How is life after winning a green card
These four stories are united not only by the fact that their heroes are the lucky ones who won the green cards. All of them are immigrants from Kazakhstan. Using the example of four representatives of the diaspora, The Village.kz showed what immigration with a lucky ticket is.
Seinullina Ainash, 32 of the year
I have long wanted to move from Kazakhstan, but it was expensive to go to study, and work was risky. In 2015, I had a three-week trip to America: New York, Washington, Cancun, New Mexico, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles. As soon as she arrived, a devaluation happened - I calculated the expenses and realized that I would have to save forever for the next trip.
The guy offered to apply for a green card: “The economy is weak. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? ”And I filled it. I completely forgot about the lottery, I decided to finally settle in Astana: I began to look for credit programs to buy an apartment. During this turmoil I checked the application and saw: “You have been randomly selected ...”. I thought that only the first stage had passed and something else was needed, but it turned out that I won a card.
I found out about this in May 2016. There was no real estate or a car in Kazakhstan, neither a husband nor children, so there were no problems with collecting to the States. I collected the documents for the month. All documents must be handed over to the migration police in order to leave the country: you need to wait for 40 days, go every day and check the status of the check. I collected documents in Astana, had to go to an interview in Almaty. It worked at that moment, and no one knew that I won the lottery. Therefore, I had to get out: I used my sister who had given birth as an excuse to go to Almaty.
For discharge from the country you need the written consent of the parents. The situation is ridiculous: I’m 32, and I have to ask my parents, even though I live separately from them. When I told my parents, my father was happy for me, and my mother was worried and teased: “And what will happen if I do not sign?”. But they supported and made my decision.
It was tiring to wait: America looms before our eyes, and they don’t call for an interview. The interview was called only in November 2016. The situation at the American Embassy is relaxed, and the interview was easy. The American man spoke Russian and calmly asked about his life, work, and finances: there must be at least five thousand dollars in the account to support himself at first. Participation in the lottery is free, but you need to pay a visa - 330 dollars. After the conversation, he did not have any additional questions, and the visa was approved. I went outside and burst into tears, and the next day I took my passport with a ready visa.
Moved things from Astana to Almaty and distributed them to friends and acquaintances. I had nothing to lose, even though I worked in the Eurasian group. For six years I was a senior internal auditor, and I got bored. I wanted a change in life and at work. And the timing is great - I'm 32, my parents are healthy, there is no family. I decided to start life from scratch and went to the USA on the first of March 2017 of the year.
Before coming to America, I knew it would be hard. I have good English, but it was difficult to speak - the vocabulary was not enough, and the emphasis was present. Education and experience is reset: KIMEP in the States has not been quoted, certificates have been invalid. I submitted my CV to Deloitte, because I used to work there, and even the first round did not go through six times. They did not take an internship, because I was too qualified, and for work because of a lack of experience. In the end, I went to Macy's as a sales assistant because they were the only ones who invited me. This whole situation hit on pride. I first went to the children's department and the lingerie department, I received 300 dollars a week. Then she got into the men's suit department, where the commission was added to the salary depending on the amount of clothes sold. Lasted in this mall for eight months.
In early November, I received a letter stating that the largest firm needs employees with knowledge of the Russian language. I did not know which company I was going to. Interviewed, and it turned out that the company - Google. With me signed a contract for one year.
Life is getting better. I bought a car and learned to drive: in Texas it is impossible to work without a car. Sometimes you think that you quit everything in vain, but it’s not in my rules to retreat: once I arrived, I must go on. Too little time to understand, I regret or not, but I definitely do not plan to return. An interesting life has just begun, so I do not want to leave the States. Let's see how it goes on.
Lelav (Lily) Nassau, 23 of the year
My friend raved a dream to go to America and played the lottery for five years. In 2011, on the last day of the card, she advised me to try. I had 17, so I filled out the documents addressed to my mother and forgot. A friend reminded me to check and so I found out that my mother and I won a green card. I came home and told my mother: "It seems we are going to America." Mom agreed.
I did not plan to move, because in Kazakhstan there was an ideal life: studying at KIMEP, friends and an internship as an event manager. Mom left first and settled in New York. For three years I went to her and lived in two cities. I did not like New York, and I knew that I would stay in Almaty. Friends and people around me said that I was missing a huge opportunity. Life is a difficult and ironic thing: millions dream about a green card, but not me. I thought for a long time and decided to challenge myself: I left university, work, friends and transferred to an American university. I was not ready for such a step, but I felt that it had to be done. In Kazakhstan, we did not sell anything, because the goal of emigrating forever was not. Moved out of curiosity: like it - stay, no - leave.
As it turned out, getting a green card is easy enough, and all the documents are standard. Their list is on the website of the American Embassy. After winning the lottery you are having an interview. The interview passed quickly, I was asked a few questions about relatives.
The process of applying for a green card is free, but regardless of the result, you must pay the visa fee for the visa. If the visa is approved, you become a full-fledged citizen of America and you can legally work. But the green card does not give privileges in terms of any discounts, payments, rent or purchase of housing.
It seemed to me that I would be lonely in New York, I would not find my people, but it made it easier for my mother to wait for my arrival. It was hard to speak English, though she taught him from the age of six. I applied to City University of New York College. I was surrounded by new people, a new system and a new transport: like a small child, I had to learn about life. It was difficult to search for friends, the country seemed alien. In the first one and a half years I thought that I would leave back to Kazakhstan. I began to hate New York and did not understand why they love him.
