The United States made a big splash earlier this year, when it announced that it was going to begin accepting applications for US sports Visas from Esports competitors. The first was granted to a League of Legends player last week, and now another has been given to Korean Kim Dong Hwan, a currently teamless Starcraft II player.
However, despite not being a member of any organisations at the moment, it seems unlikely he will remain so for long. Last year alone he earned over $55,000 from placements in top ranked Starcraft II competitions, taking first in a couple of them.
This newly granted Visa will allow him to continue competing at a high level too, as he was forced to forfeit his place in the World Championship Series this year due to a refusal of a student Visa. The Esports Visa will allow him to compete and live within the US for as long as five years if he so chooses.
“I’ve been so jealous when others Koreans traveled to the USA for tournaments. I have been trying to go to USA as well, but I got denied 3 times, and I was almost ready to give up.. really almost, it was lots drama,” reads the statement by Hwan. “But my manager found out another last way, and we worked hard together. If we got denied this last time too, yea, I would pretty much have to retire .. no more esports (and I’m pretty sure a lot of people think I’m retired from pro-gaming already)! But I am not, and so I started working on my stressful Visa work with Andrew!”
He and his management team went on to thank people from companies like Blizzard, Twitch and Machinima for helping secure his VISA.
KitGuru Says: While it might seem off to give these guys sports Visas for playing computer games, just remember that they bring in a lot of money. It makes sense for the US to take them in if it can, as that’s extra tax dollars to play with, as well as whatever money they spend locally.
[Thanks Daily Dot]