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Malamute

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Everything posted by Malamute

  1. The latest (today) executive order pretty much puts paid to the hopes of some drawn in DV2020. It effectively extends the ban on interviewing/granting visas to those drawn for DV2020 to 31 December, and as visas have, by law, to be issued by 30 September, those folks who were drawn and don't yet have a visa (and issuing was suspended in March already when the current number was around 31 000 for Africa) will lose out. For those drawn for DV2021, visa issuing would normally start in October 2020, but because of the ban, can't start until at the earliest January 2021, presuming that the ban is not extended, and also presuming it is not challenged and struck down by Federal Court.
  2. 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
  3. I agree - I doubt they will go for remote ceremonies. In fact, I wouldn't be suprised if they cancel ceremonies as such altogether. The legal part of naturalization is actually taking the oath - which you can do in front of a federal judge - the ceremonies have a lot of 'feel good' extras that are not required. I suspect they will commence with people being able to naturalize without any big group ceremony - or gathering of large groups. Will maybe restrict those attending to just those who will naturalize, and not guests (in the same way that, for example, the military graduations have taken place at venues such as the Air Force Academy. No guests - which permitted the cadets to be spaced out). Disappointing for them, and for the relations and friends, of course, but at least they could get it done - think it may be the same with the naturalizations.
  4. 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.
  5. Malamute

    Deceased Estates

    Probably best to consult a tax expert, but my understanding is this: 1. If your life insurance policy is in the USA and the beneficiary is in South Africa, then the funds paid out in South Africa would be treated according to South African tax law. This means that while the payout from a life insurance policy in the USA is not taxed, this is not the case in South Africa. 2. In South Africa, only if the beneficiary is a spouse/partner, is the payout not taxed. If it is someone else, it is taxed. 3. As the life insurance policy in the USA may not be deemed to be the same - from an actuarial standpoint - as one in the RSA, even this concession may not apply. (e.g. if you, as a US citizen are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy held in South Africa, that policy is not deemed to be a USA compliant life insurance - and would be subject to normal tax - and not exempt from tax like a USA based policy 4. So, if your beneficiary, who is not your spouse, but is in South Africa, were to receive a payout, it would not be deemed to be a life insurance type payout - but in anycase, subject to tax. They could claim the R100k annual exemption from paying tax on a donation from someone not their spouse, but would have to declare the amount received to SARS and be taxed on it. This would be the same way it is treated if you gave them a payout while you were alive, vs an insurance company giving them a payout when you were deceased. Keen to hear what anyone else can add.
  6. Yes, you are correct. In the meantime, the executive order has been signed and released. If you have a VALID immigrant visa, you are ok (DV visa). If it expires before you can get a flight to the USA, you will no longer have a valid visa, and you won't be issued a new visa in the 60 day timeframe. If you don't yet have a visa, even if your number is current, you won't be issued a visa in the next 60 days either. https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-immigrants-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-economic-recovery-following-covid-19-outbreak/?fbclid=IwAR3tEhePb9IeCwWKdAni7mwEahQmnh96aDTFC6aGR9dhyINcGlhhed6iPfM
  7. Agree, it should be fine for the DV2020 selectees - provided the 60 days doesn't go to 90 days....120 days etc. - as by law, this is one type of visa that has a firm deadline to be issued - i.e. by 30 September - but there are 5 months still to go. And, some of those won't be consular processing either, just AOS in the USA. As you note, there are not 1000's of them - although the 162 selectees are the DV1 selectees, and doesn't include the DV2 derivatives - spouses and minor children.
  8. Anyone who has Voyager miles may not have thought of it - but they will be useless. I spent mine down some years ago, and although I have travelled SAA since, I have always used my United loyalty number - and earned United miles on SAA - at the time the thinking was just that it would be easier to use those - and now I am very glad I did.
  9. The rand fell to its lowest level ever against the dollar in overnight trade, as global markets reacted to the downgrade of SA's last remaining investment grade credit rating to junk by Moody's. "The rand has been the worst performing emerging market currency over the past week and traded at its weakest level ever at R18.05 in Asia early this morning," said TreasuryONE in a note to clients on Monday
  10. 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.
  11. I see they have stopped issuing any type of immigration visa, and are really only open to South Africans in distress - and even then, they have strict rules - you HAVE to have an appointment - you can't just pitch up - and you have to use their sanitizer, are not allowed to touch anything, must go alone etc. https://www.southafrica-newyork.net/consulate/2020_advisories/CORONA Advisory 20200317 long.pdf
  12. Indeed, must be a worry for many. If an elderley parent is ill in SA, probably not the best time to see them anyhow - coming from a country with infections, and passing through a lot of high risk environments like airports etc - it would be all to easy to infect them with this. The quarantine on arrival for South African citizens is self-quarantine anyhow - so not monitored (which can in itself cause many problems). US Citizens won't even make it onto the plane - as the airline will know they are not admissable to South Africa right now - even if they were SA citizens in the past. At least there are some flights still coming and going - for now. A friend coming back from London to the Bay Area said that most of the flights on the departure board at Heathrow bound for anywhere in the USA were showing as cancelled. Her flight, fortunately not.
  13. **Update- the ban on bars and restaurants is now across the entire state of Colorado** Here in Denver - just announced that ALL bars and restaurants are shut down immediately until MAY! (except for take-out and delivery). This is the city of Denver, so not the entire metro area - yet, but going to be very, very hard on those who work in the industry. I suspect more cities in the metro area will follow suit. Growing list of states and cities doing the same.
  14. ....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.
  15. ...and Disneyland. The Happiest Place in the world is closed!
  16. The way this was announced has led to a great deal of confusion. Flights themselves are not banned - just foreign nationals who are traveling from the Schengen areas. Not only Green Card holders and permanent residents are permitted to travel - even from the Schengen areas, but also family members. This includes spouses, parents and guardians of citizens and permanent residents who are unmarried and under the age of 21, and siblings -- if both the sibling and the citizen or permanent resident are under 21. Countries where you may not have travelled to within the prior 14 days are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. European countries not included in the ban are U.K.,Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Armenia, Montenegro, Belarus and Russia. This also means that, for example, a South African (not a citizen or GC holder) who has been to one of the Schengen countries in the prior 14 dyas, and then back to the USA, is barred from entering the USA, even, for example, on the direct UA flight from SA to the USA. The actual proclamation is here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-certain-additional-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/
  17. Hello Heidi556 Yes, you are on the right track. The first year of filing is always tricky, because of the dual residency status - i.e. income you earned before the date you landed and became a PR, and the income you earned afterwards. If you earned any USA source income BEFORE you became a PR, I believe you will fill on form 1040NR for that, and attach to your 1040. However, if you had no USA source income before you landed, only SA source income, you will skip that step. Non-USA source income - e.g. from South Africa - that you earned AFTER your date of landing - i.e. after you became a PR, is indeed reported on your 1040. For that SA income, you can claim the Foreign Tax Exclusion - up to a limit of $105 900 - which may be the easiest way of dealing with it - if your income was below that. Look at form 2555 and related instructions for that Alternatively, you can file form 1116 for a foreign tax credit - i.e. declaring the income you earned in SA, declaring the amount of tax you paid to SARS for that income, and then only being accountable for the difference (if any) if the Federal tax on that amount is higher than what you actually paid. In my first year, I tried - and failed - to find someone who could assist - the big online filing companies like HR Block and TurboTax, can't handle this type of filing, and even the people in their pop-up stores don't really get trained to handle this. so it is indeed hard to find someone who can guide you through this, but would definitely be your best bet. However, you sound like you have a good grasp on what needs to be done! Good luck with it all.
  18. interesting - I wonder if this now takes longer. The two sources have conflicting information about the delivery of the fingerprints to Pretoria: In the news article, it states: " Members of the public are no longer expected to deliver their documentation to the Criminal Record Centre in Pretoria, as was previously the practice. It is now the sole responsibility of the SAPS to compile and deliver the form to the Criminal Record Centre (CRC) on behalf of the applicant." On the SAPS website, it states: "Applicants living in South Africa may, at no additional costs to the applicant, request the police station to forward the applications to CR & CSM in Pretoria. *The applicant may also in person deliver the application to CR & CSM in Pretoria* or use the service of a postal or courier service at his/her own cost."
  19. If you are a South African passport holder, then there is nothing to stop you entering and leaving SA as often as you wish. SA would still be your primary country for residence for tax purposes. If you have a valid B1/2 visa, then there is nothing to stop you arriving at the US border as many times as you like and requesting entry. Usually they will grant you the 6 months, but they have no obligation to do so, and no obligation to admit you at all. You are likely to have not problems, in getting 6 months at a time a few times, but as all arrival/departure records are now electronically visible to the border agent assessing your entry, a pattern of staying 6 months (or therabout) each year will soon raise eyebrows, then questions about what you are doing for so long each year in the USA etc. At some point, it is likely they will not admit you - but probably not for the first few times. The only Don't - and it is an obvious one - is don't overstay in the USA at any time. If you find that you want to stay more than 6 months, then apply for an extension - that is usually given - but use that wisely - applying each time for an extension will also raise a red flag. Crossing for a short while over to Canada or Mexico, for example, does not reset the ability to enter for another 6 months
  20. Haven't experienced that - but have certainly heard about it - and quite a few South Africans on the SA Facebook page report having to do exactly the same for the same reason - i.e. birth certificates issued too long after birth - and lawyers weighed in and said, yes it is quite often the case.
  21. 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.
  22. Malamute

