Episode 2: Shake N’ Bake: Extraordinary Ability and Athlete Visas in Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

In this episode, Shai and Roderick break down the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Our co-hosts explore what kind of visa a championship French Formula 1 Driver, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, would have needed in order to race on the NASCAR circuit in the U.S. The visa categories they will explore in this episode include: O-1A, P-1A, and I-140 Extraordinary Ability. Plus, what would a currency designed for dogs and cats actually look like?

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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.

Today’s episode focuses on a quirky, feel-good comedy: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.  Shai and Roderick first consider the plot of the movie, which centers on NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby, French Formula 1-driver-turned-NASCAR-driver Jean Gerard, and the wild ups and downs that Ricky experiences.  After sharing fun facts about the movie, Shai and Roderick zero in on Jean Gerard, Ricky Bobby’s main rival. He is a French national married to a German Shepherd trainer named Gregory, and a jazz aficionado.  Jean must have a visa in order to live and work in the US, and incidentally, so must his husband.

Shai and Roderick explain why they believe Jean would qualify for either the O-1A extraordinary ability visa or the less stringent P-1A athlete visa.  Both visas would allow options for Gregory to receive a visa, as well, though his visa as a dependent would not permit him to work in the US. The most suitable visa for Jean, Shai and Roderick agree, would be the O-1A visa, which would provide him with 3 years in the US with 1-year extensions available if needed.

Unfortunately, some of Jean’s objectionable behavior could result in visa problems for him.  Being fired would mean a loss of status and a 60-day window to find another visa sponsor or leave the US.

They would figure out if he wanted (as he claims in the movie) to eventually make his way to Stockholm, or if he would like a Green Card. Jean’s O-1A visa, they explain, would actually offer a good pathway for the I-140 extraordinary ability petition for a Green Card.

With concluding thoughts on NASCAR, poorly behaved kids, and currency for dogs and cats, Shai and Roderick wrap up the episode!


Learn more about the O-1A Visa.
Learn more about the movie featured in this episode: Talladega Nights.
Learn more about Shai Dayan, Roderick Potts, and Gibney Anthony & Flaherty, LLP.
Connect with us at hastalavisa@gibney.com.

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