining us in the USA. This may well be one of the last DV Lotteries. I want to share with you our progress to date. (After 8 years). This year has been good for us here in Hawaii. We have started on another building project on an adjacent piece of land we bought and the idea is to use the place as an Airbnb. Work wise, I still fly an ambulance around Hawaii and received a few work promotions this year. I've been in this job for 6 1/2 years. Annalise (my wife at 50) continues getting 4.0 GPA in the nursing program and finishes in May 2020. Its been a difficult 3 years for her, studying and running this household as a mother. Michael (24) has his BSc. In Aviation Management and is just finishing up his Commercial pilots license in Florida. He also works as an aircraft fueler to support himself and has been a Zipline guide for 4 years. Siobhan (22) has 2 degrees in English and Communication this year through University of Hawaii. Yesterday she went through MEPS medical selection process to join the US Coast Guard and is hoping for an Officer selection position. She has supported herself as a tour guide & ground crew with a helicopter company and as a Life Guard. Dylan (19) joined an exclusive Aviation Maintenance company in Everett Washington last week and plans on doing his Commercial pilots license while qualifying as an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic. He has learnt to weld and earned an income working as a Zipline guide. Jessica (16) continues at school but also works at a veterinary clinic 3 times a week to fund her pilots license. She has about 10 hours of flying time. Additionally she is a Sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol. (If you don't know what this is, google it & you need to get your teens enrolled) looking back to 2011 when our feet hit USA ground, I never in my wildest dreams thought that this family could achieve so much in so few years. America has opened doors and possibilities for my kids certainly not available in Africa. I write this so that you can see the abundance the USA has given us and be encouraged by it. Granted, like many of you, we went through the fire, but life has a way of showing you the path. Take it, you have nothing to lose. "Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it's the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill
  2. 3 points
    As a South African (from Slaapstad) visiting NYC, I thought that he would have found the uninterrupted water and electricity supply the most bizarre part of the experience 😏 Having said that, I also expected that a journalist working for “Business Insider”, of all publications, would at least know that the US (the world’s largest economy) doesn’t use VAT! I guess not. He’s lucky he only stayed in NYC with its public transport. Pumping his own gas and filling his own tires with air would have totally baked his noodle!
  3. 3 points
    Today seemed so far away, and yet, in the blink of an eye, we have arrived. Five years ago, two people stepped off an airplane and into one of their biggest adventures yet. It all started on that day we landed in Philadelphia, and got our Diversity Visa stamped, marking our official Resident status. That first week was our first LSD trip, and it was WILD! We relayed from Philadelphia on to Raleigh-Durham, and spent a couple of days exploring the Research Triangle Park. Well, more like exploring FOR the Research Triangle Park! Couldn't find it. Completely hidden from view! Along the way we established a US address in a postbox, applied for the All Important Social Security Number, opened a bank account, learned all about The Hurdle Known As Credit Score, looked at a couple of apartments to rent, and tried to work out where in the world we are. From Raleigh-Durham, we traveled a few hours westward to Charlotte, and immediately thought it was way cooler than R-D was! Spent another couple of days doing job interview(s), looking for places to live, and of course, most important of all, explored Carowinds! One week went by in a blur, and before we knew it, we were on our way back to SA, but we have managed to establish a presence in the US, and our Green Cards would be in our hands really soon! About one month later, I departed SA for a permanent move to the USA. My husband stayed on in SA for a few more weeks to tie things up, while I pioneered westward to set up our new lives in the USA. Thankfully we have some dear friends in the US willing to lend a helping hand, and we will forever be grateful for their assistance with a number of things that needed to be done. It really would be a lot harder to do this without someone who can point you in the right direction, or who is at a known location to receive notices and provide a base from where to operate. We were fortunate to secure an apartment before my arrival, so that was a huge relief. We also opted for Immigration Lite, which saw me fly in with two suitcases and a couple of dollars in my pocket. And then I had to buy what I needed: bed, bedding, toiletries, kettle, internet, TV, car, ... Another week of bouncing here and there and everywhere, falling in love with IKEA, falling out of love with self-assembling furniture, hating internet setups, loving how easy things work in the USA, hating credit scores, loving the people who are ever helpful, hating winters, loving the ability to walk to work, loving the view from the apartment, loving the endless possibilities here in the USA... At the end of the year, husband left SA, and we re-united to start settling in. The first year was quite a flurry of activity, and elsewhere on the forum is a post about all those adventures and the "honeymoon phase". I'll summarize some of it again here for completeness of this report. We had to visit Walt Disney World asap of course, and took a road-trip, one of many more to come, down to Florida from North