For many Kenyans, the dream of winning a green card and securing a chance at life in the United States remains an elusive and coveted aspiration.
For instance, in 2022, out of over 22 million individuals who participated in the green card lottery, only a mere 143,000 were fortunate enough to receive the green light to apply for an immigrant visa.
This number was further diminished, as only 55,000 visas were up for grabs during that period.
Many winners were disqualified over unmet education requirements, suspicions of fraud, and mistakes in their application forms.
The green card, also called a permanent residency card, is an identification document that affirms a foreigner’s permanent residency in the US.
The most common way of acquiring a green card is to participate in the DV lottery program, which happens between the months of October and November of each year.
For Farrell Muthoni, his American journey began when he participated in the Green Card lottery in October 2016. He was a high school teacher at the time, dabbling in occupational therapy as a side hustle.
“I just applied and forgot about it. I was too busy with my teaching career,” he said.
A year later, a friend informed him that the results were out, and, on checking, he discovered ecstatically that he was among the lucky winners.
Speaking about his journey on a YouTube channel – Shiko Hope TV, Farrelll narrated how, since it was his first time applying for a green card, he did not have any information on how to acquire a Visa after winning.
“I did not know what to do after winning the green card. However, someone advised me to keep the good news to myself and only divulge them once I had gotten the visa,” he said.
Consequently, he turned to Google and social media groups for information on how to go about the visa processing.
According to him, after winning the green card lottery, winners are issued a unique number, called a case number.
This is the number that one uses to make the visa application in the US Embassy offices in Nairobi.
One is also required to fill in the online DS-260 form, a crucial part of the visa application process that requires detailed personal information, including one’s educational background, employment history, and family details.
Your next step is to wait for your case number to become current, at which point you schedule a visa interview.
Farrelll cautions that the process is a bit costly, as you need to have money to pay for medicals and the visa interview.
He adds that many people make the mistake of changing their marital status after applying for a Green card.
This may disqualify one from getting an immigrant Visa because the information will not streamline with the DS 260 form. “If you applied as a single person, please remain like that, you can marry later,” he advises.
During the Visa interview, some of the questions he was asked included why he wanted to travel to the US.
“I told the interviewers I wanted to find new opportunities and also experience new cultures,” he said.
He was also asked whether he had someone who would host him in America and also to provide the person’s tax transcripts to prove they could host him without struggle.
“That was it, they had approved my visa,” said Farrelll.
In October 2018, two years after he had applied for a green card as a high school teacher, Farrell alighted in the Jackson Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta Georgia as a permanent US citizen, ready for new beginnings.