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Malamute last won the day on July 19

Malamute had the most liked content!

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About Malamute

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  • Birthday 12/10/1963

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    Denver, CO
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    Dec 2008
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  1. Malamute


    That IS a low number of South Africans drawn - lowest I've seen for at least a decade, (in 2014, there were over 1 000). Also a low number of people notified. The last time it was around 84k was 2017, then all numbers for Africa were current by the May, so you are definitely in with a pretty good chance, despite a fairly high number. Yes, I did two trips before the 'final' trip. 8 months in total between the first trip when I landed on the visa, and the 'final' landing, with the intermediate trip done at the 5 month mark.
  2. Malamute


    Congratulations, Kallas It can all start out to be quite daunting, and everyone seems to get VERY nervous about the interview (and there IS a lot at stake) - but for most people, like yourself, it is really almost anti-climactic, and so simple. People get themselves in knots about it, thinking it HAS to be more complicated, it HAS to be more difficult.....but it isn't. Key is being prepared with documentation, and the rest is really a breeze. Let the adventure begin!
  3. Malamute


    I do know that when I had my interview (which was the days before you sent the documents beforehand) - they were very specific about it being unabridged, and the machine printed one. I had, some years earlier, obtained an unabridged certificate, but it was filled in by hand by Home Affairs - and I had to get another - and now, of course, they are all machine printed. But yes, my understanding is that it must be the unabridged version. I would suggest applying for that asap - but keep your interview appointment, and take what you have. They could put you in administrative processing - i.e. approve everything, but not approve/issue the visa until that outstanding document is supplied. As your visa must be issued by 30 September, or you lose it, get the application in immediately. You could find that they are lenient and grant the visa on the basis of what you have, but unlikely....but you may be lucky.
  4. Malamute


    Congratulations, Oscar - and enjoy the change. I'm so glad I've moved around a bit in the States - I know of quite a few South Africans who moved to the States - and to a random city/state because that is where they got their first job etc, and just stayed there. Atlanta, the San Francisco Bay Area, and now Colorado have all been very different, and it is quite liberating to reinvent your life in a new place - it is for me, anyhow. New York is a great springboard to get anywhere in the world - including hopping on the direct flight to SA - especially now that United will be starting direct to Cape Town too.
  5. Malamute


    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.
  6. Malamute


    Heidz - happy to share my timeline, as far as I remember: - May 2007 - sold my house in SA, got my UK visa (Highly Skilled visa at the time), and then received my DV 2008 notification (number was AF62XXX - so very similar to yours) - Sep 2007 - Moved to the UK (with dogs....they went to France, where I also stayed for a while - to get through quarantine etc) - Sep 2008 - Obtained the actual DV visa at the US consulate in London - Dec 2008 - Actually landed and validated that visa in the USA. 10 day trip, returned to UK (applied for Social Security card while in the USA, but actual plastic GC had not arrived) - May 2009 - Made a 5 day visit to the USA (The Visa, once stamped, is valid as a GC for one year, so that was my entry document). I did this trip so that I was not absent from the USA longer than 6 months - if you are, the 'clock' to the 5 year wait for citizenship resets. I had already resigned my job in the UK to move over to the USA, but had to work a 3 month notice period. - August 2009 - Arrived for good in the USA. I still did no have my plastic GC (Turns out later, it HAD arrived at my friend months earlier - but her husband had carefully filed it away for me in his office, neglecting to tell her.....). I still, therefore, entered on my visa. They questioned me about it, but no big deal, and let me through. - Oct 2013 - Applied for US citizenship (just less than 90 days before the 5 year initial arrival in the USA) - Jan 2014 - Naturalized as a citizen Agree with SJ272 - kids and dogs will settle. Although the logistics are more complex, it is much easier to feel at home quickly here in the USA if the whole family unit (including canines) are here together. You will be moving in various circles (schools, work etc, so will have multiple channels to build relationships). I moved on my own. It was fine - logistics much easier (My dogs both passed away before I moved full time to the USA - it WAS complex moving them from SA) - but when you are on your own, you only have yourself to rely on too - and the onus is on you soley to build friendships etc. (Bringing dogs into the USA is a breeze - no quarantine, and easy to meet health requirements). Depending on where you move to, finding a house with a fully enclosed yard for them, is a bit more challenging - especially if you are looking to rent - with dogs. (Americans like the open feel in neighborhoods) - but you certainly can find them. Enjoy the wine - and the braai!
  7. Malamute


