The United States Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is here! Commonly known as the Green Card Lottery, this is the best, easiest and maybe cheapest way to live and work legally in USA for a while. It’s not bogus. I know several people who have won it. Applications are being taken until Nov 3, but don’t wait until the end to try. It is quick and easy to fill out the form. The only thing that takes time is submitting the right photo, but there is a photo validator to ensure it is OK.
It is free to apply. When I travel in developing countries during the annual application period, businesses sprout up everywhere to scam people into believing there is a fee to enter and that they have secrets to getting accepted, but it’s all rubbish.
Many foreigners come to USA working on an H1B visa, but the big advantage this visa has over an H1B is that the H1B visa is tied to your job. If you leave or get fired from your job, you are suddenly without a visa. With a green card you can work anywhere at any job for any amount of time. In short, this way you can work Kent Foster-style and have a different job every week if you wanted.
Are there jobs in USA?
Even the most casual observer knows that the American economy is bad now and unemployment is high, but there are two things to remember:
1–This visa doesn’t kick in until mid-2014. A lot can happen between now and then. It could be perfect timing. By that time TheDromomaniac.com will be a blood-sucking corporation and I will hire anyone who subscribes to my RSS feed as “consultants”.
2–There are lots of oddball jobs. Check craigslist.org for the “ETC” jobs to see all kinds of crazy, interesting possibilities even now in this supposedly tight job market. How about an “Ice Cream focus group for women 25-59” $100 for two hours(!) in San Francisco or “Someone with nice HANDWRITTING to write addreses on envelops” (sic) in Beverly Hills or “Take 100 pictures in a supermarket” in Las Vegas? America is the undisputed world leader in wacky jobs, trust me.
The fine print
It is free to apply, as I said, but it isn’t exactly free if you win, and it isn’t a sure thing if you do win. There is an interview where they ask if you are a terrorist (I know, I know. Just lie.) You need to pay for the visa which isn’t cheap plus there’s a very extensive medical checkup, many documents need to be submitted, etc. I don’t know all the aspects of the program so check it out carefully.
You can’t apply if you are from these countries because apparently we have too many of these: BANGLADESH, BRAZIL (Can we ever have too many Brazilians? I say no.), CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.
Here are the instructions and if your English is shaky, translations are available in these languages: Albanian (all my Albanian readers, take note), Arabic, Armenian, French, Japanese, Latvian, Nepali, Polish, Romanian, Ukrainian and Uzbek.
An oddity is that no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available visas in any one year, so if you are from a country with a small population, your chances are even better.
Go for it! In the meantime, practice your handwriting, your photo taking and your ice cream eating.
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