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'Genius' Visa Goes to Playboy Playmate

'Frisky Friday' inventor Shera Bechard now resides in US
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2012 3:18 PM CDT
'Genius' Visa Goes to Playboy Playmate
Hugh Hefner, center, Anna Sophia Berglund, left, and Shera Bechard arrive at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala honoring Paul McCartney on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Want a US visa? Starting a craze like "Frisky Friday," which encourages women to tweet their scantily-clad photos, might just do the trick. "Frisky Friday" inventor and former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard received a so-called genius visa to live in the US, and she's not alone. Entrepreneurial foreigners are taking advantage of them and enjoying one of the few US immigration trends to avoid controversy—at least so far, Reuters reports.

Bechard used the O-1 visa, which cites among possible qualifications an "internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize." The O-1 has ducked controversy because it welcomes entrepreneurs who start businesses and hire people—unlike the H-1B, say, which allows employers to temporarily hire foreigners. But will Bechard's entry stir up trouble? "There's nothing in those regulations that requires you to be a genius," says her immigration lawyer. "It's quite condescending to say, 'Oh, the idiot Playboy Playmates, they don't qualify.'" (More visa stories.)

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