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Deborah Jourdain was sitting about a pub with some accompany aback she begin out she won the US Blooming Agenda Lottery, the awful approved US clearing acceptance that grants a actuality a permanent resident’s status.

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She confused to LA in late 2014 and is currently working as an assistant to a aptitude partner. 

Deborah talks to Traveller on what it’s like to win the US Blooming Agenda Lottery.

Why did you adjudge to administer for the US Blooming Agenda Lottery? Why not move to London or Toronto?

I had worked in the US for 12 months on a J1 acceptance afterwards I accomplished university. I absolutely enjoyed it so aback I confused back to Sydney afterwards that acceptance ran out, I entered the blooming agenda action aloof to see if it would assignment out. I knew it would be adamantine to get a acceptance to the US any added way. The US is decidedly difficult compared to Canada and the UK for Australians wanting to assignment overseas but because I formed in the blur and television industry, it fabricated faculty to appear aback to the US compared to other places.

I knew that the blooming agenda was the best way to do it in agreement of not accepting any work restrictions, it aloof gives you a lot added adaptability in what you appetite to do and you don’t charge to accept a job to get the visa. I’d looked into every added access and it seemed like it would be impossible, so I anticipation why not try your luck? 

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What did you anticipate about your chances?

I absolutely didn’t apperceive what my affairs would be, to be honest. I anticipation they would be actual abbreviate and that I could be entering for 10 years afore I won anything, but somehow I got very, very, actual advantageous on the aboriginal try. 

What was the process like applying for the blooming agenda lottery? 

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The action of applying for the blooming agenda action was almost easy. Aback the action opens, there is a website that the US Government puts up, it’s alone accessible to access in the ages of October of every year. From October 1 to October 31 you can abide your name, email address and beat a few altered boxes about aerial academy apprenticeship and you are appropriate to upload a authorization admeasurement photo with added requirements, but the capital affair was already you access it generates a cipher for you and you accept to address that cipher down.

They don’t email it to you or accelerate it to you, you are amenable for befitting that code. That’s the cipher you charge to log aback in the afterward May. Afterwards it closes in October, you can’t do anything, you accept to delay until it reopens to analysis in on May 1 the afterward year. You log aback in with the aforementioned capacity and that cipher and it will actually acquaint you, ‘you accept not been selected’ or in my case ‘you accept been alleged for added processing for the US Blooming Card’.

What happened aback you begin you had won?

The way that I begin out I won was quite absorbing because I had abandoned that I’d entered. I was appealing blessed because I’d got a job alive in the industry aback home and I was in a acceptable position, accepting some absolutely acceptable acquaintance and I absolutely forgot I had entered.

I was meeting up with two accompany one night at a pub, two accompany who had additionally lived over in the US on J1s aback I’d been there, both are actors and artists attractive for a blooming agenda to go back there and assignment with aught restrictions.

They were accusatory about how they hadn’t won and I was like “Oh, I forgot to check” so I pulled it up on my phone, and luckily I put the cipher in my phone, and alike added luckily, I hadn’t replaced my buzz in those brace of months and I logged in at the pub, and lo and behold, I had been alleged for added processing.

Then there was the shock…

I couldn’t accept it. I was still not abiding that it was happening. I was both air-conditioned aflame but honestly, so abashed and a little anxious that I had already gotten a job in Sydney and I wasn’t that accustomed with what the aing action would be. I didn’t absolutely apperceive what to think, but it was absolutely an agitative time. 

What did you accept to do next?

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The aing accomplish for the blooming agenda were a little added complicated.

Once you begin out that you’ve won, you go into a assertive abode and get the abstracts that you charge to ample out, you ample all them out and you accept to accelerate some photos in, again you accept to accelerate them to the admiral in Kentucky. Already there and processed, if aggregate is correct, you get generated a cardinal and you accept to delay until you get alleged for an interview.

The action can be a little alarming because you’re not absolutely abiding area you fall, there is a articulation on the capital website that you can check. For example, I was in the 500s which meant that my account came up in January the afterward year. So I’d entered in October of 2011, begin out I won in May 2012 and didn’t go to my admiral account until January 2013.

For that account I had to get a badge affidavit with fingerprint certificate, I had to get a abounding medical, I couldn’t acquisition my immunisation annal so had to get a agglomeration of immunisations, I had to get a X-ray – it was appealing full-on in that sense.

Then I bethink actuality absolutely afraid about missing the window because the way the blooming agenda action works is that you accept to accept that blooming agenda candy afore the September of the afterward year, that’s aback they aing access so that they can alpha the action for the aing year (October) so you accept to accomplish abiding you get it done in that timeframe.

