Dette innlegget blir kun på englesk. Beklager, men det er bare for mye å oversette! // I will do this one in English only, it’s just to much to do both!
We are so grateful to be able to live here and experience all the exciting things that we do. It’s such an adventure! USA is for sure the land of opportunities. But the process of getting here is for most people a very long and hard journey. We had it easy compared to many, but it still took us two years from we signed up for the DV Lottery until we got our green cards. During this process I really missed a “manual”, or at least some hints as to how we were supposed to fill out all the forms correctly, what papers we needed, how detailed to be, etc. The instructions we got from the state.gov website was helpful, but not enough. We also signed up at a website called visajourney.com which was very helpful.
Since we are now “on the other side” I feel that the least I could do is share our experience along with the information we obtained in the process, and I hope it can be of some help to people who are in the same situation.
First of all, you can sign up for the Diversity Visa Lottery (aka the green card lottery) at www.dvlottery.state.gov. They usually accept applications in October every year.
The Congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes available 50,000 diversity visas annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
When you sign up you will be asked to submit a picture of yourself, and it is so important to follow the directions precisely. If for instance your picture is too big your application will not go through, and you won’t even be notified about it.
After submitting your application you will have to wait until May/June the following year to check if you are selected for further processing. Do not lose your confirmation number, you will need that to check your entry status. As a matter of fact, none of us were selected in May/June, but there is another smaller random selection in the fall, and that’s when I was selected. So don’t loose all hope if you don’t make the first cut, even though chances are slim, you should definitely check back in the fall as well.
The first thing you will have to do is fill out some forms about yourself (they want to know everything!) and get your pictures taken, be careful to meet the requirements on these as well, you’ll need to send in two examples. To be approved the principal DV applicant (which in our case was me) is required to have a high school education, or its equivalent, or two years of qualifying work experience as defined under provisions of U.S. law. If you don’t meet this requirement you shouldn’t proceed.
We had to fill out all the forms and get our photos taken professionally and physically send it to the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC), but I think you can do (parts of it at least) online now.
The forms you will have to fill out is the DS-260 (online), DSP-122 (only the principal applicant needs to fill out this one) and DS-230 PART I & II. We were very specific and detailed when we filled out those forms, and it worked for us.
The biggest issue we had in this process was whether or not we needed a sponsor, because you have to prove that you will not be a burden (so to speak) for the society when you move. They say you need to have a family sponsorship, or offer of employment or prove financial stability to be approved for the Diversity Visa. We did not have an offer of employment and did definitely not want to ask my family here something like that so we went for the last option, not knowing if it would be good enough. That felt like a huge gamble, but our savings together with the value of our apartment saved us.
Moving on. After you have submitted your forms you will have to wait to get an interview date, that is of course if your papers are ok. You will get a case number which will give you some idea when you can expect to get an interview. The higher the case number, the longer you’ll have to wait. We got a very high one and were afraid that we wouldn’t make the cut off date in September. Yes that’s right, if you don’t get your interview within the current fiscal year, you won’t make it no matter how close you get.
But you should use your time between sending in the forms to getting the interview to gather your supporting documents which you will have to bring to the interview at the embassy. And you will have to get those translated by a certified translator.
This is what you need:
- Required DV Qualifying Education or Work Experience
- Birth Certificates
- Court and Prison Records
- Deportation Documentation
- Marriage Certificate
- Marriage Termination Documentation
- Military Records
- Police Records
- Custody Documentation
If some of these doesn’t apply to you, like deportation or custody documentation, you don’t have to worry about sending it in.
When you get your interview date approximately two months before the interview, you will need to get a medical exam by an authorized physician in the country where you will be interviewed. You must complete your medical examination, along with any required vaccinations, before your scheduled visa interview date. Although we had our medical exam in Norway, it wasn’t a problem at the interview in Sweden. When your medical exam is completed, if you are given a medical exam envelope, you must bring it sealed (not opened) to your visa interview. Some physicians will send the medical exam results directly to the embassy or consulate.
There are only a few authorized physicians in Scandinavia, and be aware of the prices they charge you! We had to pay 4000 kr ($ 650) each for a medical exam that lasted about ten minutes. We even had to do our blood tests and x-rays elsewhere and bring the results to him. But if you want to do this, there’s no way around it.
On our way to the Interview!
To the interview you will have to bring the appointment letter, passport for each applicant (an unexpired passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States), photographs (two identical color photographs for each applicant), your medical exam results, original and supporting documents (original documents or certified copies, and one photocopy of each document), english translations and the visa fees.
Before the interview you will have to pay the Diversity Visa Lottery fee which is $330 per person. This fee is nonrefundable, whether a visa is issued or not. But from my experience and what I have heard, if you get as far as an interview you are basically already approved.
We were approved on the spot! She asked me about three questions, and that was it. The questions were about where we were intending to settle and why, and what we were planning to do to support ourselves.
Time for celebration after being approved!
After you are approved they will keep your passport and send it back to you within a few weeks with the Visa, you then have six months to make all your arrangements and travel to the US.
I have gathered some websites that helped us a lot: