South Korea's Dong-hwan "Violet" Kim has earned nearly $100,000 playing video games. Now, he also has a US professional athlete visa to boast about.
Kim this week became the first professional P-1A internationally recognized athlete visa.player to receive a
The visa is for those "coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance," according to the U.S. government.
The visa allows Kim to travel and earn money in the US for the next five years. Apparently, efforts to obtain a visa caused Kim some stress.
"I've been so jealous when others Koreans traveled to the USA for tournaments," Kim said in a release. "I have been trying to go to USA as well, but I got denied three times, and I was almost ready to give up...really almost, it was lots [of] drama."
"Seven months of work, and 500 pages later, it has paid off, and I couldn't be more thrilled for Dong-Hwan," said Andrew Tomlinson, founder of Cyber Solutions Agency (CSA), which represents Kim. "I want to especially thank all those who helped in this long process with us, without your valuable support I am not sure if Violet would still be in eSports."
Of course, eSports, or electronic sports, refers to competitive video game competitions among professional players. StarCraft 2 is one of the most popular eSports platforms.
Kim's paperwork comes months after the government decided to issue visas for pro gamers going to the US for eSports competitions, The Daily Dot informs us, noting that Canadian Danny Le got a P-1A for playing League of Legends.
Some might have trouble accepting gamers being put on the same immigration level as professional athletes. But there can be no doubt as to Kim's passion for video games. While playing Warcraft 3 at home in 2009, he was unaware that his house was on fire until the electricity failed.
"As a young Orc prospect, he had won several games that night when the power went out and he finally opened the door to see the disaster that was consuming his home," the Dot relates.
Kim was hospitalized for smoke inhalation but later recovered. He is expected to arrive in the US this month.