Profiles and Interviews With Interesting New Yorkers

Expert Immigration Lawyer Marcus Yi Is The ‘Visa Whisperer’ For Artists

By Nick Christophers

With the Muslim ban, the pending border wall and the cancellation of TPS and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Trump Administration seems to be coming up with another initiative to stop legal immigration altogether: On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order that place limitations on how literary, performing and visual artists receive work permits or visas for the United States.

Therefore, in today’s political climate, it has become more important than ever for all artists to retain the best attorney for their immigration needs. Yet sometimes it is difficult to weave through the many lawyers available, in order to find the one best suited for the job. For many artists wishing to complete their studies and build a career in America obtaining a O-1B Extraordinary Ability Visa is an essential to furthering their career.

There is one immigration lawyer who is not only an attorney, but also an artist himself. Marcus Yi has been in the law field for many years and has assisted many talented artists in finding their way through the maze that is immigration. He is a graduate of St John’s University School of Law, and holds a Juris Doctorate degree, which he earned in 2011. After completing his studies, he went on to work with non-profit groups and several law firms. In 2015, he opened his own practice which would specialize in business and family immigration. What makes Marcus Yi Esq. so perfect for any artist in the industry is that he has went through the immigration process himself and knows what it takes. 

 “It typically takes about three months to complete the process and another eight months for processing through immigration. The applicant must have someone petition for them. In addition, the applicant must also prove that they will be working towards a career in their field with contracts and itineraries to back it up. There are also three out of seven evidentiary criteria laid out by immigration. (People who are interested in figuring out how to apply should check out this guide to applying for the O1 visa.)”

Most attorneys do not understand the entertainment industry the way Marcus does. He is always learning and developing new ways of providing the most up-to-date and efficient service for his clients. His practice so far has a 100% approval rating since its opening its doors.

Besides a degree in law he also has completed an undergrad degree in musical theater. Marcus’ work has been shown on many stages from Singapore, Atlanta and New York. Producers of his works are National Asian Artists Project, Yangtze Rep, Asian American Film Lab, The Secret Theatre, New Jersey Playwrights Contest, Ingenue Theater and many more. The venues that have showcased his works have been such key location like the Midtown International Theater Festival, Planet Connections Theater Festivity, Fresh Fruit Festival and the Midwinter Madness Theater Festival.

Through his firm he has represented all types of artists like actors, singers, dancers, visual artists, multimedia artists, stage managers, set designers, television personalities, art curators, graphic designers, film directors / producers, animation artists among many others. Many of these talented individuals reside in the US and are in school. They usually desire to stay and develop their artistic skills and that is where Marcus comes in. There are those who he works with overseas who does not meet until they receive a visa.

Marcus Yi, Esq.

It is also important to note that if someone does not qualify for the O-1B Extraordinary Ability visa he offers other alternatives for employment visas such as H-1B, H-1B1, L, P, Q. In addition, there is also family-based immigration to find the best solution for someone’s immigration needs. 

The best advice Marcus can offer for someone looking to apply for the O-1B Extraordinary Ability Visa is to:

“Build your lead roles with careful documentation. If the people in the production are not creating the buzz and publicity you need, you need to be proactive in creating that buzz. Make a press release and reach out to event listings and critics in your field. It’s all a numbers game when it comes to getting press: the more you reach out the more likely you will get good publicity which you can use for your visa application.”

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