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DesignGuy

Hi Everyone , just starting out this journey.

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Hi everyone on this amazing forum

I joined for all the same reasons most Saffa's did, I am wanting to get started with the journey from Joburg with my wife and 2 lovely daughters to the US of course. I am a Graphic Designer / Prepress Technician with over 10yrs experience in the printing and packaging industry. My other half has over 10yrs of Admin / Sales Support experience. After several life altering events and serious consideration we have made the decision to do as many members here have done before us. I am fortunate to have family based in Seattle. I would really appreciate as much help and advice on the process as I can get. I am not entirely certain of the best way to go about this, should I go through an agency? which agency is best? What kind of costs am I looking at? Should I go for the DV lottery? I've read so much stuff on the net that I am getting confused. 

Edited by DesignGuy

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How close is the family you have (ie: can they sponsor you for a family based visa?)

may as well enter the lottery, costs nothing and if selected it will be easiest, cheapest and fastest route to a green card.

otherwise you can try find an employer to sponsor you for a work visa - generally quite difficult.

 

as current immigration law stands those are basically your only options. You can’t just apply to emigrate the way you can to Canada or Australia. 

 

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The family member is my younger Biological sister and her spouse. I have looked at emigration agencies quotes and it'll need at least R100k - R120k without even the money to see us through the first six months.

I see that entering the lottery can only really be done around October even although the site says they accept entries any time of the year.

I've also heard that a family sponsorship can take up to 7 years to be processed.

The US does make it difficult, but I understand that is for good reasons, it keeps the safety standards high and also ensures that people don't just  emigrate there with no skills and then cost money instead of contributing to the country. 

 

Edited by DesignGuy

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Hi and welcome to the forums.

As SJ272 said, if you have immediate family living in the US (brother, sister, parents etc.) then they could sponsor you and you can apply for a family-based visa. Even then, you are literally looking something like a 12-14 year waitlist, which is probably not in your 5 year plan.

Employment-based visas are another option, but it’s absolutely no walk in the park, with few guarantees, and even then, we’re taking a looong and difficult path to even Permanent Residence, let alone Citizenship. If you are a seriously talented Graphic Designer, and from a Graphic Designer / Art Director myself, I’m talking top tier, next level, the absolute brass bollocks good... you may, maybe, might, possibly, just have a shot at a Visa. That is if an agency, media outlet or some business with the time, money, and resources to spend wants you enough and is willing to go out on a massive limb and sponsor you for an employment visa. But that is another huge hurdle to clear on its own. Even then, expect a long, bumpy, and rocky road with no certainty or guarantees.

In all honesty, the DV Lottery is your best bet. It’s free to enter and your chances aren’t the worst either. Entries open again in October, with the corresponding draw May next year. Even then, and if you hit the jack pot, and all the stars align, the absolute soonest you’ll be looking at getting here is Q4 2019 or sometime during 2020. That timeframe moves back a full year every single time you miss out on the draw and have to re-enter for the next draw.. A lot of members here have been through the DV process (including myself) and can give you or point you to all the info you need should you decide that is the route for you and your family.

Unfortunately, as you may have come to realize,, the US is a notoriously difficult place to emigrate to, with few to no quick or easy routes, especially if you have no close family or business ties. Countries with points-based immigrant programs, or certain skill shortages are often a more fertile environment for Saffers looking for the ol’ “Plan B”.

Good luck and shout if you have any other questions...

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5 minutes ago, JumpingJasonFlash said:

Hi and welcome to the forums.

As SJ272 said, if you have immediate family living in the US (brother, sister, parents etc.) then they could sponsor you and you can apply for a family-based visa. Even then, you are literally looking something like a 12-14 year waitlist, which is probably not in your 5 year plan.

Employment-based visas are another option, but it’s absolutely no walk in the park, with few guarantees, and even then, we’re taking a looong and difficult path to even Permanent Residence, let alone Citizenship. If you are a seriously talented Graphic Designer, and from a Graphic Designer / Art Director myself, I’m talking top tier, next level, the absolute brass bollocks good... you may, maybe, might, possibly, just have a shot at a Visa. That is if an agency, media outlet or some business with the time, money, and resources to spend wants you enough and is willing to go out on a massive limb and sponsor you for an employment visa. But that is another huge hurdle to clear on its own. Even then, expect a long, bumpy, and rocky road with no certainty or guarantees.

