Why did you join the Green Card Lottery?
Due to my interest in the American job market (pharmaceutical industry).
What was your first reaction after receiving the winning notification?
I participated 3 times in total. On the third time I first received a negative reply, but was then called at the beginning of September and told that there was a redraw and I had won. I was just at lunch break and obviously I was completely thrilled and send a text message to my boyfriend: "I won a Green Card. We have to get married." That was the official proposal and we actually got married in March.
How did you experience the Green Card application process?
Filling out the DS-260 was not difficult, especially for my husband, as he has never been to the USA. But I already had a J-1 visa and had been there several times over the years and had to collect my entries and exits from different expired passports. A tip for all applicants: gather this information first, then start filling it out. After starting you only have 20 minutes time and if you don't save it temporarily, everything is gone.
My husband and I received the invitation to the consulate appointment the week after our wedding and therefore we had to change some information in my DS-260 application (last name, marital status). This can only be done by e-mail as soon as the date is fixed - it was not a big deal though. The appointment at the consulate was preceded by the doctor's appointment with the public health officer in Vienna. Our vaccinations were checked and partly refreshed, blood and urine were taken and a chest X-ray was made. We received the results in a sealed envelope, which we brought with us to the actual appointment at the consulate.
The interview was extremely relaxed and enjoyable. After approximately 45min everything was done. The passports with our visas were sent to us quickly. I noticed a mistake with my visa (marital status was entered as single instead of married) and we had to send the passport back to Vienna. We were already quite nervous, because our activation trip was 10 days later and in between there were several public holidays, but the mistake was quickly fixed and the passport was returned by express.
How did your activation trip look like?
A few weeks after our interview we flew to Washington D.C. for a week.
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 have been living near Washington D.C. since April 2015, almost 2.5 years after the winning notification. Our everyday life has changed fundamentally, on the one hand of course due to the new environment, on the other hand due to our new living conditions, which have been extended by a baby. Just about everything has changed.
I've been working for an American company for 1.5 months now and had to realize that for many people there is no clear separation between private and professional life. The whole attitude towards work is clearly different and partly needs getting used to (apart from the health system and insurance culture shock). On the other hand we also enjoyed the advantages of this and bought new dining room chairs on Sunday at 17:30. It all has its advantages and disadvantages.
Looking back, would you decide to move to the USA again?
Yeah, definitely. You have to at least give everything a real chance.
Would you recommend The American Dream service to other USA fans?
Absolutely! The information package after I won was worth a fortune and I was contacted several times to answer any questions I might have and to help me further.
Do you have some advice for future winners?
Stick to it. The basic lottery participation is not expensive and the prospect of a new adventure is even more exciting!