Doing the account with the US consulate

Then I got alleged for my account and I additionally got affectionate of advantageous with the day and the guy that I interviewed with, he was absolutely air-conditioned and I was a little afraid because aback you got the blooming agenda processed, you had six months to go and actuate it in the US. It didn’t beggarly you had to move there but it meant you had to biking there aural six months of accepting it printed and I wasn’t abiding with my job if I would be able to do that.

I went to Hawaii for a brace of canicule as I wasn’t accessible to move yet. That was additionally a bit of a accident because it can be difficult but they accept that bodies can’t consistently aces up their lives and move in six months. Price astute it wasn’t too expensive, the medical was the best big-ticket part, that was about $450 but that’s because I additionally couldn’t acquisition bisected the actuality I bare so I had to get added actuality done. The admiral fee was about $350 but that’s about it. Other visas that bodies get can bulk a lot added money. The Blooming Agenda Lottery is effectively the best way to do it because on that visa, I can do annihilation I appetite as I accept the aforementioned rights as any abiding citizen of the US.

Do you apperceive anyone abroad who has won the acceptance action like you did?

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I hadn’t absolutely accepted anyone who had won. Another babe who I was accompany that did the J1, she entered for the aboriginal time and won the year after. I’ve aback met some bodies accept won the blooming agenda lottery, mostly Australians, but additionally one from New Zealand.

Being a action champ isn’t code for accepting married

People’s acknowledgment aback I acquaint them I’m a action champ – it depends who they are. If they are an amateur over actuality on an O1 they are very, actual jealous. Best bodies are actual absorbed by it and appetite to apperceive more. Some Americans think it’s cipher for accepting married, but that is not true. Best bodies can’t accept that it’s an clearing visa, that it’s a absolute affair and it’s article that all I had to do was put my name on the internet in a action and now I can be a abiding citizen of the US. Some Americans are baffled by it because they didn’t realise it was a thing,which is affectionate of amusing aback bodies are application it to appear to their country. 

What was it like when you aboriginal confused to the US?

When I aboriginal confused over here, I met up with a adherent and we travelled about for 4 weeks. I absolutely capital to get a job in the blur and TV industry and I was so active cerebration about what I would do as a aback for money that I didn’t alike anticipate that I would get a job actual quickly. But I did. I started my job at a aptitude administration aggregation alleged Administration 360 aural three days of actuality in LA (after travelling).

It’s a aptitude and lit management aggregation and I was alive as an abettor for a aptitude manager. The best way to call it is if you’ve apparent Entourage – I’m Lloyd to Ari. We administer a lot of actors’ careers and it’s agitative as we accept audience like Channing Tatum, Matthew Fox from Lost, Eric Dane who was McSteamy in Grey’s Anatomy, Martin Hendersen who is in Grey’s Anatomy appropriate now and is a Kiwi actor.

We accept a lot of Australians who were in the Beautiful Lie (ABC) like Benedict Samuel, Alex England – who I formed with on shows in Australia, so that was great. We accept artists like Joe Mangianello who was additionally in Magic Mike, and our aggregation additionally reps audience like Anne Hathaway, Michelle Pfeiffer and my claimed favourite – Henry Winkler “The Fonz” – aback he came into the appointment that was apparently my best agitative moment. We accept some absolutely big names – Julienne Moore, Rooney Mara. It’s a very agitative aggregation to assignment for and you absolutely get advance into the affection of it as anon as you start. Our company also produces Game of Thrones so that’s a big calling agenda for us.

What was the hardest allotment of packing up and affective to the US?

It was absolutely adamantine aback I aboriginal started the job as I was active in a hostel, I didn’t accept a car, I was still active out of two suitcases. I got a farm for a ages but I couldn’t achieve in, it was aloof to course me over. Financially, I begin it difficult because the pay brand actuality is decidedly lower than what we accomplish in Australia and on top of that the bulk of active in Los Angeles is almost high. I additionally didn’t accept abundant time to get my bearings as I started the job so bound and the hours are a lot longer, roughly 9am to 7.30pm every day.

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Not accepting a car was a huge struggle. Accepting one or two buses to and from assignment anniversary day to go 8km is batty to me. Bodies can accuse and say what they appetite about Sydney transportation, but Los Angeles takes the block on that.

Second year in, what’s it like now?

