May 3, 2017 – May 4, 2017

The application is in and now the waiting begins. For the uninitiated to the DV Lottery process, you lodge your application and then… nothing… for months.

Then in early May, the Department of State throws open the website for the millions of entrants to see if they have “won”.

The first point here is to note that it’s actually not winning. You’re “randomly selected” to proceed to the next round of processing.

You might have noticed that I’ve put the words “randomly selected” in quotation marks. The reason? That’s what you want to see when you type in your details on the website.

But for millions and millions of those who have entered they will see the words “not been selected” and that’s the end of that.

The second point I need to make is to give some scale of how big the lottery is.

As usual, many of the stats on I use will come from the amazing site britsimonsays.com. It’s a wealth of knowledge about the lottery and Simon should become your best friend if you are lucky enough to be selected.

Back to the stats – for DV2018 (the year I entered) there were 15 million entries (23 million including derivatives). That’s for 55,000 visas. To put that in perspective, that’s a one in 272 chance.

Okay, back to the story. At 12pm on May 2, 2017 the Department of State pressed open to the DV2018 results.

In Sydney it was 2am, and given the odds were so low, I was tucked up in bed. “I’ll check them in the morning,” I said to Nicole. “It’s not like we really have a chance anyway”.

But, of course, secretly I went to sleep that night with everything crossed. I mean could this be the beginning of our American dream?

The alarm went off at 5.30am (yes, I’m an early riser) and I jumped out of bed. Straight onto the computer, I typed in dvlottery.state.gov and then… nothing. Okay, it might be me… dvlottery.state.gov … nothing.

A bit of quick research, and it soon dawned on me. When 15 million people try to check their results at the same time, of course the system was going to crash.

No worries, I’ll check later in the day. 9am – nope. 10am – nope. 10.30am – nope. 12pm –nope. 3pm – nope 5pm – nope. 7pm – nope. 9pm – nope. Okay, so tomorrow it is then.

5.30am – nope. 7am – nope, 9am – nope 10am – nope. 10.30am – YES!!!! I’m in.

Okay, I’ll check Nicole’s first – she’s always lucky and won last time…

OH NO!

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Okay, my turn and our last chance…….

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Time stopped for about five minutes. I was at work, so jumping up and down wasn’t an option.

I was in shock. I was shaking. I knew how low the odds were, but there were the words – “randomly selected”. Stuff like that never happens to me.

I made a small noise, somewhere between a squeal and a yelp. People in neighboring cubicles stared at me. I was broken. All I could manage was two words in an text to Nicole: “We won”.

Little did I know how those two words would alter the direction of our lives.

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