Carolina. Husband managed to find and start a job within about a month of arriving and looking for work. We relocated a couple hundred miles eastward for said job. We visited many places, including trips to Boston and New York, both of which was amazing and exciting. We attended several sporting events, including a baseball game, several PGA Tour events, and a cricket match. We joined a golf club and made a few friends at the club. We discovered Greenways and explored for days on foot and on bicycles. We eventually worked up the courage to go for drivers licenses and found we passed it with ease, and regretted not getting it done sooner. We grew tired of paying a fortune to eat grilled steaks at the restaurants, and bought a braai and started grilling regularly at home. We increased in size. We learned to drink American Wine, but we love to find South African Wine in the USA. We learned to drink craft beer, and now we have become beer snobs. We discovered that there are many bugs in the USA. Oh so many bugs. Terrible bugs. They ruin summer, unless you buy all kinds of bug repellents, which works with varying degrees of success. We made peace with the fact that in the USA, homes do not have lighting in living spaces, you must bring the standing lamps. And plugs do not have switches, you just have to hope you do not touch anything live while working electrical cords. But all in all, we discovered that even though we miss our friends and family back in South Africa very very much, they are never too far away thanks to modern marvels like Skype and Facebook, and WhatsApp. The next couple of years saw many changes for us. We did another LSD trip down to Florida, and shortly after relocated there. We saw many job changes between the two of us. We bought more cars and we bought a town-home. We sold our house in South Africa and our things we loved so much. We bought many, many more things from Amazon. So many things. We found that the USA is like a collection of "countries" and what you get and do in one state, is not necessarily the way of the world in another state, even though it is all USA. We miss our South African favourite foods and stores, and now we miss our North Carolina favorite stores. But we learned to embrace the Walmart, and the Publix, and the local South African Goods traders. We found out there are many South Africans here in the USA, and you can kick one from behind just about any bush in the region. We love the festivals and the chance to Gooi Die Taal, and enjoy boerewors rolls, pies, and skaapbraai, and we still have to get to one of the Potjie festivals. We still have to learn what the deal is with American Football, but we enjoy going to or watching the games, even though it takes FOREVER. We have been to the beach, and it was busy and beachy and fun, and we should do it more. We discovered the weather. It is violent and wild, and miserable, but it passes by quick. We were thrilled to learn about "screened whatevers", which are bug-free and pleasant and soothes our African need to spend time outdoors with our braai and our wine and our pets. We have seen the National Mall and it was impressive. We have been to the Outer Banks and it was incredible. We learned about the Wright Brothers doing their test flights out there and realized that we know history, but we don't always know where that history happened. We visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and by accident learned about the First Colony and early US history. We went to see Dollywood and was amazed to find Pigeon Forge in the middle of nowhere being all touristy and surprisingly busy. We learned about "roadside attractions" and were skeptical and still have to venture on one of those. We discovered the Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian Trail along the way and must go back to see more someday. We went to see a live volcano out in Hawaii. On bike. We went to St Pete Beach in Florida, and discovered Pass-A-Grille Beach and the fascinating story. We stopped to see some friends out at Melbourne, and they pointed us to Gator Tail and Frogs Legs at the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp on the way back. Who knew? So good. We visited Myrtle Beach and got inspired and changed careers for a while. Endless opportunities for the taking. We camped out INSIDE a theme park, underneath the roller coasters. What a night! Endless fun! We played golf on so many of the famous courses, and more to look forward to. We have been to ice hockey, and even took a shot at goal, and did not land on our ass while at it. We have been to South Africa, we love to visit there and kuier with friends and family, but we love coming home at the end of the trip. And today we have been at this for a whole five years already. How time flies! We have recently put in our application for citizenship, so next year will be filled with more exciting events. While we enjoy our visits to South Africa, we wish for all of our friends and family to come and visit us here in our new home. There are many more things we look forward to as we continue our adventure. We must go and see the National Parks. Many of them. We must go ski, and we must go see the Rockies in the summertime. We must go see Chicago. And the North in the summer, that everyone raves endlessly on about. We have to visit Cedar Fair, of course. We must go see Texas, where rumour has it there is an unusually large gathering of South Africans. We must go see the Grand Canyon. We must go see Canada, or parts of Canada. We must go taste bourbon in Tennessee and/or Kentucky. We must go see the wine country in California. We must go visit Key West, and dive the reefs out there. We want to go cruising again, to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska, everywhere! So many more places to go and so many more experiences waiting. We'll see y'all out there!
