There is a long way between winning the DV lottery and obtaining a Green Card. If you are going to move to the U.S., then prepare for the mandatory paperwork and living expenses after arrival. We have calculated how much this process is likely to cost you.
Step 1: Complete the DS-260 application form. The cost is $0.
After checking the results on the official website dvprogram.state.gov and learning about the victory, you need to fill out the online immigration visa application form DS-260. It’s free for lottery winners. Follow our instructions for completing the form at https://dvlottery.me/blog/1700-ds-260_application_form.
When the DS-260 form is done, you should save the confirmation page on your computer and then print it. You need to take it with you for an interview among other documents. The interview date will be emailed to you after you have filled out the form.
Step 2: a medical exam. Cost is $100-$500.
After you are told the date of the interview, there comes the time for your medical exam. You can only do this at specially certified centers accredited by the U.S. Embassy. You can register for the medical examination on the IOM website at https://mymedical.iom.int/. The cost of this procedure is about $215 on average per family member (the price may vary from country to country by $10-15), and the vaccinations are paid separately.
Step 3: Passing the consulate interview and paying the visa fee. The cost is $330 for each family member.
For the interview, you will need the originals and English translations of all your documents, the results of the medical examination, and the invitation to the interview itself. You will need to pay a visa fee of $330 per family member on the spot at the embassy. If your visa is denied, the fee will not be refunded.
If you are successful in your interview, you will be granted a six-month visa. If the main applicant or all family members have not entered the USA within these 6 months, the visa will be canceled.
Step 4: Green Card. The cost is $220 or more.
Lottery winners are entering the US on a 6-month visa and must obtain a green card in the US.
You will need to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee. This fee is 220 USD and you will need to pay it before entering the US. You can do this through the USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/forms/uscis-immigrant-fee.
Step 5: purchase air tickets. Cost is from $100 to $2000 per family member.
Air tickets to New York are almost always cheaper than to any other city in the United States. This is due to the fact that New York is one of the largest international hubs. According to statistics, the cheapest tickets are bought 45-60 days before departure. A few days before departure prices usually rise significantly.
Step 6: rental of accommodation. Cost is from $1000/month + deposit.
Official DV Lottery Green Card Program
The cost of renting housing in the United States depends on the state and city where you plan to live. This is an important issue, as the price of housing may change very much. On the East and West coasts, prices are quite high, in the inland states they are lower. Below we give some examples.
How much does renting in major cities in the United States cost?
Here is the data for May 2020 by Apartment List National Rent Report at https://www.apartmentlist.com/research/national-rent-data.
San Francisco, California:
- Average rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment: $2,390/month.
- Average rental price for a 2-bedroom apartment: $3,000/month.
New York, New York:
- Average rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment: $2,000/month.
- Average rental price for a 2-bedroom apartment: $2,490/month
- Average rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,090/month.
- Average rental price for a 2-bedroom apartment: $1,290/month.
San Diego, California:
- Average rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,570/month.
- Average rental price for a 2-bedroom apartment: $2,040/month
- Average rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,350/month.
- Average rental price for a 2-bedroom apartment: $1,550/month.
- Average rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment: $910/month.
- Average rental price for a 2-bedroom apartment: $1,130/month.
Typically you must also pay a security deposit, the amount of which depends on various factors, including landlord requirements and the location of the property. Some landlords ask for a security deposit for the amount of the monthly rent, some ask for a 50% deposit, etc. The deposit will be returned to you after moving out of the apartment if you do not cause any damage to the property.
Step 7: living expenses. Cost: from $900 per person/month.
The following are the average costs per person per month.
- $200 is the average bill for a communal service in the cold season. In summer the amount drops to $75-90.
- Home internet is from $40.
- The mobile phone is $40.
- Groceries and food are from $300 per person.
- Public transport is from $115 per person.
- $200-$400 – other expenses.
Of course, the cost of living in the U.S. may drastically vary depending on your lifestyle and the state/city you choose. We tried to give you an example of costs that you may expect when you move to the US.