Chef Taras Zhemelko is currently a co-owner and executive chef of the exclusive restaurant “Royal Passage” located in Philadelphia, PA.

Extraordinary culinary ability helped to get:

  • Visa O-1 – Working Visa

  • EB-1 – U.S. Permanent Residence

Lena Nevsky showed the highest professionalism and wonderful human qualities in the preparation and conduct of my business.

Taras Zhemelko
Chef Taras Zhemelko

The Challenge

Chef Zhemelko came to our office in 2016, hoping to find an opportunity to live and work in the United States where several members of his family already resided in legal status. However, Taras’ family ties did not afford him an immediate opportunity to gain residency in the United States and we started looking at his professional activities for the possibility of other grounds for immigration.

Taras Talent For Cooking

A native and citizen of Ukraine, Taras discovered his talent for cooking in London, where he worked at the famous Michelin-star restaurants “Richard Corrigan at Lindsey House” and celebrated “Nobu.” Having gained invaluable experience as a chef at these high profile culinary establishments, Taras moved to Russia and participated as a chef in several restaurant projects in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Each restaurant project achieved high recognition and outstanding status under his leadership: restaurants “Opium” and “Kai” at Swissotel “Krasnye Holmy” in Moscow, and restaurants “Buddha Bar,” “Paradise” and “Meat Head” in St. Petersburg.

The Process

During our first consultation with Chef Zhemelko, it became apparent that we were dealing with a professional whose talent and track record qualify him as a person of extraordinary ability in the field of culinary arts. However, talent and a successful career alone are not always sufficient to meet the specific evidentiary criteria of immigration regulations for an O-1 visa. Importantly, in order to apply for such a visa, a U.S. sponsoring company interested in services of the beneficiary is required.

In Chef Zhemelko’s case, such an organization was found and, after we prepared a full package of documents, the American Culinary Federation issued an advisory opinion that Taras possessed extraordinary ability in the field of culinary arts and endorsed issuance of an O-1 visa to Chef Zhemelko. The USCIS reviewed the petition on an expedited basis and approved Taras’ O-1 visa classification, which allowed him to live and work in the United States.

One year later we submitted an EB-1 immigrant petition on behalf of Taras, asserting that he was a person of extraordinary ability in culinary arts, and the USCIS approved the petition.


Today Taras is a lawful permanent resident of the United States, sharing his unique culinary talent with residents and guests of Philadelphia who visit his restaurant, whose recognition and reputation grow every day. Royal Passage restaurant offers gourmet European dishes and specialties in a relaxed atmosphere; it also organizes celebrations, banquets, weddings, corporate and family events.

lawful permanent resident