  4. 3 points
    Thanks [at]SJ272. I am here for good, but going back December or January to sort things out. This place is unbelievably beautiful. Took the bus the wrong (clockwise) way around the island, and so glad i did, wow the mountains!!! Tip: You can get a mobile sim line to get you sorted with data and communication very easily. What I did was go to AT&T, bought a Prepaid line, i got the unlimited with hotspot $80, then you pay $80 in the store, they give you a sim, and that’s it. You then have to put a card for payments on your account online within three days. I keep my SA phone on roaming for now, and then went to Apple store and just bought a new phone. Easy peasy. Still waiting for my social security card, to open a bank account.
  5. 3 points
    Congrats, FranetteM! So exciting! I remember leaving the US Consulate after our successful interview and high fiving my wife under the US flag on a sunny Jozi afternoon like it was yesterday. It was sooooo crazy and surreal. An entire ocean of uncertainty lay ahead of us and now we are citizens with a 4-year-old girl and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Good luck and enjoy the ride!
  6. 3 points
    Hi everybody, got our passports back today. It's really happening! 🤠 [at]Heidi556 are you also clearing customs at JFK, or do you have a direct flight to Hawaii? Thank you to everybody here that shared their knowledge - without you we would definitely not have made it to the interview, as we would not have known the process has changed for submitting of forms! Also, the information regarding pets and pitbulls have really helped a lot. Everything you've shared really - thanks so much. Is anyone here familiar with Pennsylvania? Do you know of any Saffas there?
  7. 2 points
    Looks like when Delta retires its Boeing 777, it won't have an aircraft that can reliably make the return trip from Johannesburg, so they will fly TO Johannesburg, then to Cape Town, and the return trip to the USA will be from Cape Town. Cape Town - Lower altitude - means they can take off with more fuel. Nice option to fly from USA to Europe, then direct Europe to Cape Town on one of tDelta's Skyteam partners - e.g. Air France, KLM, and return direct from CPT on Delta. https://liveandletsfly.com/delta-triangle-route/?utm_source=BoardingArea&utm_medium=facebook&fbclid=IwAR0zKJ2rJvi04debDicVrUx_0SUNQLdPFSlTQCyPd2dOCW_cleVGMQdO4bs
  8. 2 points
    I’m not intolerant of people with different views. I am intolerant of people who are intolerant of people who are different. I don’t like Trump or his policies. You clearly do. That’s perfectly fine. We can talk like adults all day long about the appropriate course of action surrounding the immigration process during Covid-19 lockdowns, shutdowns, slowdowns, and social isolation. Stephen Miller, however, the subject at hand, is a racist xenophobe who hates immigrants. This is a fact. Not an opinion. It goes way beyond this latest Executive Order. Every action suggested or taken by this odious man is openly filtered through his well documented deep set prejudices, intolerance of immigrants, and other races. Most notably the Hispanic population, which he has openly and publicly vilified since his junior year at Santa Monica High School. If you want to defend his personal and public intolerances as being ‘patriotic’ or agree with his well documented prejudices, you are more than welcome to do so. If this makes me a “cry-baby Trump-hater” then bar is set so low, I’m not entirely sure who is capable of stooping low enough to pass that particular litmus test.
