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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/27/2019 in all areas

  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. 4 points
    Hopefully we get a new President in January!
  3. 4 points
    I haven't frequented this forum much, I've been using a different one. But I finally got selected today. The website was surprisingly easier to access than other years. My case [previously wrote “confirmation”] number is 24xxx. It will be interesting to see how DV21 will look like during the pandemic, and the new orders. Good luck to everyone else.
  4. 3 points
    I know that this isn't a political forum, but that's a really obtuse thing to say. Partisan opinions aside, but the current US president is nothing short of Jacob Zuma. They're both accidents that should have never happened.
  5. 3 points
    You live in a very blue state, so your vote wont make a difference. If you don't like the change you can always consider moving back to Orania
  6. 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!
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 2 points
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/im-south-africa-spent-2-172420068.html
  12. 2 points
    The opposite perspective https://www.goodthingsguy.com/opinion/24-weird-things-south-africa/
  13. 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!
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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?
  17. 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!!
  18. 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.
  19. 1 point
    Here is a link to the US Post office mail suspensions to various Countries. https://about.usps.com/newsroom/service-alerts/international/welcome.htm?_gl=1*1jrezdl*_gcl_dc*R0NMLjE1OTg2MTYyNTYuNDM3ZWQ1ZGM2YzEyMWFkN2YyOWQ4YTk0OWVhNGNjNGQ
  20. 1 point
    Sounds like a feckless election push, especially considering significant changes like these would require an act of Congress and will almost certainly be challenged and lose in court. As always. Not that Trump, given his incoherent word salad of a statement, seems to even know The difference between a “bill” and an “executive order”... so it’ll be interesting to see how his own party reacts if he issues an order in favor of DACA protections. Having said that, I would put nothing past the current administration to push way beyond the very limits of a Executive power and do absolutely anything before November, especially given the GOP’s complete and utter lack of interest in anything but federal judge appointments in the Senate. Not to mention fearing for their own political fortunes ahead of Nov, which could very well be a Senate blowout akin to the House blowout in 2018.
  21. 1 point
    I tell you, the way this year has been going I wouldn’t be surprised to switch on the news and watch Godzilla taking out the Golden Gate Bridge .
  22. 1 point
    It sounds like speculation not official tbh. They can’t just change the criteria for DV like that, it has to be a random selection of the entrants. They would have to change the eligibility criteria first to do it that way and that involves changing the law as far as I understand. And obviously lawyers would be all over it if there was any official directive to stop people naturalizing. I think it’s someone misunderstanding (or sensationalizing) the covid office and ASC closures that are holding up interviews, ceremonies and biometric appointments until everything reopens.
  23. 1 point
    What is the source of this information? The interviews and ceremonies are stopped due to no in person USCIS events/appointments taking place till June 4. I don’t think it’s true background checks etc have stopped as on another website people are reporting progress reports still being updated on their N400 applications in the past few weeks. There were also reports of offices like I think Pittsburg contacting those who’ve passed interview and waiting for ceremony/had ceremony rescheduled, to let USCIS know if they would be able to make ceremonies at short notice once they restarted so it sounds like they’re actually trying to catch up.
  24. 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.
  25. 1 point
    I sent you a DM Take Care
  26. 1 point
    Oscar, may I ask what industry you work in? That’s very interesting... I am also particularly interested as my daughter is at college in NYC and I really hope she can go back properly in fall...
  27. 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.
  28. 1 point
    I’m one of the few who has no patience for watching videos on the internet so I don’t know what britsimon says in that one. I would assume the draw would go ahead as normal, but processing of visas will depend on the status of embassies (and USCIS offices for those in the US). To be honest, if everything is still shut down by the time FY DV2021 actually begins in October, I think we will all have much bigger things to be worrying about.
  29. 1 point
    This might help : http://britsimonsays.com/will-the-lottery-be-cancelled/
  30. 1 point
    I think is a good move. Last week SAA flew back planeload of SouthAfricans from Wuhan, China. If SA can prevent Foreign Nationals in the country that may have the virus, their health care system will be overwhelmed. it may ding the economy. We have fallen into a Global recession anyway, So good for them for taking the initiative. My family who works in Cape Town were asked if they can work from home, and what computer equipment will they need to be set up. so this is a good move as the Covid -19 will be with us for the next 8 weeks to six months. in Manhattan, NY. The metro is running virtually empty at the moment. It sounds like a lot of restaurants, bars and nightclubs will be closed down pretty soon.
