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SJ272 last won the day on June 12

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About SJ272

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  1. SJ272


    Randomly, cvs does home delivery here now, both prescriptions and general stuff from the store. I don’t know if it’s a state by state thing..
  2. SJ272


    Sounds great, Oscar! We will probably retire to NYC (I understand this is opposite to what many do!) My older kid starts college there in the fall and we have family there, and spend a lot of time there anyway and now we will spend more, haha. Other than midsummer humidity, I love it.
  3. SJ272


    [at]oscar, did you move? [at]Heidi556, you’d be amazed what you can get here. The only things I never seem to be able to find are jelly tots, though you may have to look at a variety of stores to find what you need (world market, various online stores, special local delis - the British shop in Santa Monica has a whole SA section, we have someone local who makes wors and melktert and yes real biltong, another one who sells bunny chow, etc. ) let us know when you’ve booked your ticket! So exciting!
  4. 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/
  5. SJ272


    [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!
  6. SJ272


    [at]Heidi556, when we went they took the copies of all documents except the police certificate where they wanted the original - is this still the case?
  7. SJ272


    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.
  8. SJ272


    Oh, another good source is citydata forums, per city. Those can often give really good feedback about what’s good and what isn't, for anything about the cities, including schools,. I looked up Rockville on greatschools and it seems to have some pretty good schools, and some pretty poor ones. I guess in that sense it’s maybe similar to Oakland, which has some really excellent schools, and some really bad ones. These kind of cases might be good to get some on the ground feedback about what to watch out for, especially if there is any leeway in the zoning per school (for example, in some districts if a school is full they may send children to a school in the same district they’re not actually zoned for. That’s ok if all the schools are rated 8 or 9 or 10, but not if some of them are 3 or 4 or 5.)
  9. SJ272


    Yep, with public schools it’s critical to ensure you are zoned in the right area.
  10. SJ272


    [at]Kallas first, take a chance and submit your medical bill to medical aid, we did not expecting anything and got about half of it back! Daycare varies tremendously depending where you are. We have some excellent pre-K options where we live, we haven’t used them as our kids were older, but friends have. They are not cheap though, and the better ones will fill up and have waiting lists. Some families do a “nanny share”, where 2 or sometimes 3 families (depending on # of children) combine to pay one nanny to look after them at alternative homes. Some families find it more economical to have say one parent working half day and only paying for part time childcare. So there are various options. The upside is once your kids are old enough for kindergarten (= grade R) they can go to public school and it’s totally free. You will want to research school districts properly to avoid various issues though, as the quality of public schools can vary widely. (For example, the issues Oscar talks about are not something I’ve ever heard anyone mention in our town. Our principals are responsive and bullying by anyone is absolutely not tolerated. Speaking from personal experience seeing how a bully was dealt with at my younger kid’s school.) greatschools.org is a good resource, there are others too. That’s for when your kids are older, but you may find it feeds back down into daycare/preK level in the same districts.
  11. SJ272


    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.
  12. SJ272


    Hi Heidz, congrats on another selection! May I ask, how old are your kids? It often seems to be the case that children (and certainly dogs, after the stress of the trip itself) settle much easier than parents as they tend to have ready made structure, routine, social circles etc from school.
  13. SJ272


    New visa bulletin out -all numbers are now current.
  14. SJ272


    Yes, scan and send the originals and take them plus copies to the interview.
  15. SJ272


    1. No. Weirdly, Verizon somehow did (so we could get cell contracts immediately) but generally no. For some countries you can use your Amex credit history but SA is not one of those. It’s usually difficult to get a mortgage with less than 2 years credit history, but some specialist credit providers have ways of doing it for new immigrants. If you have no luck with your bank, ask your realtor to recommend one of these. You should have an easier time getting a car loan. (Suggest getting one even if you don’t need it to help build your credit record.) 2. (No idea, sorry) 3. SS card is usually pretty quick, a couple of weeks. Plastic green card is 1-2 months, but your stamped immigrant visa becomes a temporary green card valid for a year after you enter. 4. Your GC is indeed the only work authorization you need. You will need to know your SSN number though as that is how employers verify everything, so in practical terms you usually can’t start work till you have that.
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