June 2017. The results of DV-2018 had already been released. We were still checking on behalf of a number of entrants. A few entries had succeeded. Because our community is such a small one, we soon realized that the winners were generally our acquaintances.
Unfamiliar, But Lucky
There was however one successful entrant who we did not know. Luckily, she had left her contact number. We immediately dialed the number. Mai had almost completely forgotten that she had submitted an entry during the USA Diversity Visa entry period eight months earlier. She also hadn’t realized prior to our phone call that the results were out. Our conversation was therefore a wake up call for her to locate her entry submission confirmation page and pay us a visit in order to ascertain her result.
A couple of days later, a simple-looking young lady walked into our office. We somehow suspected that it was the unfamiliar lucky winner. Her face however did not recall any trace of acquaintance. Had she not been in possession of our customized DV entry form, we would have sworn that we had never come across her in the past.
Mai handed over her confirmation page, and paid for the service, as her particulars were entered into the system on the EDV website to confirm her result. Jubilation ensued. Then a call to her fiance to break the news. After calming down, Mai bid us good bye, promising to return and subscribe to our guidance service since she knew just a little about the process that lay ahead.
Mai returned a few weeks later to begin the process which would cost her a little amount. It was then that we learned that at the time of her entry submission, she was bearing a child, and had recently given birth to a daughter. Mai would have to fill in online immigrant visa application forms (DS-260) for herself as well as for her newly-born baby. Filling in the forms required their passports, the infant’s birth certificate, and the particulars of their US-based prospective host.
The documents had to be obtained from the relevant government authorities, while information regarding their host would have to be sent to Mai by email. We therefore had to suspend filling in the online forms until the above were in our possession. Mai later managed to get everything in place, and returned a couple of months later to continue her DV application process. Due to the length of the forms we had to fill in, we could not conclude the day we began since in fact we had started off late that afternoon. Mai would have to return another day to conclude filling in the forms.
With the online forms concluded, Mai would have to gather a number of other documents which were not needed during the filling in, but which would accompany her and her baby to their interview a number of months later. Those documents included a proof of graduation from high school, the printed DS-260 forms confirmation pages, a crime clearance certificate, and quite importantly, an affidavit of support from their future host.
Mai had several months to put all the documents together. At the same time, we constantly checked her emails for her expected interview appointment letter. After several months of not being contacted by the Kentucy Consular Center (KCC) or the US Embassy, Mai became anxious, fearing that we had proceeded wrongly during the process and that she might not be contacted for interview.
News At Last
It took about six months. On March 15, Mai’s anxiety was eventually laid to rest. She had visited our office earlier that day and had gone away, still concerned about the long silence on her case. Later that evening, however, I received a call. Mai was on the other end. She breathed a sigh of relief: her interview appointment mail had finally arrived.
The interview had been scheduled for the last week of May. She would have to schedule medical examinations at a designated hospital which we had revealed to her during the guidance process. In order to be valid, the medical exams had to be carried out less than 30 days to the interview date. Mai therefore settled for May 10, exactly two weeks in advance.
U. S. Immigrants
Early on May 24, I remembered that it was Mai’s interview day. I then went about my daily duties. Thoughts of the interview vanished. Later that evening, just when my mind was taken back to the interview, my phone began to ring. It was Mai. She was rejoicing. She and her daughter had passed the interview, and had been requested to return to the US Embassy a week later – which they would do – in order to pick up their passports bearing US visas.
Their host carefully arranged their travel. We had to print out hard copies of their online tickets. The trip was set. A day to their planned departure, however, Mai received a mail indicating that their flight had been postponed to the following day. That was not bad news as she still had a lot of issues to settle. She would have probably arrived quite late for the flight or may have even missed it, had it not been canceled. And if she hadn’t checked her mail, she would have been driven to the airport in vain.
She took the rest of that evening to complete all unsettled business. The next day, with no other preoccupation, Mai and her daughter, by then a year old, boarded a taxi to the airport from where they would fly to the United States. I tried to reach her by phone while she was at the airport. But she had gone into the passenger lounge, and had left her phone with a relative.
Mai and her daughter have since emigrated to the USA. Our communication with her is currently made possible by social media…