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Online 'League of Legends' Gamer Captures P-1A 'Athlete' Visa Flag

September 02, 2013 (1 min read)

"International stars in sports such as baseball, hockey and basketball have long been afforded special immigration status to play on U.S. teams.  Think David Beckham, the former Los Angeles Galaxy soccer player from Britain, or Dodgers rookie phenom Hyun-Jin Ryu, a pitcher from South Korea.  Now add Danny "Shiphtur" Le, of Edmonton, Canada, to the elite list.  Le, an online gamer, is one of the world's top players of League of Legends, a virtual capture-the-flag game in which two teams of fantasy characters compete for a glowing orb.  Le is so deft at racing down the virtual field and opening up gaps for teammates that he recently became the first so-called eSports player to be granted a type of visa normally awarded to athletes featured daily on ESPN. ... Riot, the game developer, turned to immigration attorney Jeptha Evans to fight for Le.  He suggested that Le could play for the U.S. team under the P-1A visa program, which U.S. officials said is designed "to enrich the nation's cultural landscape" by welcoming "diverse talent" to perform in the U.S.  Several thousand athletes in professional sports receive a P-1A visa each year.  They include, for example, all Dodgers players who have foreign citizenship and no green card." - L.A. Times, Aug. 7, 2013.