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Malamute last won the day on September 2

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About Malamute

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    Certified Addict!
  • Birthday 12/10/1963

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    Denver, CO
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    Dec 2008
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  1. Malamute

    California Road Trip

    Summer in San Francisco (i.e. actually in the city) can be COLD - misty, foggy, definitely not shorts and T-shirts, as you would think for summer in California. More like jeans and hoodies. Immediately add about 15-20F once you go north of the Golden Gate Bridge, or to the South Bay (San Jose etc), and 20-30F if you go to the East Bay (Oakland). Very much about micro-climate in the Bay Area, especially in June and July. Summer really comes to downtown San Francisco in September. The further south you go, the warmer it will get, but if you are hugging the coast, it is always a bit cooler with the ocean breeze.
  2. Malamute

    Sending item to SA

    Absolutely can recommend Postbox Courier - specifically for packages to South Africa. https://www.postbox-courier.com/. Through the Post Office - it can take months - if it arrives at all. DHL/UPS/FEDEX are options, but VERY expensive. I recently sent a package through Postbox courier for $49. It was picked up by the recipient in Cape Town 6 days later - no issues or hassles with VAT or import duty. DHL and similar had quoted $258 - $300. They partner with Pargo in SA - so you designate a Clicks store, and they pick up there. Works great. Must be a special item, however, to warrant the cost of shipping.
  3. Malamute

    California Road Trip

    I used to live in the Bay Area, so a couple of ideas: You can't go wrong with Union Square - there is a lot going on, basically right in the heart of everything going on in San Francisco. Fisherman's wharf, I found to be a little 'tatty' actually. there are lots of 'grab and go' places to eat. A little bit further down is Pier 39, which is much nicer - lots of restaurants etc - but expect to pay the prices! If you stay at Union Square, you can do the traditional SF Cablecar ride down to Fisherman's wharf (sometimes it is so crowded, you will wait for several to go by before you can get on). While down that way, check our Ghirardelli Square - home of the chocolate. If you have a car, do take a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County and stop in Sausalito. You can also drive through the Baker Bunker road down to Rodeo Beach, and then come back over the top - you get amazing views of the GG bridge and the whole of San Francisco while you are there. If you can, spend a whole day up in the North Bay - and go to Muir Woods (you must book parking in advance these days), and if you have time, up to the top of Mt Tam for more amazing views of the entire Bay area. Love the North Bay area. If you don't have a car, try taking the ferry from the Ferry Building (a 'must see' too - lots of gourmet stores and some nice restaurants) across to Sausalito for lunch - or even the ferry up to Larkspur - the 30 minute trip is very scenic.
  4. Malamute


    I see there is a very slow start to the numbers for DV2019. For October, AF numbers current only up to 2 750. In prior years, the available numbers in the first month (October) where much higher Oct 2017 (for DV2018) 8 500 Oct 2016 (for DV2017) 8 000 Oct 2015 (for DV2016) 9 100 Oct 2014 (for DV2015) 8 000 Oct 2013 (for DV2014) 7 500
  5. Malamute

    One last step!

    Jason, great post - and congratulations - you are almost there! I did my passport application at the ceremony, and a week and a day later, had my shiny new American passport in hand! The following week, I went to the Social Security offices, and updated my SS record - which now reflects I am a citizen. That was the last I have had to deal with any sort of immigration stuff - a great feeling. I was DV2008, and had my interview in December 2013, and the ceremony a month later. I also chose to retain my SA citizenship, so did all that paperwork a couple of months before the ceremony, so hold dual. Getting a new SA passport was quite a mission last year, with all the forms you need this side, but not unmanageable.
  6. Malamute

    Passport Renewal

    I am sure they get very tired of complaining South Africans phoning up only 2 or 3 months after they applied, and then giving the consulate an ear-ful, that they haven't got their new passport yet, as seems to happen. Personally, for both letter of retention and passport, I found the LA consulate very polite and easy to deal with.
  7. Malamute

    Passport Renewal

    Your passport doesn't have to be valid once you enter the USA - (once you are here as an immigrant on a Green Card - which is the moment you are stamped in - there is no obligation legally to maintain a current passport) but bear in mind you won't be able to travel beyond the borders without it, so not having a valid passport is not a very good idea. Especially as, once in the USA, it takes about 6 months+ to get a new SA Passport. As a GC holder you are not eligible for a USA passport. You can remain a GC holder and never naturalize, if that is what you choose to do. After you have been a GC holder for 5 years, you are eligible to naturalize as US Citizens, provided you meet all the requirements, which include how many months of the preceding 5 years you have spent in the USA, absence of any felonies etc. Naturalization can take a couple of months at least from the time you start that process. Once you are a USA citizen, you are eligible to apply for a USA passport - and that is fairly quick - from a few days (expedited) to a couple of weeks. If you are not wanting to retain dual citizenship, you need do nothing - you will remain a SA citizen up until the moment you take the oath at the naturalization ceremony. Then you will no longer be a SA citizen. Should you wish to retain it - fill in the forms and file the fee at the SA consulate a couple of months before you intend to naturalize, and you will be granted an exemption from losing your SA citizenship when you naturalize. You must have that exemption in hand before you take the oath as a US citizen. So, in short, your SA passport can expire once you are in the USA, but you won't be able to travel anywhere - even back to South Africa - so best plan is to make sure your SA passport has 6+ years validity on it when you enter the USA to see you through the period until you are eligible to naturalize and get your US passports.
  8. Malamute


