A Canadian performer has become the first burlesque dancer to be awarded a green card based on her ‘extraordinary ability’ and is now making the most of it by touring the U.S.

Last fall, Bettina May, who moved to New York from Victoria in 2010, was granted one of the 4,000 extraordinary ability EB-1A green cards approved in the country in 2012.

Applicants – from artists, athletes, scientists, educators and entrepreneurs – must prove they are top in their field with reams of evidence, from media coverage, awards and a hefty salary.

A third of applications were rejected last year, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

For May, the process took around a year and a half, and required a six-inch-thick dossier to show that burlesque was an art form, and that she was unlike any other performer in the country.

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