In all honesty, the DV Lottery is your best bet. It’s free to enter and your chances aren’t the worst either. Entries open again in October, with the corresponding draw May next year. Even then, and if you hit the jack pot, and all the stars align, the absolute soonest you’ll be looking at getting here is Q4 2019 or sometime during 2020. That timeframe moves back a full year every single time you miss out on the draw and have to re-enter for the next draw.. A lot of members here have been through the DV process (including myself) and can give you or point you to all the info you need should you decide that is the route for you and your family.

Unfortunately, as you may have come to realize,, the US is a notoriously difficult place to emigrate to, with few to no quick or easy routes, especially if you have no close family or business ties. Countries with points-based immigrant programs, or certain skill shortages are often a more fertile environment for Saffers looking for the ol’ “Plan B”.

Good luck and shout if you have any other questions...

It seems to be the DV that's the route to go, I'm not too sure what type of level you're implying with the brass bollocks, but I am not sure that I am that amazing, I have specialised in Prepress primarily which after doing some serious research, I have realised that it's on the decline in the US and with my years of experience I'd be lucky to hit around 45 - 50k per year, optimistically. Thanks so much for your advice, I'd be very grateful for that info on the DV, I'm glad for any help I receive. 

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10 minutes ago, DesignGuy said:

The family member is my younger Biological sister and her spouse. I have looked at emigration agencies quotes and it'll need at least R100k - R120k without even the money to see us through the first six months.

I see that entering the lottery can only really be done around October even although the site says they accept entries any time of the year.

I've also heard that a family sponsorship can take up to 7 years to be processed.

The US does make it difficult, but I understand that is for good reasons, it keeps the safety standards high and also ensures that people don't just  emigrate there with no skills and then cost money instead of contributing to the country. 

 

If your sister is a US Citizen she can sponsor you for a visa in the Family Fourth Preference (F4) category.

This is, unfortunately, quite low on the preference list for family-based visas and with a numerical limitation (only 65,000 visas each year) and the backlog is substantial. The latest Visa Bulletin indicates that the currently priority date for applicants is something like Sep 2004. Which puts you at the back of a seriously long queue! It might not take the full 14 years, but 7-10 or more is most likely.

If you want to hedge your bets, you can apply for that Visa now and get in line, then enter the DV Lottery every year while you wait.

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My mom. living in the USA, is Family Sponsoring my wife, 2 kids and myself, on the F3 (Married Child) category. She has applied for this in 2007. 11 Years on and we are still waiting for this to become a reality. She has even hired a Immigration attorney to make sure we do everything by the book. The attorney has advised us that we will probably still have another 3 years of waiting if nothing drastically changes in the US.

The DV Lottery is also a lottery and one should not put all your hope in that - it is the luck of the draw - we have played it for all 11 years and it can get pretty depressing if you do not get it.

As JumpingJason said: Apply for the visa and get in line, while playing the DV Lottery every year (while it is still available)

Good luck and all the best

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28 minutes ago, Woekes said:

My mom. living in the USA, is Family Sponsoring my wife, 2 kids and myself, on the F3 (Married Child) category. She has applied for this in 2007. 11 Years on and we are still waiting for this to become a reality. She has even hired a Immigration attorney to make sure we do everything by the book. The attorney has advised us that we will probably still have another 3 years of waiting if nothing drastically changes in the US.

The DV Lottery is also a lottery and one should not put all your hope in that - it is the luck of the draw - we have played it for all 11 years and it can get pretty depressing if you do not get it.

As JumpingJason said: Apply for the visa and get in line, while playing the DV Lottery every year (while it is still available)

Good luck and all the best

I'll put in for both the family and the DV as you say, it's better to try and increase your chances, but if your sister tried the lottery for the past 11yrs, what have been her primary issues, that's a long time to be applying for the DV without consideration. 

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It is my mom that petitioned for my family and myself. She has been living in the USA for the past 16 years.

