An O-1 or EB-1 visa, also known as genius visas, are one of the many ways that a person can gain lawful entry in the U.S. and Shera Berchard, playboy Playmate and ex-girlfriend of Hugh Heffner, was one of the lucky recipients of these visas reserved for “individuals with extraordinary abilities.” But it may leave some wondering if being a Playmate constitutes as genius?
Berchard’s immigration attorney, Chris Wright, believes she is deserving of this qualification and an immigration court agreed. Wright, who is an immigrant himself, helps many people obtain the visas reserved for people with extraordinary abilities.
He dismisses the notion that Berchard is undeserving, and said, “There’s nothing in those regulations that require you to be a genius. It’s very condescending to say ‘Oh the idiot Playboy Playmates, they don’t qualify.’”
To Berchard’s credit posing nude isn’t her only achievement, she also started the internet craze “Frisky Friday” which encourages young women all over the world to take and post scantily-clad photos of themselves each Friday. She has also appeared in a film, “Sweet Karma,” which won her the best actress award at the Fantastic Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
With HB-1 visas meeting their yearly caps quickly, immigration lawyers look at O-1, which have no cap, and EB-1 visas as a way to attract highly-skilled workers, much needed in the tech sector. In order to obtain these visas the applicant must prove they “have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor,” and the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services grant these visas on a case by case basis.
These genius visas have bi-partisan support, because the recipients are often entrepreneurs who have the ability to create jobs and offer special skills. Immigration attorneys work hard to get these visas for their clients.