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o-1 approval secured for franky zapata, flyboard entrepreneur

Managing Partner Michael Wildes is pleased to announce that Wildes & Weinberg has secured an O-1 visa approval on behalf of Franky Zapata.

Franky Zapata is the undisputed leader in developing and manufacturing hydro- and jet-powered technologies and products. Mr. Zapata was previously a world champion jet ski racer and his experience in that sport led him to establish Zapata Racing and Zapata Group to satisfy his passion of inventing new aftermarket products to make the world’s fastest and most innovative personal water crafts.

In 2012 Mr. Zapata launched the revolutionary Flyboard, kickstarting a niche $200 million Hydroflight sports and Recreation industry. In 2016 Mr. Zapata achieved its proof of concept goal by producing the safest, most reliable, lightest, fastest, and least expensive personal flight system ever created with the unveiling of the Flyboard Air. The Flyboard Air utilizes Mr. Zapata’s proprietary algorithms and balance methodology to direct jet engines to act independently and harmoniously. The performance of the parameters of the Flyboard Air provide undisputed proof that Mr. Zapata’s technology is commercially viable for advanced applications within the military, industrial and medical fields. With more than 40 million views on the web and appearing in the most prestigious commercials in the world, such as for the Super Bowl in the United States, Mr. Zapata and Zapata Group’s reputation is well established.

In order to qualify for an O-1 visa, which allows individuals of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, athletics, education or business to live and work in the United States, a foreign national must provide adequate documentation to demonstrate that he/she has sustained national or international acclaim in their field.

In addition, the individual must provide substantial evidence to prove that he/she meets three of the evidence categories defined by statute, as well as a written advisory opinion from a labor union or relevant peer group. The O-1 visa applicant must also show that he/she has an offer of employment in the United States to work in his/her field of expertise (or several offers of employment from multiple sources, along with a third-party Agent to petition on the individual’s behalf and connect him/her to the multiple employers).

For more than fifty seven years, the firm of Wildes & Weinberg has concentrated its practice in all aspects of U.S. immigration and nationality law, servicing the immigration requirements of prominent American and International individuals and corporations, banks, industrial, financial and manufacturing concerns, and law firms in connection with the personnel needs of their foreign national employees.  In addition, the firm has a distinguished clientele and has done substantial immigration work for investors, scientists, physicians, bankers, performing artists, directors, writers, models, actors, athletes, fine artists, art dealers, curators, musicians, and literary agents.

For more information on the O-1 visa category, visit our Immigration 101 page or contact Michael Wildes at

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