    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.
  8. Malamute


    Also, even 'though the email may contain only the first 5 images, you can follow the link in the email to your 'dashboard' - where you can see ALL the mail due - as well as select to view all packages due, and when previous packages arrived. It is a great service, and often think of how hopeless the SA postal service is in comparison. Also, it isn't linked to the hold of mail while you are away - also free of charge - so the Informed Delivery service can continue into perpetuity if you want.
  9. Malamute


    FranetteM, as Shaun points out, landlords are entitled to place conditions on renting (including not alloweing pets at all, or certain breeds, size only etc). It is the same with aparment complexes, and insurance companies, who can place conditions, or not insure you etc. This is true for pets. There is a different ruling for service dogs, where your right to have a service animal in a home, even if the landlord does not permit 'pets' is protected under the Americans with disabilities act, and there is another ruling for emotional support animals. However these protections don't apply for most animals - i.e. pets. State law doesn't control those areas of law, but state law, county law or city law can either ban a breed (i.e. you cannot have that breed present in the state, county or city, or not. Sometimes the state doesn't have a law on it either way, but a particular county or city does. I'm sure you will be fine - people live all over with dogs of all types - and clearly you know the limitations of your own dog's sociability.
  10. Malamute


    As far as the ban on certain breeds of dogs - it isn't as easy as knowing a ban state by state. As you will see by the link SJ272 has posted, the ban can be by county and/or by city as well. Until about a year ago, the city I live in banned pitbulls. Denver itself still does, as do a number of other cities in the metro area. In addition to that, it is VERY hard to get an apartment lease with a pit bull in most places - or get a landlord to agree - even in areas where they are not banned - their insurance usually bans a bunch of breeds - I have had the same problem - although I don't have pit bulls. When I bought my house, I went through 6 or 7 home owner insurance companies before I found one that would accept my breed of dog. BUT - all is possible - so you will be fine - but your choices of where to stay etc may be limited to 5% of the available places. Many places have a total ban on pets, or a weight restriction - e.g. dogs under 20lbs only (this one makes no sense to me). Cats are even more restricted. SJ272 mentions that there is much more 'control' about dogs here - and it is a BIG change from how things work in SA, that a lot of people are not prepared for. Also, leash laws are a big deal here - and they ARE policed. It varies tremendously from place to place. There was almost nowhere I could walk my dog offleash in Atlanta, except for small dog parks teeming with other dogs. It was a lot better in the San Francisco area, and a sort of 'in-between' situation here in Denver. If you are used to taking long offleash walks on the beach in South Africa, for example, expect your options to do that here to be very much more limited. Picking up and bagging pet waste here is a must too. Lots of homes have no fenced in yards at all. Those that do - usually a low fence, often split rail so dogs can get through, unless you use galvanized iron. Again, will restrict your choices, but you will find something. On the upside - lots of very safe places to go walking with you dog - even on your own without any worries.
  11. Didn't realize you could file tax returns on the site too! Good to know.
  12. Malamute