  31. 1 point
    ....and President Ramaphosa just announced pretty drastic measures in SA - including banning foreign nationals from entering SA from certain countries - including the USA. So, if somone did not keep their SA citizenship, for example, they are now unable to go to SA. SA nationals still can....but may be subject to quarantine.
  32. 1 point
    Company policy for COVID -2019 The situation with Coronavirus (COVID-2019) is an important public health issue and our paramount concern is the wellbeing and safety of our employees and agents. is actively monitoring all available information related to the outbreak. While there are a number of countries around the world where the virus is particularly prevalent, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to believe that the risk to the American public, domestically, is currently low. However, this situation continues to evolve. Therefore, all employees, agents, and others should familiarize themselves with the facts about the Coronavirus, including signs and symptoms of the disease and known manners of transmission. Until we know more, The Company is taking a number of steps and issuing the following guidance: Travel and Events Effective immediately, all international business travel is temporarily suspended. Should you have international travel already planned, or are currently traveling, a member of our business travel team will contact you directly. If you have visited, had a layover in, or are returning from one of the countries listed by the CDC in the last month – whether for personal or business reasons – or you have had extended close contact with an individual who has (e.g., a household/family member), you must notify your HR Business Partner prior to returning to work. You may be required to work at home for a period of time of up to two weeks due to the potential 14-day incubation period after exposure identified by the CDC. Domestic business travel is not impacted at this time. However, we ask that you speak with your manager and use appropriate judgment about whether the travel plans are necessary. Please consider using the company’s video and audio-conferencing technologies as an alternative. We are encouraging the postponement of any international personal travel to places identified by the CDC, and should you or a household/family member decide to travel, you must notify your HR Business Partner prior to returning to work. You may be required to work at home for a period of time of up to two weeks due to the potential 14-day incubation period after exposure identified by the CDC. We realize that there are a number of company and external conferences and events booked. The company will monitor and review on an event-by-event basis. We will endeavor to message a decision about each event approximately 10 days in advance of the date of that event. Driving the decision will be, as always, the health and safety of our employees and agents. Doing Your Part If you or a family member feel you may have come in contact with an infected person or a location that has been identified where an infected person may have been present, please stay home, contact your health care provider immediately, and reach out to your HR Business Partner. You may be required to work at home for a period of time of up to two weeks due to the potential 14-day incubation period after exposure identified by the CDC. As always, please exercise proper hygiene measures, such as hand washing and using hand sanitizer. Most importantly, if you feel ill with cold/flu-like symptoms, please inform your manager and do not come to the office. Our Offices and Technology All of our offices remain open for business and our employees and agents are encouraged to continue business as usual. However, because this is a developing issue, we ask that, if possible, employees and agents bring home their laptops and any other items required for work each evening in case of the need to work from home. If you’re unsure whether your responsibilities can be performed from home, please consult with your manager. ensure your account is current and your log-in credentials are up to date. Ensure your personal details are up to date, particularly your personal email and cellphone number. If this information is not up to date, please update it. As noted, this is a rapidly evolving health issue and you are strongly encouraged to stay informed about the situation. In addition to information from the media, other resources are available on the CDC’s website. Additional updates from the company, will be shared in the days ahead, and you can find these and more on as they become available. Thank you for your understanding and support during this evolving situation. Your health and that of your families is of the utmost importance. As we stated yesterday to all employees on March 3, the situation with Coronavirus is an important public health issue and our paramount concern is the well-being and safety of our employees and agents. In addition to the steps we outlined in the email, and with an abundance of caution, we have decided to take additional steps related to internal and external meetings. For the remainder of the month of March, we are going to limit holding any large company meetings—which we are defining as 20 or more people—while we monitor the situation and see how it evolves during the rest of the month. This means that any large company meetings that are already planned for March should either be canceled or postponed and if possible, held virtually. For all other meetings, please consider using teleconference or videoconference capabilities whenever possible. In addition, employees who are scheduled to attend external meetings in March should cancel their plans, and if possible, attend these meetings virtually. This includes industry conferences, training sessions, and gatherings with third parties such as vendors and suppliers. We recognize this additional direction will be a disruption to business as usual activities. However, we believe it is the best course of action while we monitor this developing situation, and we ask for your close cooperation as we continue to take steps to carefully manage our overall response in support of the entire company. We will continue to share additional updates in the days ahead, as they become available. Thank you for your understanding,
  33. 1 point
    just a suggestion, will depend on your current work/age. Get your latest pension and retirement annuity statements showing what it is worth. that might just be more than enough. it is savings.