  9. 2 points
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/im-south-africa-spent-2-172420068.html
  10. 2 points
    The opposite perspective https://www.goodthingsguy.com/opinion/24-weird-things-south-africa/
  11. 2 points
    Final Update: My inlaws had their interview today at Johannesburg Consulate and visas were approved. They will be joining us later this month. The process took 15 months in total. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays!
  12. 2 points
    (I posted under DV Lottery as well so ignore if you have already read this) I cannot believe how quickly 2019 has passed by and the year is coming to a close. With the 2021 DV Lottery entrance applications complete, I wonder how many from our neck of the woods will be joining us in the USA. This may well be one of the last DV Lotteries. I want to share with you our progress to date. (After 8 years). This year has been good for us here in Hawaii. We have started on another building project on an adjacent piece of land we bought and the idea is to use the place as an Airbnb. Work wise, I still fly an ambulance around Hawaii and received a few work promotions this year. I've been in this job for 6 1/2 years. Annalise (my wife at 50) continues getting 4.0 GPA in the nursing program and finishes in May 2020. Its been a difficult 3 years for her, studying and running this household as a mother. Michael (24) has his BSc. In Aviation Management and is just finishing up his Commercial pilots license in Florida. He also works as an aircraft fueler to support himself and has been a Zipline guide for 4 years. Siobhan (22) has 2 degrees in English and Communication this year through University of Hawaii. Yesterday she went through MEPS medical selection process to join the US Coast Guard and is hoping for an Officer selection position. She has supported herself as a tour guide & ground crew with a helicopter company and as a Life Guard. Dylan (19) joined an exclusive Aviation Maintenance company in Everett Washington last week and plans on doing his Commercial pilots license while qualifying as an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic. He has learnt to weld and earned an income working as a Zipline guide. Jessica (16) continues at school but also works at a veterinary clinic 3 times a week to fund her pilots license. She has about 10 hours of flying time. Additionally she is a Sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol. (If you don't know what this is, google it & you need to get your teens enrolled) looking back to 2011 when our feet hit USA ground, I never in my wildest dreams thought that this family could achieve so much in so few years. America has opened doors and possibilities for my kids certainly not available in Africa. I write this so that you can see the abundance the USA has given us and be encouraged by it. Granted, like many of you, we went through the fire, but life has a way of showing you the path. Take it, you have nothing to lose. "Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it's the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill
  13. 2 points
    [at]FranetteM I was there just for an interview and to meet the company. Then I came back, resigned, and started with the big trek. The final move is on Sunday, very long flightS back to Hawaii. Mixed bag of emotions on this side I must say. [at]Heidi556 thanks, we'll probably only be in Honolulu for the layover which is short, but I'm sure we'll meet up sometime since those islands don't seem too massive. Glad to hear you're having a blast - I hope the rain has subsided since we last spoke.
  14. 2 points
    Hi everyone! My experience with social security card; it did not arrive automatically, had to go in to SSAdministration (there is one in Honolulu and Hilo), and you just complete a form, bring passport, did not need birth certificate. And it was in the mail two weeks later. Kallas, no mail gets delivered in rural Hilo/Mountain view, call USPS or ask locals, so find an address that you know works, this is also NB for green card. Regarding the green card; mine was sent to an address in Hilo, undeliverable, and was sent back to the mainland, have a new address now, so will hopefully arrive soonish. Otherwise all is well, been surfing, diving, hiking, running, and loving Hawaii. [at]Kallas When are you back on the islands, have you found a house, car, yet. Toyota or Ford? Shout if you and your family are in Honolulu, I’ll show you guys around a bit. [at]FranetteM Great, so it all went well for all of us on here this year, are you guys settled in, and finding the new place interesting?
