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At age 20, percussionist George Lernis sought to travel halfway around the world from Cyprus, to follow in the footsteps of the American jazz masters. He navigated a series of obstacles, and once his student visa expired, he faced an even more difficult challenge: qualifying for an O-1 visa — a special designation for “extraordinary artists.” It’s no easy feat to prove that you can make an extraordinary contribution to music in America. Explore photos and more

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