Participating in the Green Card Lottery gives every USA-fan the chance to dream about living in the USA. This is a chance that can quickly become a reality for many. When The American Dream notifies people of their win, they suddenly have a series of new hurdles to jump and must start thinking seriously about moving to the country of their dreams. This happened to Green Card winners David and Allan who both went through the Green Card process and permanently made their home the USA in March 2018. In our exclusive winner interview, they have been so kind to share their experience in preparing for the interview and moving to the USA as well as photos from their beautiful new home of California.
The long-time dream of living in California was the reason behind applying for a Green Card. My husband, Allan, visited the USA with his younger brother for the first time in the 80s to visit relatives. After that, he was there almost every year – especially in California where his aunt and uncle live - both Americans. My first time in the USA was in 2005 when I visited New York. Seeing the skyline of Manhattan for the first time was really quite impressive. One year later, we were celebrating our honeymoon on the west coast. It was then that I finally knew my heart belonged in California and the USA. After that, we were at least once, every year in the USA. Since then, every trip back to Germany was done with a heavy heart and we said during every trip that one day we want to be able to book a one-way flight home. When we were informed of our win in May 2016, we couldn’t believe it at first and were super excited. Shortly after that, the big planning started.
This is a good question. We came across The American Dream while searching in the internet and they gave a very professional impression.
Actually, we do want to work in different fields than we did before. Allan worked in a bank for over 30 years and I worked as a controller for the last 13 years. The USA is well-known for hiring on people who are new to a field and giving them a chance. We will simply look around and see what jobs appeal to us and apply. Maybe we will come across interesting job offers that we had never thought about before.
At the beginning, right after being notified of my win, I was active in the forum, introduced myself and read up on a few things. Later, I exchanged private messages with another winner who wanted to move to the same corner of California as us. The exchange of information was definitely helpful – for one just to know that there are other people out there in the same situation – and to not have to research everything twice. In particular, I would like to highlight my correspondence with Catherine, our personal contact person at The American Dream – without her, the entire preparatory work would not have been so easy. She always had helpful tip for us.
The activation trip was simply wonderful! In LAX airport (Amn. D. Red. Los Angeles), we had a really wonderful female officer process our application at immigration. She actually worked in the office where you go to process your application on your first trip. While checking our data, she talked very kindly to us, told us some private things and we had an enjoyable conversation. After 20-30 minutes, she was done and called another officer to us to approval the submittal. The final, “welcome home” was such an unbelievable feeling.
After activation our Green Card in 2017, the next thing on our to-do list was to get a Social Security Number and open a bank account with an American bank, including a credit card, so that we could start building our credit history. We had no problems opening a bank account since we could use a US address from relatives. In order to get a credit card, we opened a savings account and deposited a sum of money appropriate for the use of our future credit card.
We had a little more difficulty applying for a Social Security Number because nobody at first could really help us. We had applied to have the Social Security Number automatically issued to us in the DS-260 Form. This though, unfortunately, didn’t work. We explained to the workers in the Social Security office in California that our activation trip was over 3 weeks ago and our personal contact person at The American Dream told us that we could apply for a new number. After checking our situation, they finally found that there was no current application for us. For the new application, we needed our passports and another official document (we had a bank statement and a utilities bill with us) to confirm your identity. After 7 days, we had our SSN.
We also looked at a few places in the Bay Area and made personal evaluations. The evaluations of the places were done to help us remember if we liked a city or area and if we could imagine living there. We used Google Maps and our friends to select the places we visited. We are absolutely certain that California is the place for us.
Do not give up, especially if you don’t get lucky the first few times and it really is a dream. We played 5-6 times before we got the positive news. Furthermore, we would like to advise all winners to begin building credit history as quickly as possible. Without it, you can’t do much in the USA – or it will be extremely expensive.
To be healthy and happy in the place that feels like home. To meet nice people, beautiful weather and to enjoy the breathtaking nature. The possibility to have breakfast on the beach, then to go to the desert to explore a palm tree oasis and enjoy the sunset in the mountains. Moreover, our occupational success plays a big role for us.
Since we are not yet working (officially emigrated to California in March 2018), it is hard to say that we have had a real American day. But that is okay since we still have a lot of organizational things to do. I have already submitted the first few job applications and am excited to see what happens. What really stands out here is how friendly and ready-to-help people are here.
We would like to now take the chance to warmly thank our Green Card winner David and wish him and Allan continued success on their USA journey on the west coast. Your American dream may come true quicker than you think. What are you waiting for? Apply for the Green Card Lottery now.