See All Topics

Home / Section: Comic strips

Cyanide & Happiness co-creator can’t get visa into US

Digital Spy reports that Cyanide & Happiness co-creator Dave McElfatrick has been denied a work visa to the US because his work is, “not world-renowned.” The visa in question is a 0-1 Visa for notable artists to travel and work within the US. Dave is from Ireland and wants to work with this other three co-creators. The Cyanide & Happiness webcomic receives over 370,000 hits a day.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Rall
August/10/2010
@ 4:49 pm

In this segmented marketplace, no living cartoonist’s work is “world renowned.”

#2 Pat Crowley
August/10/2010
@ 4:56 pm

If he can work a leaf-blower he won’t even NEED a visa.

#3 Dave Stephens
August/10/2010
@ 4:56 pm

Well said, Ted.

Happy Trails!

#4 Tom Racine
August/10/2010
@ 7:26 pm

Who exactly decides who is “world renowned?” Would any of us know the world’s most famous heart surgeon? How about one of the stars of Bollywood films? I’d bet if they checked “Cyanide’s” analytics, they get hits from all over the world. What a weird reason to deny a visa. Granted, we’ve got plenty of Irish people here already…damn immigrants. :)

#5 Gar Molloy
August/11/2010
@ 2:07 am

I think people who publish on the web still aren’t counted as ‘real’ artists. Also I didn’t know one of the Cyanide & Happiness guys was a fellow Irishman, so now I’m going to have to bother him.

#6 Steve McGarry
August/11/2010
@ 10:24 am

I doubt that immigration officers at the consulate give a monkey’s whether Dave is published in print or online, it’s probably that he hasn’t furnished the right documentation.

For example, to Tom’s point that we might not recognize a famous heart surgeon or a star of Bollywood films, he’s absolutely right … but they will have been able to provide the government with documented evidence that they are who they say they are, and do what they say they do. And I suspect that’s all Dave needs to do to get a visa.

Before I switched to a green card, I lived and worked here in the US for many years on an E1 Treaty Trader visa, which is a reciprocral agreement between the US and dozens of other countries that allow traders, under an existing treaty between these countries, to work in the host country as long as at least 50% of the trade is between the two countries. I got it by demonstrating that I was a British business selling cartoon features in the US. Not sure if the rules still apply but it might be worth Dave doing a bit of online research.

To get my subsequent green card, I had to demonstrate that I had “exceptional ability in the arts and sciences.” There are nine conditions that demonstrate this … are you internationally published, have you won internationally recognized awards, are you the subject of published articles, have you sat on prize committees as an expert judge – all that sort of thing. To be eligible, you have to demonstrate to the government that you fulfill at least three or four of the nine criteria.

I did all my own visa and green card applications myself but there is one bit of advice you can pass on to Dave, if any of you are in contact with him. There are three or four free newspapers published over here – The Union Jack, The British Weekly and there are a couple of Irish free sheets – that are readily available in British and Irish pubs, UK grocery stores, etc. They all have websites (see below.) All of these publications carry ads and advice columns from immigration attorneys … and they all offer a FREE one-hour consultation. All Dave needs to do is track down one of these papers and call two or three attorneys to get free advice on what documentation and evidence he needs. Then he can either hire an attorney … it won’t be that expensive if it’s a visa for a single person (probably no more than the price of an airline ticket) … or at least he will have gained an informed assessment of his options and enough info to pursue his application correctly.

Links: http://www.ujnews.com/category/immigration/us-immigration/

http://www.british-weekly.com/

Cheers,
Steve

#7 Stephan Pastis
August/11/2010
@ 11:14 am

We should kick Steve out of the country.

#8 Rob Tracy
August/11/2010
@ 2:12 pm

I used to be an office manager/paralegal for an immigration law firm and O visa’s are about the toughest ones to get because your entire basis for entry is your reputation. I tried to get one of these for a webcomic guy that had 3 collections printed by Diamond and had sold thousands of copies of each and got no traction.

They really reserve these visa’s for very famous people.

I would suggest that B-1 is probably the right visa for him… actually it’s the right visa for most webcomics people. But in Dave’s case the company he works for is probably a U.S. entity… and since he will receive income from them while he is here in the U.S. it becomes much more problematic.

When it comes to the O Visa though Steve is spot on. It’s all about the documentation. And then you are at the mercy of the whims of whatever National Visa Center wonk who gets your case. I doubt there is an measurable criteria beyond “this dude seems impressive” for whether or not they approve it.

Webcomics are a business type that the law, especially immigration law has not caught up with just yet. The fact is most webcomics people coming into the US for conventions have to lie about what they will do whilst in the country to gain entry despite the fact that most of them want to be legal. I’ve had 2 webcomics friends deported because they didn’t answer questions at the border the right way.

So it’s problematic. But I have plans to speak to an aide of a senator I know and see if I can get the ball rolling on maybe getting the law changed.

#9 Jeremy Nell
August/11/2010
@ 2:37 pm

He should apply for refugee status.

Works every time.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.