Monthly Archives: December 2021

Episode 12: Ho Ho Ho! – Religious Worker Visas, Business Visitor Visas and Santa Claus

In this episode, Shai and Roderick spread the holiday joy by discussing how Santa Claus could legally touch down on U.S. soil once a year to deliver presents by way of chimneys. The visa principles they will explore include the R-1 Nonimmigrant Religious Worker Visa and permissible Business Visitor Visa activities. Plus, our co-hosts discuss their favorite holiday movies of all time.

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Show Notes

Welcome to The Hasta La Visa, Baby podcast, a deep-dive into the relationship between U.S. immigration law and fictitious characters from some of your favorite television shows and movies. Hosted by Gibney Immigration group attorneys Shai Dayan and Roderick Potts, each episode focuses on a particular character from a well-known show or film and guides listeners through an in-depth and entertaining exploration into the possible U.S. visa status that the featured character may have held while in the U.S. Listeners will learn about key immigration considerations through the prism of the fun and fictitious worlds presented in television and film.

While most episodes focus on a character from one show or movie, the character for today’s special holiday episode cannot be limited to any one show, movie, or even commercial.  He’s one of the most well-known fictional characters, a man of legend and international fame: Santa Claus!  Shai and Roderick kick off the conversation by talking about who Santa Claus is and what traditions surround his mythical Christmas Eve visits, before turning to consider Santa’s immigration status.  While any analysis of Santa’s visa status has to be taken with a grain of salt, the fact remains that he would need a visa to legally do what he does.

Shai and Roderick first discuss the option of the R-1 Religious Worker Visa, which is a temporary visa enabling eligible workers to work in the US for a bona fide, non-profit religious organization.

Ultimately, though, Shai and Roderick conclude that this visa would not be a good fit for Santa. Their alternative idea is the B-1 Business Visitor Visa.  While Santa’s work isn’t what anyone would consider a traditional business, and he would most likely run into problems with customs because of his gifts and reindeer, Shai and Roderick think that this visa would work for Santa!  After commenting on their favorite holiday movies, they transition to their hypothetical consultation with Santa.  The consultation, they explain, would focus on general immigration principles.  Santa must understand his need for a visa appointment and the ability to demonstrate his plans to depart the US, the importance of visiting a checkpoint upon arrival to the US, and even the need to make sure his reindeer are inoculated.  The episode ends with takeaways about Santa Claus and the magic his operation requires, thoughts on how Santa would think about Hanukkah, and a sneak peak at what episodes are to come in 2022!


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