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Clutch Gamers Summit 7 dreams denied by Visa issues

Dota 2 Cristy “Pandoradota2” Ramadani

Clutch Gamers will not be able to attend Summit 7 thanks once again to the visa issues that plague the scene.

Clutch Gamers surprised the SEA region and the community when they seized the Summit 7 qualifier spot back in April. It was the first of many events and high end results as the team began to make waves in SEA, with ripples overflowing into the International scene.

Suddenly, turbulence is wreaking havoc on their smooth sailing, namely in the form of Visas.

The team was informed by the US embassy in the Philippines that their letters of invitation from the Summit 7 were not adequate. The embassy insisted that the team required the P1 visa athlete application instead. The P1 visa was only first obtained by compLexity Gaming last year and is typically $5,000, a several month process and for those that will be living temporarily in the United States to compete. Teams usually apply for the B1/B2 visas which cover competitive events in a hosting country.

We were given letters by BTS to apply for B-1 visa and so we did. We followed all the instructions given to us and we applied and went for our interview on 15th May. We instantly got denied and were told, in order to play a tournament in US we have to apply for P-1 visa. We came back sad hoping we could reapply as the counsellor say we may re-apply.

This is not the first time that the Philippines embassy has requested players apply under the P1 category. Both TnC Gaming and Execration initially had their visas rejected for the same reason prior to TI6. The two teams then sought guidance from Valve and Senator Bam Aquino (the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship and the Senate Committee on Youth, in the Philippines), a self admitted Dota 2 fan, who helped Team Rave with their visa complications on several occasions, last year. Their visas were approved in the witching hours of the event - with only three days for Execration to travel to TI6. 

Knowing the struggles, Clutch Gamers tried once again for a second time, sending the players in two groups.

When first batch of players went for the (second) interview, they got denied again for the category of visa.
The others who were supposed to go the next day even received a call from embassy stating that we won't be accepted unless it's P-1

At this time it is not known who will replace Clutch Gamers, but no matter, the rising stars have already been trying to find a way to move on.

The team most recently took 7-8th place at Manila Masters, their first LAN event and are already gearing up for EPICENTER Moscow which begins June 4th in Moscow, Russia.

With the team on the forefront of SEA gaming the organization is pleading for US organizers to recognize the embassy continues to require P1 applications instead of the B1/B2. It seems that if they can get a spot on the International 7 stage, both Senator Bam Aquino and Valve will need to intervene once again.

Clutch Gamers

Clutch Gamers is a Malaysian based organization with a full Filipino squad that formed just prior to the Kiev Major in December. Less than a month after their formation, the team took second place in PDCup SEA 4 and then followed up with their first championship title several weeks later in PDCup SEA 5.

It was shortly after their participation in the Kiev Major SEA qualifiers that they replaced Avelino "Ab1ng" Parungao with Khim "Gabbi" Villafuerte  - the only roster change since the team was created. 

They have since been enjoying a spate of success and top results due to their talent and hard work.

Philippines Khim 'Gabbi' Villafuerte
Philippines Armel Paul 'Armel' Tabios 
Philippines Rafael 'Rapy' Sicat Palo
Philippines Marvin 'Boombacs' Rushton
Philippines Kenneth 'Flysolo' Coloma

QUICKPOLL

Will Clutch Gamers be the only team to run into visa issues this year leading up to TI7?

Nope for sure there will be more
Thank you for voting!
Yes, teams will start asking Valve for help very early
Thank you for voting!
Cristy “Pandoradota2” Ramadani
Pandora is a behind the scenes Dota 2 professional Jack of All Trades. When not busy with Dota 2 work, she is out trying to save the world or baking cupcakes. Follow her on Twitter @pandoradota2

Discussion

  • jamic "escamunich" villa ,
    S5000 for a visa? its a small tournament ffs. It's not even worth it to apply given the small prize money. It's pretty understandable if you're paid millions like in the NBA. US e-sports committees should bring this up in immigration or congress. Feels Bad man!
    • Cristy "Pandoradota2" Ramadani ,
      Right! That's because B1/B2 is sufficient visa to cover small (even TI) events! Ph embassy is the only one that asks for the PI instead. It SEEMS to me that its an issue in their understanding then. P1 is typically used for players that will temporarily relocate to the US to play, receive a salary and train like what coL had to do for the Swedes last year. It specifically states P1 is a temporary WORK visa. In that case, the $5k and time line is justified. B1 specifically states: "Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only)"
  • josh "joshwaaa" aciled ,
    who will be the replacement for CG?
  • Marcos "mrcc160226" Yu ,
    i would like tnc to take place of CG but unfortunately WG.U is the 2nd runner up on the qualis
    • gerry "isparcool" yan ,
      sad... TNC is direct invite in Galaxy Battles with the same schedule.

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