Super Smash Bros. Melee star Leffen receives visa, can play in a U.S. by July

May 11, 2016 - Super Smash Bros

After months of waiting, Leffen is finally free.

Team SoloMid announced on Wednesday that Super Smash Bros. Melee star William “Leffen” Hjelte, who is co-sponsored by Solo-Mid and Red Bull, had been authorized to receive a proxy visa. The visa will concede Leffen, who is from Sweden, to contest in American events by a finish of July.

The visa is a short-term P-1A visa, that allows general visitors to “perform during a specific jaunty foe as an athlete, individually, or as partial of a organisation or team, during an internationally famous turn of performance.” The P-1A is essentially used by those who contest in jaunty sports, though it has been sought by a tiny though flourishing series of esports competitors who wish to attend in American events.

Leffen had not been means to contest in a United States given September. He had flown stateside in Oct to contest in The Big House 5, though he was denied entrance into a country. The problem was that he had attempted to enter on a traveller visa as he had in a past, though he indispensable a opposite form due to his practice (in a eyes of U.S. immigration law) by a U.S.-based Team SoloMid.

Leffen’s initial ask was denied final week in partial since a chairman who listened a box did not cruise Melee a legitimate competition that fell within a P-1A guidelines. Red Bull and SoloMid re-submitted a visa request, as visas are authorized on a case-by-case basement and can be reheard.

Red Bull also launched a amicable media debate centered around a hashtag #FreeLeffen. The debate enclosed a petition to commend Melee and all esports as legitimate sports, that would make it easier for esport competitors seeking P-1A visas. The petition now has some-more than 53,000 signatures. It will accept an central response from a White House if it reaches 100,000 signatures by May 29, nonetheless a response does not pledge that any movement will be taken.

Once a capitulation was announced, Leffen squandered no time induction for American events. He reliable his mark in CEO in June, an eventuality that he won final year. He also announced his vigilant to compete—and win—at Evo in July.

Leffen also thanked his sponsors and fans, while seeking them to continue to widespread word of a petition in a series of tweets.

“I wish to put some importance on a fact that not everybody who gets into difficulty with [U.S. Customs] will have a support we did,” pronounced Leffen. “That’s accurately because we still consider a petition is important. Esports is here to stay[;] [it shows] that we merit rights.”

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