It’s a ticket to a new life living the ‘American dream’ – or so they hope.
Last year over 12,000 Aussies applied for the free-to-enter Diversity Visa Program, and in 2018, the latest year for which figures are available, 2,154 Aussies won the ‘golden ticket’.
But moving to the US isn’t always what Aussies expected.
Three previous winners have told 9news.com.au about their lives since migrating to the ’Land of Liberty’.
‘The buzz is indescribable’: Expensive but worth it
Bryanna Reynolds, 30, is living a busy life working on Hollywood red carpets after striking lucky in the scheme.
But it hasn’t been an easy road.
Reynolds was working as a children’s TV presenter in Melbourne and moved to LA.
“I called for an ambulance, but was advised to leave him by police as they were about to shoot,” she told 9news.com.au.
Reynolds still deals with the guilt of having to leave that man.
She’s since returned to LA and is working multiple jobs.
Reynolds said connections with Aussies helped her find work – she’s even living with one in the upmarket suburb of Toluca Lake.
She has no plans to leave the US and even drives a swanky convertible car around the city.
“The excitement and buzz of Los Angeles is just indescribable,” she said.
There are a few downsides though – like the cost of living.
A coffee can cost almost $11 ($US7), while toiletries are a lot pricier, she said.
Reynold is also living without health insurance as it’s so expensive, which could have huge financial ramifications if something were to happen to her.
She recommended saving as much as possible before moving – and had a stark warning about jobs in the US.
“Be prepared to work harder than you ever have in your life,” the 30-year-old said.
‘Magical’ but ‘no community’
Mark Lowe won the lottery the first year he entered.
He headed to LA from the Gold Coast, with just enough cash for one month’s rent in 2016.
The 38-year-old has a background in film and hoped to land a job in the global entertainment capital.
However, found he’d be expected to work for free to get established.
Lowe worked with a start-up before taking a job at the Qantas First Class Lounge in LA Airport.
He made another career jump after that closed during the pandemic and is now working at a start-up that rents electric vehicles.
Living in the movie hub of Hollywood has been “magical”.
But Lowe became a single dad along the way, to Mason, five, which has been challenging.
”There is no community,” Lowe said.
“It is tough to even talk to parents of other kids at school.”
He is considering moving back to Australia with his son to be closer to family.
Luckily, there’s a window for him to return.
You need to live continuously in the US with a green card for at least five years to get citizenship, which Lowe has done.
‘Calling us back’: Couple relocate entire family
Paul and Tiffany Gates are some of the latest Aussies to follow their American dream.
The Perth couple met in the US and after multiple holidays there decided to apply for the lottery – and won.
They moved over this year with their four children, Kacy, 6, Leni, 8, Nalo, 10 and Taylah, 13.
The family are living in a campervan in Orlando, Florida until they decide where they want to be.
The 48-year-old father said it’s going well and hopes he can land a job in sales once paperwork is sorted.
“It always been calling us back,” he said.
He is positive the US will give the Gates children great opportunities.
Moved five times in three years to chase Big Apple dreams
Nathan Courtney swapped Sydney for New Jersey, near New York City, just before the pandemic as he loves American culture and wanted to experience it first hand.
The 45-year-old hopes to get a job in finance but is currently working at an Amazon warehouse.
“My career is in finance, and of course, there is always that dream of making it really big here,” Courtney said.
“New York is just the most incredible, diverse, crazy and alive city, and one of the great centres of politics, culture, business and the arts.”
However, life in the Big Apple isn’t always easy.
Courtney has moved apartments five times in three years, and currently shares a place in Jersey City.
“It is terribly difficult to find accommodation in good areas, and leases will require a credit rating, confirmed six times the rent in income, and references,” he said.
The stereotype of rude New Yorkers can be true, he said, describing some as “extremely unfriendly”.
How can I apply for the USA Diversity Lottery?
Entry for this year’s Diversity Visa Program closes on November 8.
There are almost 100,000 Australians living in the US, according to 2019 census data.
Immigration Lawyer, Richard Herman from Herman Legal Group said the odds of winning the coveted visa is low.
But it’s a great opportunity, he said.
“Green Cards through employment can take years, and you have to find a sponsor which is extremely difficult,” he told 9news.com.au.
It looks like the type of place you’d whack on your travel bucket list
Other options for Australians to work in the US include the E-3 visa.