Fans of Super Smash Bros. Melee have begun a petition to the White House asking for eSports to be considered legitimate sports for the purposes of allowing foreign players to be given visas. The petition arose as a result of a Swedish Smash Bros. player, William “Leffen” Hjelte, being deported in 2015 for using a tourist visa.

Hjelte was being sponsored by an American company and used a tourist visa to enter the country temporarily so that he could take part in a
Smash Bros. Melee tournament. However, this workaround would have required a work visa, which he did not possess, thereby causing him to be deported. Hjelte had initially applied for a P1 visa (the type of visa used by foreign professional athletes), but this was denied due to the game not being recognized as a legitimate sport.

Fans are now petitioning
here for international eSports players to be made eligible for such visas. Other eSports such as League of Legends are already considered legitimate for the purposes of these visas, so there is plenty of precedent for accepting Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Source: White House Petitions

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Sean Ayres
Everything looks so much cooler in my mind.

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