The Extraordinary Ones (Part II)
Three immigrants seeking a highly coveted visa struggle to prove their worth to the United States.
What makes a person extraordinary?
One of the most coveted types of visas are those which allow foreigners to live and work in the U.S. if they can prove they have extraordinary abilities in their fields. The O-1 “extraordinary persons” visa lasts for one to three years and can be renewed; the EB-1 version leads to permanent citizenship. Tens of thousands of people apply for each type every year, from Italian filmmakers to Moroccan hair stylists, often paying thousands of dollars in lawyer and application fees. Here are the stories of three visa applicants who successfully received the “extraordinary person” designation.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services lists dozens of criteria for qualifying for an O-1 or EB-1. They range from proof of original scholarly or artistic work, to “evidence that you command a high salary.” But there is no formula for what gets one person in over another. Often, the application process takes years. No one really knows what “extraordinary” means. Sure…