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DV-2019

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14 hours ago, Heidi556 said:

Yeah, you should take records with. I had none, nor did I have records of immunizations, so had to get the flu and MMR vaccine. Consult is just talking to the doctor, and personal questions. The doctor is super friendly, no stress.

Awesome, I’m glad you have all your documents now and sending them in. 

Ok, thanks Heidi. Don't know why I'm so stressed about the medical. Everyone tells me it's fine, yet I'm still stressing. Ok, so you're all set now and just waiting for the interview? So I had a look at the stats for issued visas and looks like only 179 Diversity Visas have been allocated for SA & Jhb up to end of Apr 2019 (if my math and assumptions are correct). That is good for us, right?

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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.

 

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Ok, but then I don't understand why some people on other forums say that they were selected, but didn't get a chance for interview, as all visas were allocated before their case number became current?

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So I've received the mail with our interview date, which will be the 2nd week in July. Now it's the $$$ part of the story where I have to take my family and myself for the (very expensive) medical, book flights up to JHB etc. Nonetheless, feeling some excitement (and also a bit nervous at times)...

I'm trying to find out what the best option is for help with a 3 year old and 6 month old children in the States. I know that I read something of the sort somewhere on this website, but can't seem to find it now. I'm assuming it will differ from town to town, city to city, state to state - but would just like to know what the "norm" is for getting day care help with kids of this age? Obviously living in SA, day care tends to be a lot more affordable than in most first world countries, so this is one of our "concerns" that we'd like to get some direction on. If anyone can help :)

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Day Care is expensive.

https://www.care.com/c/stories/2423/how-much-does-child-care-cost/

Quite a few people I know send their kids to private schools and day care due to the bullying of children in pre school by Hispanic kids. Many schools admit illegals into the schools which is causing a problem as these  kids are disruptive.

Also kids in pre school are given  " Shooter drills".

School principals tend to do nothing when parents complain, so the trend is to sent kids to private schools if you can.     

 

 

 

Edited by oscar

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6 hours ago, FranetteM said:

Ok, but then I don't understand why some people on other forums say that they were selected, but didn't get a chance for interview, as all visas were allocated before their case number became current?

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. 

Edited by SJ272
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[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.

Edited by SJ272

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It just depends where you happen to live. My friends are in Rockville, Maryland and they are considering home schooling as their son was being attacked in the Kindergarten. They are planning on selling their house so they can move to another area with different schools.

    

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

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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.)

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Thanks for the great info [at]oscar and [at]SJ272, I'll definitely use these sources when we're more certain of where it is we'll be staying (which obviously depends on where I find a job - I'm a mechanical engineer, and at the moment things look best for either LA or Houston).

I'll also definitely try take a chance with the medical claim, let's see what Discovery says...

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Kallas, that’s great that you have the 2NL. I submitted to Discovery, but only have a receipt from Dr Hoosen, and Discovery wants an invoice, so I am still battling with that. 

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Yes that why a Residential address is so important it determines what school you can take your kids to school, Some people use the address of a relative or a rental property just to  qualify for a better school.

The only glitch is that the school will send all correspondence to that address including report cards. 

Edited by oscar

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2 hours ago, oscar said:

Yes that why a Residential address is so important it determines what school you can take your kids to school, Some people use the address of a relative or a rental property just to  qualify for a better school.

The only glitch is that the school will send all correspondence to that address including report cards. 

Where we live, our school district requires utility bills (2) as well as your rental contract/ home owners proof for your kid to attend school.

If you will be living with relatives / friends, they then have to complete affidavits of residency as well as the relation to you. (this is then qualified/ approved by the school district board before your kid can attend school)

Kids entering school (any grade) also need to complete a Health Assessment done by a US Dr. This is usually covered by your medical insurance, but if you don't have, that can add up some bills (around $400-500)

Nursery / day care is extremely expensive, it works out anything between $1600-2000 per month. 

Some school districts allow kids from parents working in that school district to attend school there- that's great if you ended up working in a great school district but doesn't necessarily live there.

Towns / school zones are so strict, some streets are split up- this doesn't matter if it falls under one school district and the whole district is great, but it can happen that you physically reside in a different town than you neighbor

Zillow is great in searches for homes, as it usually shows the school assigned to that specific address , but the onus is still on you to confirm that its correct

 

An interesting fact that I've recently discovered, (which is more relevant to high school kids). When applying to colleges, you are weighed against your peers from YOUR school. Where you stand in your class "against" the kids that get the same exposure and education in the same environment as you. What this means, if you reside in a very affluent neighborhood (mostly the higher scoring schools), where parents have the means to afford extra tutoring and advance classes for their kids, you better be able to do that too, as your kid is not measured nationally, but locally. Your kid might still get that 3.5 GPA, but it means very little if the average in his class is 3,7 etc. Now this is not a big issue if your kid is planning on attending the local state college etc, but when they plan to attend a lower acceptance rated school or ivy league etc, it starts to matter.

 

Just my 5 cents

 

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7 hours ago, adventurer1 said:

Where we live, our school district requires utility bills (2) as well as your rental contract/ home owners proof for your kid to attend school.

Same, in fact the school district is more strict on what they will accept than what the DMV will accept for real ID!! 

7 hours ago, adventurer1 said:

An interesting fact that I've recently discovered, (which is more relevant to high school kids). When applying to colleges, you are weighed against your peers from YOUR school. Where you stand in your class "against" the kids that get the same exposure and education in the same environment as you. What this means, if you reside in a very affluent neighborhood (mostly the higher scoring schools), where parents have the means to afford extra tutoring and advance classes for their kids, you better be able to do that too, as your kid is not measured nationally, but locally. Your kid might still get that 3.5 GPA, but it means very little if the average in his class is 3,7 etc. Now this is not a big issue if your kid is planning on attending the local state college etc, but when they plan to attend a lower acceptance rated school or ivy league etc, it starts to matter.

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.

 

 

 

Edited by SJ272
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