  15. 2 points
    Good luck to everyone entering. May your dreams come true and your applications be successful. After entering the Visa lottery 11 times and never winning the lottery, I am not entering this year as my F3 application is nearing the Interview stage - YEAHHH!!
  16. 2 points
    I just finished my entry at LAX, all good, normal foreign passport line, and it was quick, like 10 minutes. Kallas, I am in Honolulu tonight, and renting a car tomorrow, need to go buy some stuff, what are your plans? I started a stopwatch when I got in the car in SA, have now commuted 38 hours, only semi sleep on plane, and have another 5 hours to Honolulu 😜
  17. 2 points
    We sent our cat separately via KLM, because they have an “animal hotel” at schipohl where cats go into larger cages while their traveling crates are cleaned and dogs actually taken for a walk on a special lawn area. All klm staff handing animals go for training and annual refresher training at one of the Dutch vet schools. Not sure if Emirates does anything similar? A direct flight from SA is still very, very long of course. There is no doubt it’s a traumatic experience for the pets no matter which way it gets done, but that seems to get forgotten quickly thankfully.
  18. 2 points
    Ok that makes sense now, it’s not the “first time ESTA” that’s relevant, it’s the “visitors with visas other than b1/B2” that makes that line the correct one.
  19. 2 points
    Thanks for all the info. I got through JFK immigration quite quickly - followed the ESTA "first entry" signs. Took me about an hour. Officer was super chilled again, hardly any questions and very friendly. I'm currently in Honolulu and fly back on Thursday - by far the longest flights I've been on, super draining, but good to be here.
  20. 2 points
    [at]Kallas Awesome, yes cheaper especially from LA. I will also be in Hilo in October and November. So Hilo is on the Big Island. And on the islands, generally the North Eastern side is the windward side, with more rain and lush, whereas the South Western parts can be drier (from what I see that is what Big Island and Oahu is like). The shore is just rocky, black volcanic rock, not sandy white. But Hilo sounds so cool. [at]FranetteM Yes, I’m packing in, flying on the 23rd of this month, very excited. I’m into diving, underwater photography, and all things ocean, so taking my diving gear, two spearguns, and a big Pelican case. Called the airline to let them know of these items and no problem, they give you a better rate if you book oversize or extra luggage before hand.
  21. 2 points
    I have found that people really enjoy a different accent - and in all of my work environments, there has been not just acceptance of it, but appreciation. Diversity is highly valued in most US workforces - companies have a big focus on it. I once presented to a group along with some of my colleauges (who famously gave me an English>American dictionary as a joke gift), and said something like 'nought to 100' instead of 'zero to 100' - and I saw my colleagues crack up. I later asked them whether I should focus on using the US lingo - and they all said 'NO' - they all understood what I meant, and it was refreshing to hear things differently. That said, I have changed much of my vocab (post has become mail, queue has become line, lift has become elevator and so on) just because that is what you hear all around. Subtle changes to accent too - as SJ272 says, with the 'Rs'. Don't however, try and cultivate an American accent - it will come off as phony - and is totally unnecessary.
  22. 2 points
    Thank you [at]oscar and [at]SJ272 for your valuable input. It gives me a lot to think about. So, regarding benefits - if my husband is employed with benefits, does it mean that I can latch onto that for medical (like in SA)? Yes, Oscar, I get your point regarding the accent. I didn't think of that before, but I can imagine how that may be a problem. I'm actually practicing my American English, also need to be aware of the different words that can make a huge difference, for example we went to Hershey Park with American friends and I was saying how long the "Q's" were and just got blank stares 😂 Only realised later that they talk about a "line" and not a "Q". Can't anticipate everything though, will have to learn as we go along. Regarding the tours - my idea is not to open a travel agency per se. Like SJS272 said - it's more about getting a group of people travelling together that doesn't want to bother with self drive. For example, I used to have clients from Canada that visited SA once a year and they would book my tour bus upfront for about a week. So I'll do all the driving. Airport transfers, daily excursions wherever they wanted to go, Dinner transfers, Tours, etc. Yes, they were wealthy, but what people don't realize, is that if you're a group and you split the costs, it is not so expensive per person and better to hire a bus with a driver than to rent 2 or 3 cars and then they have to drive on the 'wrong' side of the road as well. Also, the way it works is that the clients don't pay me any commission - I negotiate better rates with my network partners. The clients don't pay extra than what they would have if they have booked online. In many cases, I can actually reduce the cost for them and they get the benefit of having a tailor made tour. The 'challenge' here for me was that wealthy clients actually don't really care about the cost (especially if they earn $), and trying to convince people that they can actually save money doing it this way without it being a scam is really tricky to market.
