Completely unexpected and after just one entry, Stev won the Green Card Lottery in 2015. He now lives in his new adopted home of San Diego, California. Although he dreamed about living in the US as a child, he has never thought of actually emigrating. But when he became aware of the US Green Card Lottery, his curiosity gripped him. In his Green Card review, he tells us how things are going for him now.
Why did you join the Green Card Lottery?
Initially, I was planning to travel through the USA for 7 months as part of a round trip. I wanted to get to know the country and its people and produce small nature films, too. It didn't work out, though, because there was no visa for tourists that allowed staying in the USA for 7 months straight. At that time, I was still travelling through Europe as a freelance IT technician and not thinking about emigrating because I was doing well and about to inherit my parental home.
But in order to fulfill my dream of a round trip, I signed up for the Green Card Lottery. While searching the internet, I ended up at the ‘The American Dream’ website, which I liked right from the start. After a few days I just applied. I had never really dealt with the subject before and thought that a Green Card was valid for 3 years only. After further research, I learned that it would be valid all my life and that I could even work in the United States, which also seemed very interesting.
What was your first reaction after receiving the winning notification?
At first, I assumed it wouldn't work out anyway. When I received the winning notification, I just couldn't believe it and told all my friends about it. However, after getting access to The American Dream's exclusive winner’s forum, I was sensitized that my application could still fail. Therefore, I prepared myself for the worst and was positively surprised afterwards. It is more of an adventure for me than a longing wish to live in the USA forever.
How did you experience the Green Card application process?
I had no problems filling out the DS-260 form and was able to complete everything relatively quick. The interview at the US Embassy was half as bad as I thought. It is just a document check to see if you really are who you said you were in the application. That means you must bring all identification documents which prove this with you. If you stated everything truthfully, everything runs by itself.
How did your activation trip look like?
Just before the end of the deadline, I flew to New York with my girlfriend. She doesn’t have a Green Card and therefore entered New York with a visa. Since I had a free flight left, I gave it to her and paid for mine. The activation trip was so late because my passport went "lost" on its way from the embassy to me. I eventually picked it up myself at the embassy. So the originally planned activation at Christmas was no longer possible, which was very sad.
Overall, the Green Card activation trip went without a hitch. Arriving at the terminal, we directly came to a large room, where we were assigned to different counters. My nervousness disappeared quickly, since the immigration officer did not ask me anything. Instead, he only made gestures pointing to the finger print scan or the camera.
My visa was stamped with the date and signature. That was it already, my Green Card was activated and all the tension dropped. We went to our hotel, which was in a side street from the Empire State Building. We then visited the typical tourist attractions of New York. During the four days we unfortunately couldn't see them all, but we did see a lot.
Where do you live now and what are the differences to your everyday life in Germany?
In February 2019 I finally emigrated to San Diego, California. In the past years I still had to organize a few things. The long inheritance process, personal matters, work. Moreover, I had to find out which place in the USA was right for me. I made trips to San Francisco, Atlanta and Los Angeles - but in the end, I chose San Diego.
Since I don't know anyone here, I'll start from scratch. I can't say exactly how my everyday life differs from that in Germany, because I don't have a daily routine yet. I am still looking for a job.
The weather here is definitely much better than in Germany. The whole thing is still an adventure for me, but I want to stay as long as I can.
What I like about the USA is the serenity of the Americans, although it often depends on the area. I have heard from many people that there are lots of possibilities to realize your professional potential. The disadvantage, on the other hand, is that there is no social security. I'm gonna have to find out if that's really the case.
Looking back, would you decide to move to the USA again?
I would dare to take the step again in any case. However, I wouldn’t wait so long with everything and be less afraid. Sometimes it's easier than you think.
Would you recommend The American Dream service to other USA fans?
I've already advertised for you in the past. Two of my people took part in the lottery and one even won at the first attempt, just like I did. I will always recommend your service, because the whole thing is worth it, if you really want it.
Do you have some advice for future winners?
For the activation trip I would always recommend New York, because activation only takes five minutes there. It works just like a normal entry, at least in my experience.
On the website internations.org you can get in touch with other emigrants. I really like it, because I get advice from others and can exchange ideas.
We would like to thank our winner Stev, who has now made his dream of living in the USA come true and shared his experiences with us!