As a majority of you know I was successful in getting my Green Card approved last week.
I have now been asked by several people "how" I won it - So here is the process!
I have applied twice for the Diversity Visa Lottery (more commonly known as the Green Card) - once in 2011 and again in 2013. I was successful on the second attempt. I have heard some people applying up to 15 times (once a year for 15 years!) and still not being successful. So I do feel incredibly grateful.
Here are the official websites for the Diversity Visa Lottery (Green Card):
There are many sites online asking you to pay for the process - DO NOT USE THESE. They are scams and the official process does not cost anything until you actually win the lottery and need to pay the processing fees (which is only $330 after you have your interview and another $135 when you immigrate to the States).
The Diversity Visa Lottery application process opens once a year from October 1st to around November 2nd. I would recommend for anyone who is eligible to apply every year! You've got to be in it to win it!
Which brings me to another important note: you will need to see if you are eligible to apply, dependent on the country were born in. Unfortunately for my Canadian friends, you are not currently eligible because according to travel.state.gov:
"For DV-2016, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born)..."
But for my Australian friends you are in luck!
Here is the link for eligibility for the 2016 process (2015 and 2016 applications have actually already closed but I just put this here for your information.)
The next round will be open on October 1st 2015 for the 2017 Diversity Visa Lottery (Confusing huh!?)
The whole process from start to finish took about a year and a half. I applied in October 2013, and found out on May 1st that I had been selected in the lottery (You can check the status of your application here as of May: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/)
I then had to fill out another few forms - DS260 and another which I can't remember the name. Make sure you get your forms in as soon as possible. I got my forms in the day they were accepted and still had to wait 5 months to get my interview notice. Your interview will be determined what Case Number you have - I am not entirely sure how the case number is selected - I think it is random along with the lottery draw.
Also the Diversity Visa only allocates 55,000 visas per year, but they actually choose 125,000 people in the lottery round (May 1st), meaning if you don't get your forms in fast the 55,000 visas could actually be filled and the remaining 70,000 people miss out!
Make sense? It is a little confusing.
In saying that not all people selected in the lottery round will pursue the process, their circumstances might change and they decide they don't want to move to the States anymore, but either way just get in fast.
So after I was given my Case Number and got my forms in, in May - the waiting began!
It took 5 months for me to hear back from them regarding when my interview would be (you have to have a formal interview to get your Green Card approved). They contact you via email and you will be linked back to the Entrant Status website to review when your interview is.
My interview was held in Montreal, Canada because I applied as an Australian but living in Vancouver and the only city in Canada that processes the Green Card is Montreal.
Make sure once you know when your interview is that follow the instructions very clearly. You will need to provide a bunch of documentation at your interview: you will have to do a medical exam ($280) by a official Green Card approved physician, get your original birth certificate, high school records, vaccination records, university degree records (if you went to university), a police record for any countries you have lived in etc.
Then you go to your interview, you pay the fees and they ask you a few questions and making sure you meet the criteria and have provided all the correct information you might just get approved! From there your interviewer will say "Welcome to the United States of America - you have been approved for your Green Card." You will smile like you've never smiled before and walk home in a surreal but ecstatic daze!
I hope this information has been useful and not too confusing, I just wanted to share my experience and help out anyone I can. As an actor, winning the Green Card has been like a dream come true.
I plan to move to Los Angeles, California in February and continue pursuing my acting dreams.
Good luck to anyone else who applies :)