  23. 2 points
    Update: Replied on the RFE from USCIS with a copy of the original marriage certificate and another copy of the marriage certificate, clearly explaining that all the needed information is listed since it is the long form even without the word “unabridged” Case was approved on July 3rd. Yay!!
  24. 2 points
    One thing that we hadn’t encountered in SA but saw a lot here, is the use of software as a first filter on job applications. Today on LinkedIn I saw this article that gives some tips around this, and thought it might be useful for those of you entering the job market here - https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/how-to-defeat-resume-sorting-robots-4680164/
  25. 2 points
    [at]Kallas, they don’t list financial documents because everyone is so different - what they need from a 24-year-old IT graduate will be very different to what they need from a 65-year old retiree, for example. You will need to show you won’t be a public charge in the US ie you can support yourself. As Heidi says a I134 is one option, they almost never used to ask about this in SA but seems they do more now (I am guessing part of the reason is that the rand has fallen so much that converting SA assets is much less favorable than it used to be). But any sensible approach will work - an i134 or job offer would be solid, or bring proof of your assets in SA that you will be able to liquidate and take (House, shares etc). If you have a degree and/or work experience in a field that should be easy to get work in, that will help of course even if you don’t have a job offer yet (most people don’t get one before they move). In addition to what Oscar says about income, if you have significant assets to liquidate- I would suggest try do that before you become a green card holder. If you do it afterwards, you may also be liable for capital gains tax in the US (probably not on your house as the effective primary residence exemption is much higher in the US, but possibly on financial assets. However if you start renting out your house after you are gone, you will afaik lose the primary residence CGT exemption both in SA and US so be aware of the tax implications of that. It may be worth getting a quick tax consultation on these issues before you leave.) Note that unless your SA income is particularly high, the double tax agreement (if you have paid tax in SA) and foreign income exemption (I think it’s around $100k a year, maybe a little higher now) should usually mean you don’t have to actually pay tax on it in the US even though you have to declare it to the IRS. Be sure to investigate all the nuances of the current situation about whether or not you need to financially emigrate, given that for now you plan to keep assets/have income in SA. good luck!
  26. 2 points
    There are years when they draw more people than they need to fill the quota of 50000 visas a year - when that happens, not everyone who has been selected gets an interview. Those are the years that high case numbers are risky. It happens every so often, it seems quite difficult for them to predict it accurately. There have also been years when they don’t fill the quota as not enough people process.
  27. 2 points
    It's been many years since I last posted on this site. Life in Hawaii has been good to us. Climate is perfect Year round. My oldest 2 kids are getting close to finishing university and the youngest son entered college and my youngest daughter is still in school. My wife, at 48, is doing her nursing degree. I'm still flying an ambulance. Life's good. To top it all, my wife and I attended our USA Citizenship ceremony on Tuesday. We are Americans. "Life, Liberty & the persuit of happiness"
  28. 1 point
    So, the hopefuls will have to wait another week. Results were not due to be released today (01 May), but next Tuesday, 05 May. At least these days they can do an instant check online and know. In the days I entered, you were notified by snail mail - and with the SA Post Office.....I wonder how many notifications went astray. Fortunately mine did not.