    On buying a car - a good 2nd hand is a great way to go (I'm still driving the 2002 car I bought in 2009 for cash). No, it doesn't help to build the credit score if you buy cash, but as I didn't yet have a job etc, I just decided it was the way to go, and focused on my credit score later. To be honest, it wasn't a big deal initially - I rented my first apartment based on my offer of employment - and once I was renting there, my credit built quickly with the utility companies etc - and eventually I did a secured credit card with the bank, which boosted it more. In retrospect, I should have done that earlier. (Tip: if you do a secured credit card, that means you hand over an amount to the bank, and they give you a credit card up to that limit. If you manage the card well, after a year, you get your 'security' back, and you have credit. Go for a high limit/high security deposit - e.g. $5 000 vs $100, as that will eventually help your credit score much faster). Mopeds are not a good option in most big cities - the trucks here are huge, and it can be pretty dangerous. Public transport is usually very good - in some cities like New York and San Francisco it is really by far better than a car. Also, in many places, due to weather, moped will be useless 6 months of the year. People here use UBER all the time - so if you need to do an ad hoc trip to the shops or to work, that is an option. As for registering a car and your license - the laws/timeline and rules are very different from State to State. Bear in mind that if you register a car in a state, you need to be resident in that state. If you subsequently move to a different state, you will need to register the car in that state - and it costs each time. Some examples from personal experience: In Georgia, I could buy a car without a local license, but had to have a local driver's license before I could register it - and the dealer had just 30 days to transfer the car to me - so I had to get my license pretty quickly to do that. In the meantime, I could drive it, as long as it was insured - only a few insurance companies would insure me, without a local license, and it was more expensive. Car insurance is typically 6 months at a time (you can pay monthly, but it is a bit more usually) - so by the time renewal came up, I had the GA license, and the premium came down. In California, I had to register my car within about 2 weeks of becoming a resident, if I recall, wheras in CO, I had 60 days etc. Important to research which state you will be registering the car in - and budget for the fees to register (depending on the car and the state, could be a couple of thousand $$$). All USA states will require you to do the driver's license from scratch - including the driving test, but once you have a license from one state, you can get one in a different state on that basis (sometimes you may still have to do a knowledge test, like in CA).
  13. Malamute


    FranetteM - good luck with everything - and it is pretty easy here with dogs. A few suggestions for initial accommodation with a dog: - Motel 6 - is is usually very basic, but Bed, TV, bathroom, but very basic price too - and pet friendly without a pet fee. Fine for a night or two. - La Quinta Inn - quite a bit nicer than Motel 6, more expensive, but still less than most 'fancier' hotels. Most are no pet fee, and some are with a low pet fee (e.g. $10 per night) - Marriot Towneplace Suites - great option for a longer stay (I stayed some weeks there with a large dog) - they have a $100 pet fee, which would be a lot for a 1 night stay, but if you stay 2 or 3 weeks, it works out next to nothing per night. These come with a fully equipped kitchenette, so would be a good option for a longer stay. There are many other brands which offer similar, so you will easily find something in your budget and in your location of choice. RV rentals can be expensive, and also bear in mind you can't go/park just anywhere with one, so if it is your sole form of transport, it will limit you somewhat. Fuel costs are also going to be high in an RV if you are going to do a lot of traveling. That said, it can be a really nice solution, but a car, and using Motel 6's for example, may be a much more flexible way (e.g. a camp site for a RV with hookups will be $30-$40 per night at least, and you can get a Motel 6 in most places for around $60 per night). Also, see a vet soon afer arrival for heartwork medications. Heartworm is prevalent in the USA, and is very nasty (fatal in the long term) - vets will pull a blood sample to test for it, and then prescribe a tablet that they need to take every month. It is less of a problem in the Northern (cold) states, but is rampant in the warmer states - mosquito borne. Nothing to worry about, but don't skip this step! Wise to speak to your financial advisor - they will be able to tell you how much you can take out of SA without doing financial emigration For an ordinary trip (i.e. as a tourist/visitor - you can take out R1 million each with ease). You can do more than this as an investment allowance, or, if you financially emigrate, much more. If you have retirement funds in a RA (e.g. at Old Mutual, or other similar) - the ONLY way you can release those funds is to do financial emigration. Once you cash out, you pay tax in SA on them. Any type of retirement fund in SA is not transferable to a similar product in the USA - it works differently here. You will have to liquidate the cash, and then re-invest them this side. Enjoy the ride!
  14. Malamute


    To add to SJ272's answer - you can certainly enter through Hawaii as your first port of entry, but if you are travelling on a SA passport, you will need a transit visa for Canada - which is a whole extra hassle in getting a visa. Once you have actually landed in the USA, and your visa is stamped, it becomes your temporary Green Card, and you are only then, at that point, a Permanent Resident of the USA. As a permanent resident of the USA, with a SA passport, you will no longer need a visa for Canada. (you will still need to get an eTa - a type of electronic visa)
  15. Pleasure! It was actually my last trip that I went in - arrived in March, and SA passport expired in May. I had intended to try and get a new one while in SA, but I couldn't get to it on my first 2 days in SA, and then it would have been too late. So, instead I applied through LA on my return, and got a new one here 7 months later
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