Tanja and Jürgen have been dreaming of a life in the USA since they were children. After participating for the 3rd time in the Green Card Lottery with The American Dream Tanja already received the joyful message that she was one of the lucky winners. In her Green Card review, she tells us how their way into the new life has turned out.
What was the trigger for you to apply for the Green Card Lottery?
From a very young age, I always wanted to go to America - for inexplicable reasons actually, as I only knew the USA from TV series and films. Nobody else from my family had ever been to the USA either. I was somehow magically attracted.
From 2009 to 2010, I attended a language school in Southern California for three months and I fell in love for that place. After this amazing experience, I did a lot of research to find out what kind of educational and vocational paths would help me to get to the USA. In the course of my research, I became aware of The American Dream and immediately applied for the Green Card Lottery.
What was your first reaction after receiving the winning notification?
The 3rd application with The American Dream already worked out. As usual, it happens when you do not expect it. Since I was sitting in the plane without any phone connection, I only received the winning notification email after landing. My first reaction was: “This must be a spam!” After rereading the email for a second and a third time I was convinced that it was real! My seat neighbor, who could see the smile in my face and tears in my eyes was quite irritated and ended up asking me if everything was ok.
Things happen at the right time – I always lived with this attitude and I was right.
How did you experience the application process? Do you have some advice for future winners?
Winning in the Green Card Lottery is always followed by lots of paperwork. The brochure for winners from The American Dream was a huge help. If you are well prepared with all your relevant documents, it won’t be difficult to fill out the DS-260 form. However, you should have some English skills.
As I won as "single," but wanted to take my partner with me to the US, I had to add him on the Green Card application. After our wedding, we just needed to send an email to the KCC and only a few weeks later we already received the invitation for the Green Card interview.
We had far too many papers with us for the interview in Frankfurt. Besides our graduation certificates, they checked the proof of financial resources, the English level certificate and the proof that we visited the United States several times. It is helpful as well if you can already prove you have a job or at least a concrete plan. To make it short: The interview was super easy and in less than an hour, everything was done.
Where did you activate your Green Card and how did the activation trip go?
About a year after being notified by The American Dream and after the medical check, we went to our new chosen home Los Angeles for two weeks. On our arrival in the US, the customs officer even said "Welcome Home!" We used this trip to learn more about the neighborhoods and open bank accounts. At that moment it is about time to also get a US cell number.
As you have to visit the US again in the year after your activation trip, we decided to do a round trip on the east coast.
My recommendation: On each further entry you should avoid using the word "holiday" as the customs officers might not like that.
Where do you live now and what are the differences to your everyday life in Germany? What do you like most about living in the USA?
We are living in Los Angeles, California. In mid-November 2018 we could finally say “Goodbye Germany!” Meanwhile, our moving boxes have arrived, we have started to work and are getting used to everyday life in our new home.
We have joined some groups here which helps us to integrate faster and to get to know the new American world better. The people on the West Coast are very friendly and helpful. There are so many immigrants from all over the world in California and everyone has a different story to tell.
Looking back, would you decide again to move to the USA?
Yes, without any doubts we would anytime decide to move overseas again. People who have a connection to the USA and are well organized will quickly find their way around. Some things will take more time and others will go faster, the same as some things are cheaper while other things are more expensive. Certain German food products are missing as well as a sturdy laundry stand but luckily, we took ours with us.
The activation trip is a great opportunity to take time for getting certain things done. If you have at least 4-6 weeks in the USA you can even do your driver's licenses. Here in California, the practical driving exam was quite an experiment.
Would you recommend The American Dream service to other USA fans?
Absolutely! This ensures the participants that the bureaucracy of the application will be implemented correctly and that there is no threat of disqualification.
Is there something else other participants should know?
"Everything has a meaning. No experience is ever wasted!” Only those who have courage move forward and those who don’t try, will not have a story to tell. If you are living in Los Angeles, you can get in touch with us. We look forward to a nice chat! :-)