  29. 1 point
    Ok not sure if it would be seen as advertising so I’ll PM you the details
  30. 1 point
    My tax guy in Cape Town was really good navigating SARS/money moving in and out etc, lmk if you want a recommendation for some advice.
  31. 1 point
  32. 1 point
    Agreed. The lottery drawing, and access to your results are both virtual anyhow, so there would likely be no reason why the results could not be available online as planned. The visa appointments only start in October this year - and can continue until September 2021. As SJ272 says, if we are still in the same situation now, in a year's time, we have bigger problems! The people who are more concerned are those who were drawn, and who are waiting their immigration visa appointment now - and which MUST be done by September THIS year - but even then, that is 6 months still, when visas can be issued.
  33. 1 point
    [at]Kallas, it sounds like something has gone wrong (happens occasionally) and you will need to go into a SSA office to get yourself on the system. Take your passport with the immigrant visa with you.
  34. 1 point
    Ours took just over four weeks to arrive which was in 2005. I believe they are much quicker now. The Green cards took about 6 weeks. This was around Thanksgiving time. So we only initially stayed in the US for a week and then went back to SA for three months. For newer folks, the process is a bit quicker. I know as someone used our address and their SSN Cards arrived within a week of their arrival.
  35. 1 point
    Do it! Do it ALL!!! So glad to hear about your adventures. We’re just finishing up our first trip to Mexico! Met soooo many Canadians down here, that now we just HAVE to head north and visit some old friends and new friends on the other side of the other wall! Maybe on our way up to visit Alaska. Still plenty of places to go in between the northern and southern borders, but that blue passport needs some more stamps!
  36. 1 point
    Good to hear, [at]Kallas Hope the interview went well!
  37. 1 point
    So exciting! I’ve been to the Big Island. It’s awesome. Very chilled and less touristy than Maui and Oahu. Lots of diversity in geography and vegetation. We stayed mostly in Kailua-Kona, spent a day in Waimea, and then the rest of our time in Pãhoa, south of Hilo. Sadly, we didn’t get to spend any time in Hilo itself. Drove through it couple times and it’s quite pretty. Yeah, not so many white sandy beaches there, mostly rocky bays and awesome rock pools. Great for snorkeling and diving. Most of the good beaches are attached to hotels and resorts, but the public has full access to them. The biggest issue with access to almost all of the beaches and rock pools is parking, which is either always full, or faaaar away. Especially in the residential areas, where non-residents have to park outside the suburb and walk through to the beach or pools.
  38. 1 point
    [at]FranetteM Yebo, I paid the $220 USCIS immigrant fee online, you can pay with a SA card no problem. But you need your alien registration number that is on the visa.
  39. 1 point
    The DA is trying to improve the service to South Africans living abroad in getting a new passport quicker. Please sign the petition if you are interested. Here is the link https://petitions.da.org.za/p/capablehomeaffairsabroad
  40. 1 point
    [at]FranetteM Great. Yes that is the consulate in Sandton City. Cool, saw the Capital Empire, walked past it on the way, nicely done.
  41. 1 point
    About time. I knew a few people who never reported rental income.
  42. 1 point
    Yip, huge relief, now to recover from the financial knock from the medicals and interview fees! I only realised on Tuesday that it's $330 per person, and we're a family of four. Good luck [at]FranetteM, if you have all your docs you have nothing to worry about, they're really chilled.
  43. 1 point
    Kallas, everyone's interview time slot for that day will be 8:30. It is not individual slots. If I can suggest, be there early, as you are allowed IN from your position in the line outside. If 'interviewees' before you take longer than expected, it will sure delay you as well. Good Luck
  44. 1 point
    Hi, yes I think you will be fine. There is also a Gautrain to the airport that will save you time. I will then make sure to be in the queue at the consulate earlier to be in front of everyone. You should be fine.
  45. 1 point
    Good luck with all the planning and packing, Just remember to Disclose rental income on your IRS Tax return. From the date of arrival in the US. Once you become a green card holder or US citizen all income received from anywhere in the world is taxable.
