Not a lot of work was done at my job for the rest of the day following the good news. I had research to do – and a lot of it.
One of my first ports of call was britsimonsays.com – and if you’re beginning your DV visa journey, this is the site you need.
Simon has collated years of experiences and stories from winners from across the globe (himself included) into a virtual encyclopedia into the process. If you’re looking for information – GO THERE NOW.
So from my research, there were a few things that I did learn. Firstly, and most importantly, the text I sent to Nicole was wrong.
We hadn’t “won” – not by a long shot. There are many months, many dollars and many grey hairs before we can hold our green cards in our hands.
The next thing I learnt was that not everyone who was “randomly selected” would get a green card… in fact MANY would miss out.
The main reason for this was that the Department of State routinely selects way more people than available visas.
They assume many people won’t check to see if they are winners, won’t go through with the application or won’t show up for interview.
But even then, the numbers are still way too high (and I’ve since learnt that the DV2018 draw has been massively over-selected – there’s hundreds in Australia alone who will never get an interview).
The other reason many will miss out is that any mistake, intentional or not, can result in disqualification. For this year, the Department of State changed the rules of the lottery, banning the use of photos from previous years.
It looks like some who did use last year’s photo have been selected, so we are waiting to see if they’ll have their visa’s denied at interview (see here for my own concerns about photos).
Then there’s those who try to game the system – trying to improve their chances. One of my perverse hobbies over the last couple of months has been lurking the comment threads of BritSimon’s site – watching those who (stupidly) tried to game the system learn that their feeble attempts will result in instant disqualification.
It’s all there – entering as a single and then admitting you have a family, entering for a relative, adding everyone in their village as derivatives – it’s there and it makes amazing reading.
Now before you get all indignant about my schadenfreude, please note that:
- I’m half-German; and
- There are thousands who will miss out this year because someone tried to bluff their way through. Feel sorry for them, not the person caught out lying.
So from my research I learnt the next step was to fill out the online DS-260 form: a daunting document where you outline EVERYTHING you have ever done in your life to a faceless bureaucrat at the mysterious Kentucky Consulate Centre, or KCC – who cross-checks everything and controls the future of your life … at least for the next few months.