Politics - News Analysis

Melania Says She Received ‘Einstein Visa’ Because She Was Such a Successful Model, ‘ I Did So Well!’

The Slovenia-born Melania Trump has been a U.S. citizen since 2006, but some, like The Washington Post, have questioned how she was able to secure her EB-1 visa in the first place.

And the Trumps certainly aren’t rushing to explain her good luck, despite Donald Trump promising to hold a press conference on the matter.

In 2000, Trump (then-Knauss) was dating Trump and applying for the so-called “Einstein visa,” usually reserved for those with “extraordinary ability.”

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the eligibility criteria for the EB-1 includes professors, researchers, multi-national managers and executives, and those with “extraordinary ability,” which requires applicants to provide evidence of a one-time achievement such as a Pulitzer Prize or Olympic medal, or show that they have met 3 of the 10 listed criteria including “published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media” and “performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations.”

From USCIS.gov:

Before her marriage, Melania Trump was a working model, appearing in runway shows and magazine editorials, but never achieving the enigmatic “supermodel” status.

One of her more high-profile jobs included a photo shoot for the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated where she posed on the beach with an inflatable killer whale, which is not a euphemism for Donald Trump.

Melania also claimed that she was a college graduate, and that was a lie. Melania’s immigration attorney has never released information about her paperwork, or whether she lied and said she had a degree on her official forms.

Melania claimed to have competed a degree in design and architecture at an unspecified university in Slovenia, her country of birth.

According to Snopes.com:

There is no “University in Slovenia,” nor is there a “University of Slovenia.” The country contains several colleges, including the University of Ljubljana, which other news outlets have reported (without citation) was where Melania obtained her degree. But while the claim that she possesses a degree in Architecture and Design appears on several web sites, these reports lack specific details, such as the year she graduated.

CBS News looked deeper into Melania’s degree after her appearance at the Republican National Convention:

Melania Trump didn’t receive a college degree in design and architecture at the university in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which her biography in the Republican National Convention program claims she had obtained.

CBS News has checked the official public records of the university, and Melania Trump is not listed as having graduated from there with a degree, in fact, it appears she never even completed her first semester at the university.

Many have been critical of Melania Trump’s pathway to citizenship, given the hardline stance her husband has taken on immigration, including making it harder to get H-1B visas and vowing to end “chain migration” — a process that reportedly put his very own in-laws on the path to full U.S. citizenship.

So, how exactly did Melania get this coveted visa?

Well, according to an article in Harper’s Bazaar, Melania moved to the U.S. and obtained the visa because she claimed she was a very successful model.

From Bazaar:

“I came here for my career, and I did so well, I moved here. It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. That is just the person you are. You follow the rules. You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa. After a few visas, I applied for a green card and got it in 2001. After the green card, I applied for citizenship. And it was a long process.”

But Melania wasn’t a supermodel by any measure of the term.

When I think of a supermodel, I think of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington…not Melania Knauss.

When Melania moved to NYC, she lived with a photographer named Matthew Atanian, and he claims her modeling career was “floundering.”

Atanian described her to Vanity Fair as disciplined in her pursuit of her career – although hardly to a degree that was extreme by the standards of 1990s models. “She wore ankle weights around the apartment” and strictly ate “five to seven vegetables and fruits every day”.

And much is said about the fact that Melania was on a billboard for Camel cigarettes. And she was, but does this warrant an Einstein visa?

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