  46. 1 point
    Same, in fact the school district is more strict on what they will accept than what the DMV will accept for real ID!! My oldest is starting college in fall so we have just been through this..in excruciating detail lol. It’s both the school and the absolute score that count (SAT/ACT for example will be ranked according to national percentiles). My daughter’s school is a high performing one so they actually don't rank, but the school profile gives an average gpa, highest gpa, number of APs offered etc. This is both to compare you against your peers but also to highlight for those schools where kids just don’t have the same opportunities (for example: a kid takes 3 AP classes. That means something totally different if kid comes from a school that only offers 3 AP classes, or from one that offers 20. So a kid who does well at a poor school is not doomed by his school or the fact that his grades look bad vs people at better resourced schools.) it’s also worth pointing out that colleges get so many top scoring kids applying that it’s not just the academics that count, but what kids do extramurally, how they perform at those activities, volunteer hours, leadership, part time jobs, etc etc, as well as your application essays. (For example, my daughter got into a college that one of her classmates who has a GPA about 0.3 better than her got rejected from. ) The upside of the affluent area schools is that the schools are well known and the counselors, despite having hundreds of kids each to look after at the school, also generally know what they’re doing. A good number of kids from my daughter’s class got into Ivies/Stanford/MIT this year, and a good deal more into top 30 colleges. But with admit rates around 5-6% for the top universities and so many good applicants, it’s always a bit of a lottery anyway. A Harvard admissions dean has said that they could make up an equally qualified freshman class from the reject pile. The other side of the coin is that there are actually many good universities in the US - the “LACs” - that are not as famous as the ivies but are often considered close to being peers, and there are also many good big universities out there as well. USnews, which has the most widely used college ranking, also has a separate ranking for LACs, as well as regional colleges. For example, in the Bay Area there is Santa Clara university, that I had never heard of before, but you have to have a very good gpa to get in and it’s highly regarded locally. There are these types of regional colleges all round the US.
  47. 1 point
    That number of DV visas for South Africa up to the end of April is actually quite high compared to prior years, but should still not cause any concern. From 01 Oct - end April = 7 of 12 months = 179 visas For DV2017, a total of 215 visas were issued in 12 of 12 months (i.e. by end September) For DV2016, a total of 182 visas were issued in 12 of 12 months (i.e. by end September) For DV2015, the total was 197, for DV2014, the total was 211 (despite the fact that over 1 000 South Africans were actually drawn that year). (These numbers are the total for those with South Africa as country of chargeability, so includes not only those visas issued in Johannesburg, but visas issued to South Africans at other posts, such as London, as well as those already in the USA on some other type of visa - i.e. non-immigrant, who did a change of status) Also, these are the total DV visas, both the primary and derivatives. So, if over a 1 000 people were drawn, and only 211 visas issued (includes visas issued to spouses and children of those drawn), it shows how few actually pursue it.
  48. 1 point
    Congratulations... (I think...). I was selected in 2008 with a very high number, and I was already in the process of moving to the UK - so I did. My number became current - and only just with about 200 to spare - in the very last month, so I proceeded with the visa. However, I had settled very well into the UK, and was on the fence for quite a while before deciding to leave there and move to the USA. To be honest, still not sure I made the right decision, but I do feel the opportunities and outlook here have been excellent. I was in the UK for about 2 years before the actual move to the USA, so not long enough to get citizenship there, so no option of going back now. I presume you may have by now - so that will always be open to you. One of the things that made me really decide was how rare the opportunity to move - Green Card in hand - to the USA actually is, and clearly the universe was giving me a message. Perhaps, being drawn TWICE now - you are getting a message too! Good luck with it all, whatever eventually happens.
  49. 1 point
    .....and Breathe. We have been selected but with quite a high number. We won in 2014 but chose to stay in UK. Not sure about whether we will even become current with our number but you never know!
  50. 1 point
    Judging from other forums it’s the usual issue of the server being overloaded for a couple of days. Good luck to all SA entrants!
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