I’ve been active actuality for 20 months and now that I’m in the additional year it’s a lot easier. Bodies say the aboriginal year in LA is the best difficult and I anticipate that’s true. I’m absolutely blessed now, I accept a acceptable accumulation of friends, I accept a car. I additionally am about to alpha a new job; going to assignment for a casting director at Fox Studios. I’m actual aflame to go into that office. I’ll get to work on all the altered Fox projects which are activity to be released. It’s activity to be a altered bend to what I’m accomplishing now – I’m working as the ‘seller’ but aback I’m at Fox I’ll be alive as the ‘buyer’. It’s absolutely a absolutely air-conditioned way to see the industry and I’ll still be alive a lot with the actors and managers that I work with over here.

Best decision ever?

I anticipate if you absolutely stick it out here, you can go places. I never accepted to be this complex in the industry and about to go into a absolutely acceptable casting position area I’m activity to be alive on absolutely acceptable films and alive with absolutely acceptable people. It’s absolutely an befalling that whilst there are assertive things in Australia, it’s aloof not on the aforementioned level, so I’m air-conditioned beholden I’m activity to get that experience. 

Winning the action is probably the best affair that happened to me, it’s a absolutely abundant opportunity. I was actual afraid about it and the action has been long, but ultimately it’s actual air-conditioned that I didn’t accept to get married, [didn’t accept to be] related to anyone and I’m activity to be acceptable to get a US passport.

It’s aloof article that you accept to do because if you get that opportunity, why wouldn’t you booty it up?

How continued does the blooming agenda last? What do you accept to do to accumulate it?

The blooming agenda itself lasts for 10 years and it’s renewable.It’s additionally acceptable for citizenship so I can administer for bifold citizenship which is awesome. Some of the conjugal visas don’t let you do that but this one lets you.

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To accumulate it is interesting, I accept to be in the US for about 90 canicule of the year and I’m not declared to be alfresco the US for added than 12 months at a time, that’s the specific aphorism to actuality on a blooming card. If you win, they don’t appetite you advancing over for a anniversary to actuate it – the abstraction of it is an clearing visa, they appetite you to move actuality so that’s a little tricky. Sometimes I get anxious if I capital to go aback home for X bulk of time but that’s why cat-and-mouse it out and accepting to administer for citizenship is a abundant abstraction because again at atomic you can do that. There’s no bulk in advancement it, I don’t anticipate there is any bulk to renew it – I haven’t anticipation about that – as far as I apperceive there’s no bulk to renew it. Advancement it aloof agency you accept to break over here, to be a citizen – it’s a abiding citizen card, they appetite you to be a resident. 

What admonition would you accord for bodies absent to move to the US?

Number 1, do your research! Visas are absolutely difficult over actuality and I anticipate bodies don’t do abundant of it. Bodies additionally get too abundant articulate admonition from bodies who don’t accept the experience. I anticipate that it pays to allocution to addition about it properly, and I don’t mean lawyers per se, you aloof charge to do it the acute way. There’s a Facebook accumulation alleged Australians in LA and you can ask questions and get a lot of information.

The blooming agenda action – my admonition is if you appetite to do the US thing, enter it! You don’t know, it’s a lottery, you ability win. I can cautiously say that aggregate in my activity has afflicted aback I’ve confused here. I’m advantageous that I accept a absolutely admiring ancestors abaft me and I’m advantageous that I’m accepting the acquaintance on a accomplished altered akin than I would accept got aback home. It doesn’t beggarly I like Australia any less, if annihilation I still love it more, but it’s an acquaintance that I’m never activity to get in Australia. 

I anticipate it’s additionally important to bethink that it’s absolutely hard. LA isn’t an accessible abode to live, it’s absolutely different, there’s a lot of things that you don’t realise are different. We allege English but there’s still a accent difference, the banking barriers are hard. I was authoritative $US12 an hour for my aboriginal year of work, additional a bit of overtime but no tips and I was accomplishing adamantine abettor work. I was authoritative beneath than I did as a bartender at a football amphitheater aback I was 18 in Australia.

The bloom allowance is additionally difficult, it’s still actual ambagious to me still. It’s big-ticket and maybe it depends on what burghal you are in, but LA itself is not an accessible burghal to move to.

But I think if you appetite to assignment in the TV and film industry, it’s a absolutely agitative abode to be. 

My two big things would be do your analysis and appear over with money.

Be able to either not assignment and to reassess your account added than you thought. You have to acclimatize to what your acquittal brand becomes.

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Kate Livingstone travelled at her own expense.

Kate Livingstone

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