There were no issues with the lottery that prevented consideration. It is a lottery and millions of people "play" the lottery every year. (Statistics at the link below of actual figures). They only have 50,000 visas available for all those applicants worldwide. So the change of winning the lottery is as easy as winning any lottery

https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Diversity-Visa/DVStatistics/DVApplicantEntrantsbyCountry 2013-2015.pdf

So when I say good luck, I mean it :)

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4 minutes ago, Woekes said:

It is my mom that petitioned for my family and myself. She has been living in the USA for the past 16 years.

There were no issues with the lottery that prevented consideration. It is a lottery and millions of people "play" the lottery every year. (Statistics at the link below of actual figures). They only have 50,000 visas available for all those applicants worldwide. So the change of winning the lottery is as easy as winning any lottery

https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Diversity-Visa/DVStatistics/DVApplicantEntrantsbyCountry 2013-2015.pdf

So when I say good luck, I mean it :)

Those odds are massive. I can understand then the waiting time being so long. Just feels like there's so much stacked against you in this process.

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6 hours ago, DesignGuy said:

The family member is my younger Biological sister and her spouse. I have looked at emigration agencies quotes and it'll need at least R100k - R120k without even the money to see us through the first six months.

I see that entering the lottery can only really be done around October even although the site says they accept entries any time of the year.

I've also heard that a family sponsorship can take up to 7 years to be processed.

The US does make it difficult, but I understand that is for good reasons, it keeps the safety standards high and also ensures that people don't just  emigrate there with no skills and then cost money instead of contributing to the country. 

 

If the lottery website you’re looking at says it accepts entries any time of the year then it is not an official website, and all it will do will be to charge you for something you can do free for yourself (and potentially screw up your application). Make sure you use the official site https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ where entries will open (hopefully) in October. 

As above, your sister can sponsor you but that’s probably a 15-year process.  However you may want to get that filed anyway just so there is a plan B in the background even if it’s a very long term one.

I don’t understand what the R100k or so is for if not the money to get you started. Are these fees for an agent? To do what? Most people do their visas on their own, unless they have some kind of complication (like a criminal record) or work visas but for the latter the company employing you will do all the legwork and pay all the fees. Please don’t be so desperate to get to the US that you spend a lot of money for nothing... if you do ever decide use an agent for any reason please make sure you read up on them as well to make sure they can keep any promises they make you. There are plenty of agencies out there happy to at best take your money for doing stuff you can do yourself or at worst being outright scams.

Edited by SJ272

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By the way the wait times for all the family preferenced are getting longer simply because the number being filed for each year increases but the quotas don’t. When we got approved for FB3 back in 2008 it looked then like it would be about a 10 year wait (ie round about now), if we were still waiting for that it would however probably still be another 3 years judging by the visa bulletin.

We won DV lottery on our 3rd entry, yes it a lottery and chances are small but worth the half an hour or so it takes for the entry.

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[at]DesignGuy

Welcome to the forum. 

your other 'option' would be to immigrate to Canada- Vancouver side. Then you can start a life there. You will be close (across border) from your sister. 

You can keep entering the DV still (just a random lottery as everyone state- make sure you ONLY use www.dvlottery.state.gov website for entering- any other site, especially the ones stating you can enter year round, is bogus)

I would suggest that if you don't have already a US Tourist visa (B1/ B2), you apply for this before you start the process off a Family Sponsor visa. They do tend to decline tourist visas if you have a Family Sponsor visa in the process (cause with all due respect- people overstay these when they intend to immigrate - which a Family sponsor visa shows intend to immigrate, if this makes sense)

While living in CA, you can visit US on your B1/B2 visa. 

I'm not sure how long it takes to become a Canadian citizen, but if I understand correctly Canadian citizens easily gets work visas for the US, especially Canadians who work in the US but still live in Canada.

Good luck with the journey. its not an easy one, but a possible one

 

 

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Another thought - if your sister lives in Seattle have you looked at options for Canada? I’ve never looked into that so don’t know but I believe it’s easier than the US based on professional qualifications/experience. You can live practically across the border from her in Vancouver and then see if you want to move across when the sibling visa eventually happens...?

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1 minute ago, adventurer1 said:

[at]DesignGuy

Welcome to the forum. 

your other 'option' would be to immigrate to Canada- Vancouver side. Then you can start a life there. You will be close (across border) from your sister. 

 

Haha snap

 

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