How To Claim Your Winning Ticket

How to claim your lottery win, even if you're not in the US.
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  • Author:
    Shaun Greer
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You’ve won lottery money, congratulations! Of course, you’re elated. But once the initial excitement dies down, you might be left wondering how to claim your winnings and how long it will take. Right now, you’re holding on to your ticket, but until you can exchange it for your prize, you’ll need to keep it safe. So, the sooner you get your winnings the better.

Different lotteries have different timelines and ways to verify your ticket and claim your cash. One rule of thumb no matter where you got your ticket, however, is that there is a time you’ll be responsible for your lottery ticket. No matter where you bought your ticket, make sure you sign it to prove it belongs to you.

What Happens If I’m Not a US Citizen?

Firstly, it’s perfectly legal for non-US citizens to play and win the lottery. If you’re a non-US citizen and you win, you can claim your prize the same way an American resident would. The main difference would be how much tax would or wouldn’t be withheld.

For instance, the federal tax for non-US citizens is a standard 30%. But individual states have different tax structures for non-US citizens.

If, as a non-US citizen, you win a big lottery prize, you’re likely to be responsible for a similar amount of tax to what a US winner must pay. Keep in mind there are plenty of different variations when it comes to international tax codes, which is why it’s important to consult with a tax expert before you collect your prize.

Claiming Your Lottery Winnings

While 44 out of 50 US states offer Powerball, you can take part in the lottery no matter where you are in the world. Different states and countries, however, have different rules for validating your ticket and collecting your prize. If you’re in the US, you can claim prizes of less than $599 at a registered lottery retailer. If you purchased your tickets online, you’ll receive an email notifying you of your win and the prize money will usually be credited to your player account.

For prizes of $600 and more, you will need your ticket validated by the state lottery from which it was purchased, and you’ll need to fill in a claim form. You can do this by mail, though, so there’s still no reason to travel across the border.

As a big jackpot winner, though, you won’t want to send your winning ticket through the mail. Instead, you’ll need to visit the lottery office in person to claim your prize and that oversized cheque you’ve always imagined posing with.

The US Powerball has a waiting period between the date of the draw and when a jackpot is paid out, which is usually around 15 days. That’s because money from the sale of lottery tickets must be collected to pay out the winner. But you can still validate your ticket in the meantime and establish yourself as a lucky lottery winner and absolve yourself of the stressful responsibility of holding onto your ticket.

Once your winning ticket is validated, all you need to do is put your feet up until your prize is ready to be paid out.

There’s Time to Claim Your Prize

As for how long you have to claim your Powerball winnings, the good news is that you have at least 180 days from the date of the draw to collect your cash or jackpot payout. If you’ve won a substantial prize and aren’t exactly sure how long you have to claim it, just get in touch with the lottery agent to find out and ensure you don’t miss out on your windfall.

If you play the lottery online, you really can claim your prize from pretty much anywhere on the planet. Just remember that if you’re lucky enough to win the jackpot, you will need to travel to the lottery headquarters to claim your reward. But if you’ve just hit the jackpot, a little trip to the US is well worth it to get your hands on your prize.

Check out the latest Powerball draw results to find out if you’re a winner at

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