Episode 21: Go Grease Lightin’!: Dependent Visas with Sandy from Grease

In this episode, Shai and Roderick break into song and dance as they discuss the 1978 cinematic musical sensation, Grease, starring John Travolta and Australian actress Olivia Newton-John. In particular, they try to figure out what type of U.S. visa status Newton John’s character, Sandy, an innocent Australian high school student, might have had.

The Immigration concepts they will explore include dependent visa status and permitted dependent visa status activities. Plus, Shai and Roderick talk all time big screen musicals and special guest Joanna DiBenedetto makes her return to weigh in on the cultural impact of the film.

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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.

In today’s pre-Thanksgiving episode, Shai and Rod discuss a renowned 1978 musical featuring John Travolta (Danny) and Olivia Newton-John (Sandy): GreaseGrease is set in the 1950s, and follows the summer romance of Danny and Sandy, their unexpected opportunity to spend senior year together at the same high school, and the tumult of their relationship in the context of Danny’s greaser image and Sandy’s “good girl” nature.

After considering interesting facts about the movie, Shai and Rod turn their attention to Sandy, a foreign national character originally from Australia whose American summer break turned into a longer stretch of living (and studying) in the US with a visa.  While a student exchange visa may at first seem a strong option, the movie suggests that Sandy’s whole family was living in the US.

Because of this, it is more likely that Sandy held a dependent visa corresponding to her parents’ work visas.  There is a corresponding dependent visa for all primary visa holders, applying to spouses and children under the age of 21.

The best fit for Sandy’s parents would have been the E-3 Specialty Occupation Visa for Australians, which would have allowed Sandy to obtain an E-3D visa.  After a discussion of favorite musicals, Shai and Rod run through a hypothetical consultation with Sandy about her options after high school graduation. She could hold her E-3D status through part of a college education, though Shai and Rod would recommend a transition to the independent F-1 Student Visa for her full college career.  This would allow her more options and, after college, even permit her to apply for F-1 work authorization.  When F-1 was no longer an option, Sandy would need an E-3 (or H-1) visa…unless, of course, she decided to marry Danny and get a Green Card through him!

The episode concludes with Grease hot takes with Gibney Client Services Manager and resident office pop culture aficionado Joanna DiBenedetto, as well as final comments on the negative side of Grease and an upcoming mailbag episode!


Learn more about the E-3 visa – Specialty Occupation Workers from Australia.
Learn more about the movie and guest featured in this episode.
Learn more about Shai Dayan, Roderick Potts, and Gibney Anthony & Flaherty, LLP.
Connect with us at hastalavisa@gibney.com.
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