    Britsimon popped up briefly on this forum in 2015 about this exact issue - in fact at the time SJ272 (then SJ27) was going through the process. Pretty much insisting that sponsorship was important - a number of folks - including myself weighed in that we did not need this - in fact no-one weighed in that they HAD in fact been asked for it.
  9. Malamute


    Excuse the question - but who told you that someone needs to be your sponsor? What visa are you on? DV? If you have $50k ready to bring - highly unlikely that the consulate will require you to have a sponsor. Most DV applicants do not. If the consulate has told you that you need a sponsor, then I understand, different story.
  10. Malamute

    Passport Renewal

    Hi Oscar - I did this last year through the LA Consulate - which would also be the consulate dealing with your renewal in CA. I agree - the single most complicated thing was finding an organization who could/would do the ink fingerprints - as the police here in Colorado don't do it either. I did eventually find a company in Denver that did the ink ones - it took an HOUR to get it all done, but I was just so grateful to actually find a place to do it. Once I submitted all the documents that you mention etc, it took just short of 7 months. I had not sent a self addressed envelope, but once the passport was back with the consulate - they sent me an email, and I sent the envelope. Sorry I can't be more helpful on the fingerprinting.
  11. Malamute


    Interesting - first time I have seen that happen in the last month - must be devastating for some who thought they were home and clear, and now..... Overall, the entries and draw very similar to last year - also just over 14 million entries, and last year 500 South Africans drawn. By the number of derivatives (in past years too) - seems the majority are 1 person/individual entries with no derivatives (or perhaps they just entered that way).
  12. Malamute


    adventurer1 is 100% correct about the Affidavit of Support. In most cases, you don't need it, as you self-petition. You DO need to convince the interviewing officer that you will not become a public charge - so proof you have funds of your own, your ability/likelihood of finding employment are all factors, and if satisfactory, then no affidavit is needed. As a DV recipient myself some years ago, that never even came up - they were satisfied that I was employable, had some funds, and, to be honest, they hardly focused on that at all. I came over on my own too. It is easier in one sense (you only have yourself to be concerned with from application, to travel, to finding somewhere to stay, a job etc), but also it is harder as you have NO support, NO backup initially, and have to do everything yourself. Small things, like listing your emergency contact at work, in systems that only support USA addresses and telephone numbers, can be challenging too. Good luck!
  13. Malamute


    Hi Heidi556 - and congratulations on being drawn - an exciting journey ahead for you. There is by no means necessarily another draw in October. This has happened in the past when the uptake of visas was slow, and done to ensure that all the available visas could be allocated. Most years, this has not taken place. If it does happen for DV2019 - then it is GOOD news for you - means they are going through the existing pool of selectees quickly, so pretty much a certainty that numbers for anyone drawn in May will be current - and current before the end September 2019 cutoff. Anyone drawn then will have a higher number than you, so will not impact you. Best thing you can do now is get all your documents in order - marriage, unabridged birth certificates etc can sometimes take many months (and sometimes they are fast). Also, make sure you have your matric certificate, or equivalent etc. The only thing to wait a while to get is the police clearance - unless you need to get clearances from other countries you have lived in the past etc. No tips about HI - but yes, it is one of the most expensive places to live.
  14. Malamute

    Retention of SA citizenship

    You can apply at any time - even a year or two out - there is no expiration date of the retention document once you have it - but it is essential to have it in hand before you take the oath of citizenship for the USA. The retention is specific to the USA - i.e. if you subsequently go and get a different citizenship, you will need a retention specific to that. If you send the documents in correctly with the fee etc, it should only take a couple of weeks. You can apply for naturalization 90 days before you complete the residence requirement of either 5 years (the usual) or 3 years (by marriage) - so, for example, 4 years and 9 months after you became a PR . Don't apply longer than that in advance - not even by a day or two.
  15. Malamute

    Florida July 2018

    Excellent post with lots of good advice. A couple of additional comments: 1. Driver's license: Don't assume you can use your SA license for up to a year - even with an International Driver's permit (which is pretty useless in the USA, as it is just a translation of your license which is in English). Most states require you to have a license from that State (regardless of whether or not you have the license of another state or country) within a limited time period. That is 30 days for Florida: (the offical DMV website is different to the one posted- it is https://www.flhsmv.gov/driver-licenses-id-cards/visiting-florida-faqs/ You must get a Florida license within 30 days of becoming a resident. You are considered a resident of Florida if you: 1. Enroll your children in public school, or 2. Register to vote, or 3. File for a homestead exemption, or 4. Accept employment, or 5. Reside in Florida for more than six consecutive months. 2. Rentals: An excellent option is to rent an apartment. Unlike a condo, where you rent from an individual owner, apartments are often like luxury hotels - with swimming pools, gyms etc, and can contain 100's of studion, 1,2. or even 3 bedroom apartments that are all centrally owned and managed. Many are pet friendly too etc. See websites like www.apartments.com 3. Car Insurance: Usually cheaper to bill every 6 months (which seems to be the standard for the companies I have used), or 1 year, although monthly is an option too.