When we were selected, we were caught off-guard. As much as we had wanted it, we hadn’t actually expected to be drawn. This may sound naïve, but the whole way, we were naïve. As soon as we received the notification, we rushed to get our forms back to Kentucky (the main processing center that you’ll soon get to know). Along the way, we made a few mistakes and they were entirely avoidable – because we soon found out that response time counts for nothing. There’s no such thing as first in, best served. Your whole life is dictated by a number beginning with OC – that’s OC for OCEANIA, not ORANGE COUNTY.

Your case number is the number in the pecking order you were drawn in and the order in which your case will be processed. These numbers differ from year to year, but generally have an upper reach of the 2000-3000 mark, depending on allocation for that year. In 2014, the high point was just above 3000 for Oceania, the region that includes Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and other Pacific Islands. Out of the millions who have applied internationally, just over 100,000 case numbers are allocated, of which just over 50,000 are given as visas.

The over-allocation is to account for the thousands who drop out along the way. This can be due to life changes, lying on the paperwork, not passing physicals, not having the minimum education qualifications, etc. The attrition rate is surprisingly high –thankfully!