    DV-2019

    Haha, yes,, Motel 6 can vary tremendously - and is positioned as a very much a budget hotel. I stayed at about a dozen of them across the USA about 5 years ago during a 3 month roadtrip - never more than 1 night at a time. However, my choices were limited - traveling with a dog around 100lbs. Many hotels are 'sizeist' and won't take large dogs at all - e.g. Clarion only takes dogs up to 35lbs, and then at $35 per night, Marriott charges $100 per night, Hyatt $75 per night on top of the room rate etc. The first one I stayed at in Northern California was redone, and actually pretty nice - the worst was near Billings in Montana - a bit sketchy, but I always felt safe (maybe having a 100lb dog helps). Biggest boon was, that with AARP discount, I never paid much more than $60 per night, dog included, wheras many other chains would have been $160, once I took the pet fee into account. But, haven't stayed at once since!
  23. Congratulations, Janneman - 14 years is a long time to wait for that blue passport, but you got there! Personally, I don't think there is a right/wrong decision about dual citizenship - it is all about personal circumstances, plans, and quite honestly down to personal choice. I can see why people do, and why people don't. As for myself, I kept it - it wasn't actually too much hassle to renew the passport through the LA consulate - lots of paperwork and a bit of a wait, but all ok. I like having different options. Yes, as a South African citizen in SA, it does limit what the USA embassy can do for you (it doesn't mean that they can do nothing). Even on a USA passport, as purely a USA citizen, it is limited what they can actually do for you - e.g. evacuation (which is not a likely scenario in SA - and quite honestly very rarely actually offered by the USA even in countries where there are wars going on), or being a victim of crime in SA (a much more likely scenario) - they can help you with a new passport, temporary financial assistance (you pay it back), contacting family etc. Enjoy your new citizenship and all that comes with it - next month, we vote!
  24. 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!
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