But at one moment something clicked. I got used to college, I made friends and fell in love with New York. Now, when I come to Almaty, it becomes crowded, and I suffocate. Everything seems slow and small. After New York it's hard to live in another place, because the pace here is so dynamic that it is difficult to adapt to other cities.
Now I'm in college for PR and advertising for the third year, because there have been few loans transferred from KIMEP. I do photo projects and practice in a fashion-PR agency.
It turned out that we did not choose America, but she - us. I feel that I am where I need to be.
Aset Uteuliyev, 36 years
I always wanted to go to the States to learn, work or live. Before winning, he played the lottery for three years in a row. There was no fear of leaving: Kazakhstan was and will remain my home. I am divorced, so the relatives accepted my decision normally: however, my mother did not conduct much enthusiasm.
I collected all the documents, passed them, I was assigned an interview. It took about a minute: they asked where I would go, what I would do, and then they confirmed my visa. A month after receiving the visa, I arrived in the USA - I indicated the address of my friend, where they brought the green card. While I was waiting for the map, I could not work, so I traveled around America: I visited New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. During this time, I did a little research on the documents for work and assessed if I could live here independently. Then he returned to Kazakhstan, stayed with his family, took two suitcases and flew away. Moving to the USA is an opportunity to test yourself and grow emotionally. The fourth of November was two years old, as I am without a break in the States.
I went to Virginia, where friends lived. Here life is measured and calm. In Virginia, many migrants of different ethnic groups and religions: Arabs, Ethiopians, Mongols, Afghans, Uzbeks. People are friendly, maybe even disingenuous, but they can always help. A few months later in the States, I noticed how I became smiling.
I knew that in America it would be hard, I had no illusions. Six months after the move, my mother arrived, she liked it here. I didn’t cut all the bridges, I often communicate with my relatives on Skype. Next year I will go home to visit family and friends.
Friends warned that finding a job in the United States would be difficult, they would not immediately take up a good position. In Kazakhstan, I worked in the logistics and transport business, so here I also wanted to try myself in this area. I had to search for a long time, so for the first time I spent several months working part-time at Starbucks. After he moved to a company that deals with transport and forwarding services: they transport commercial cargo all over the world. Now I’m still working there and working on facilities inside America. There are no concrete plans for the future: I will continue to work in this area. There is a lot of new information, and it is interesting to me.
Vera Ospanova, 28 years
I was always looking for a better place: in 19 years I moved from Atyrau to Almaty. For the same reason, after ten years she moved to live in New York.
I used to hear about the green card, but I wasn’t interested in it seriously. The decision to move was spontaneous: the future husband offered to apply on the last day of the lottery. We filled out the applications separately, so the chance of winning doubled. For some reason, there was a certainty that we would definitely get a card.
The future husband won the lottery, so we signed and then sent the questionnaires to the embassy. So I would get a visa automatically. After the birth of the son sent a questionnaire son. Some people get fictitious for a green card and they don’t give it to them. There were no suspicions for us: they did not cross-survey and did not ask for old photos - we had a common son.
After sending the questionnaires, you need to wait for the appointment of the interview and slowly begin collecting documents: they need to be translated into English, preferably to a translation agency. A full package of documents is collected on the main applicant. Four days before the interview, we underwent a medical examination at the IMC clinic. There are two clinics in Almaty where you can get an immigration visa, IMC and SOS. On the website of the clinic there is a list of documents that you need to bring with you. A day later, they issued sealed envelopes with the results that we attributed to the interview. We had to collect information about the documents required for interviews on the forums, because there was no clear list anywhere. It was as follows: birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate, marriage dissolution certificate, certificate of no criminal record, diploma, employment record, military ID card, certificate from the bank about the availability of funds, check on payment of the consular fee. Problems may arise with a certificate of no criminal record for those who have lived in other countries for more than one year — a certificate from these countries will be required.
The whole family came to the interview, they even took a five-month baby. It lasted about ten minutes - questions were asked only to her husband. There were very few of them: what was his education, what experience, where did he plan to live. Then immediately congratulated with the approval of the immigration visa. The next day, we took our passports with visas and sealed envelopes. They are forbidden to open and need to give the officer when crossing the border.
Additional documents for the green card do not need to be collected. It is necessary to issue an official permit to leave for permanent residence. Without this paper, citizens with an immigration visa are not allowed out of the country. They wrote on the forums that they were leaving without any formalities, while others were confronted with responsible border guards who were being removed from the voyage. We decided not to risk it - it is not known how the absence of these papers will affect us when entering back into the country. Getting an exit permit is a complicated process that takes two to three months to complete. But you should not draw up a document in advance, because after that you need to leave Kazakhstan within one month.
Two years have passed since the application for participation in the lottery to departure to America. We moved in early September 2017. The green card is sent by mail one month after moving to the USA. The address can be changed at the officer, who give envelopes from the embassy. We received the cards in a month and a half.
Our life in the United States is just beginning, so it’s too early to judge how life is here. Received social security number, issued medical insurance and rented an apartment for a year. It is rather difficult to rent housing for migrants. The landlord is interested in credit history and monthly income, and immigrants have neither work nor loans. But you can get out - pay for several months in advance, leave a security deposit in the amount of a rental rate for several months or find a guarantor with a good credit history and income.
We did not build illusions about life in the United States, because we had already heard a lot of different stories from acquaintances. Now there are a lot of plans, that's why we chose New York to embody the ideas - the city has a mad energy and many opportunities for self-realization.
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