Professional StarCraft 2 player from South Korea Kim "ViOLet" Dong Hwan recently became the first person from the eSport to obtain a P-1A visa from the American government, his representatives at Cyber Solutions Agency announced.
The P-1A visa is reserved for internationally recognized athletes. In order to qualify for it, individuals must meet either the individual athletes elibility criteria or athletic teams criteria. Under the former, for which Hwan qualifies, individuals must be "coming to the United States to participate in an individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country."
The visa recognizes 23-year old Hwan as a professional athlete and will allow him to to live, compete and earn a salary in the U.S. for up to five years. Hwan had previously been denied visas to America, resulting in him having to forfeit two major tournaments that were held State-side.
In a statement issued via Cyber Solutions Agency, Hwan said 2013 had been a stressful year until he received news of his visa.
"I've been so jealous when other Koreans traveled to the USA for tournaments," he said. "I have been trying to go to [the] USA as well, but I got denied three times, and I was almost ready to give up ... really almost. It was lots of drama. But my manager found out another last way, and we worked hard together. If we got denied this last time too, yeah, I would pretty much have to retire..."