Alright, this is the last part of the series on the ins and outs of the DV lottery. If you haven’t read the previous articles already, make sure to find out everything about the interview process in the first part and the some of the initial actions to take arriving in the country if you’re among the lucky ones in the second part.
In this part, I’ll be talking about getting a driver’s license, job search, and international travel as a resident (how to keep your status as a resident).
As a newcomer to a foreign country you’re required to operate a vehicle at some point in time. If I think about my time as a tourist in the US it was easy as many states allow driving with a foreign driver’s license up to three months. Well, if you’re on an immigrant visa it’s different. In California where I live, the law says you’re only allowed to use a foreign license for 10 days if there’s an immigration intent. In crowded places like the San Fransisco Bay Area it’s almost impossible to get an appointment that fast.
If you’re hoping for a clear guidance on what to do in this case - I don’t have it. Some people keep driving with their foreign license, some people use any of the available car sharing services to get around. The good thing is though, that once you passed the knowledge test you’re allowed to drive if someone at the age of 25 who owns a valid driver’s license accompanies you. This should help you to familarize yourself with your new environment and lets you practice for your driving test. For me the whole process took about 3 month and cost 35$.
Note: The US driver’s license is much more than just a license. It’s commonly used for age checks and serves as a valid travel document for domestic flights. Starting October 1st, 2020, boarding domestic flights requires the ownership of a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card. More info on this can be found here.
Finding a job
Even though becoming a US resident doesn’t mean you have to work for a US company or work at all but I assume that most of us need to make a living somehow so getting a job was one of my major concerns. Unfortunately, there’s no general rule of thumb I can provide you with because finding a job is strongly dependent on the industry you are operating in. For me applying through i.e. glassdoor wasn’t successful at all but instead going to Meetups and meeting people in person worked pretty well. I read that only a fraction of available jobs is being posted online and networking is so much more important than I was used to it from Europe. In general, I’d suggest at least 3 months in which one can settle and interview with a lot of companies to find a good job.
The article is getting quite long already but this is an important part, so bear with me. A big topic is travelling internationally as a resident as you’re supposed to be in the US. Nonetheless, having vacation and staying away for a couple of weeks is usually not an issue. If you can provide documentation that you’re actually living in the US and justify your trip, there’s nothing to worry about even with frequent travels. But if you plan on staying away longer than one year then you must apply for a reentry permit as your permanent resident card becomes technically invalid after this period.
A topic I haven’t covered here is the process of naturalization which means becoming a citizen. As I have yet to explore this myself, I can only point you to the official website.
This was the last part on the topic for now, please reach out if you have any questions or remarks!
Tags: diversity visa, green card, lottery, USA