  34. 1 point
    Hahaha! Yeah, I’m old enough to remember GST in SA too. I reckon shelf checkout was probably the biggest “whoa! wtf” moment for us. Did it a few times in the UK, but they seemed to have a wonky sort of weight checking mechanic for each item mechanic that didn’t seem work more than it did. Much like pumping your own gas, I just can’t go back. I’m also enjoying the online and touchscreen ordering systems that more and more places are rolling out.
  35. 1 point
    Hi, it's some gas stations in NYC but not all. In New Jersy, there is no self-service. They do not expect tips and its not mandatory to tip them. But its quite nice to get your windshield washed.
  36. 1 point
    Congratulations! The journey from DV to Citizen done and dusted! It feels good to travel on that blue passport! I also did the Global Entry once I had it - makes arriving back in the USA so quick and easy. Don't forget to go to the SS offices to update your status to citizen. I did it in San Rafael, and I was in and out in about 45 mins. You obviously just missed out on voting this November, but you are all set for the big one next November! Congrats again.
  37. 1 point
    Fabulous update! Thank you for posting!
  38. 1 point
    Hi Kallas, not sure whether you have been sorted by now. We had the same problem. We arrived 17 Oct and when we went to the Social Security Admin after almost 2 weeks, we were told we're not in the system yet. We had our passports with us and also our unabridged birth certificates. That is basically all the info they ask for. It was really quick to apply and we received our SSN's yesterday, which is basically a week later.
  39. 1 point
    If you have a confirmation number you’re fine. Good luck!
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 1 point
    It’s for immigrants. Among the people who are probably going to be most affected by this are diversity visa applicants, who generally don’t already have jobs and sponsors when they move, unless they already have a good few thousand dollars spare in savings. That said I have seen some threads about how citizens really game the Obamacare subsidies to get insurance for their parents that they are immigrating, and from my understanding that won’t be allowable as an avenue to prove insurance under this. From the horse’s mouth: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-protecting-healthcare-benefits-american-citizens/ The rah-rah blurb takes up most of it but the important bit is this part: Immigrant visa applicants will have to demonstrate that they will be covered by health insurance within thirty days of entering the country or have the financial resources to pay for medical costs. Applicants will be required to meet these requirements before being issued an immigrant visa. A number of exceptions will be made, such as for children of American citizens.
  43. 1 point
    Finally! So excited for you! It really is such an awesome experience and wonderful milestone on this insane journey we on this forum have chosen to take.
  44. 1 point
    Ah, yes, the Paramount. They had all of those doing the naturalization ceremony sit downstairs - and I was directed to a specific seat (this made sense later - as after the oath, they brought the naturalization certificates to the row you were in, and we each received ours there - so they knew who was sitting where) - i.e. you couldn't choose your seat. Guests were seated upstairs on the balcony, so you couldn't see them, nor they you, really, unless they were near the front etc, but you could join up afterwards. You will know about any other South Africans, as they start reading out the represented countries alphabetically, and you stand when your country is called, although you remain standing, so it is also hard to see who stands at the same time as you. Once all the countries are standing, you take the oath, and then all sit down again as Americans. They had quite an entertainment program with a band on stage playing 'This land is your land', the National Anthem etc. All in all, it was over in about 40 mins or so. Be prepared for the throng of vendors outside, selling special folders for your certificate, passport covers, even people to take your photo for your passport etc. Enjoy!
  45. 1 point
    Very exciting SJ272 - you are very close now. I did my ceremony in the Bay Area - and it was huge - over 800 people there, but a very nicely done ceremony. Yes, there were passport people there - and there was a part of the ceremony where they asked those who were applying for passports to make an oath en masse - so it was a simple question of handing in the form afterwards. I don't remember the voter registration, but they could well have been there - it was very crowded - 1000's of people with those natuarlizing and their guests etc. Also go to the Social Security office soon after to change your status to citizen - they do remind you to do that. It is a very nice feeling to have that certificate in hand, and even nicer to receive your USA passport! Enjoy.
  46. 1 point
    Ok, so our tickets are all sorted. We're flying on 16 Oct! Can hardly wait, but the house is in a terrible state! 🙈
  47. 1 point
    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 😜
  48. 1 point
    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.
  49. 1 point
    Thank you. I'm never going to get used to saying "I'm from America" 😂
  50. 1 point
    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"
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