Team Aster became this past Sunday the fourth Chinese team to claim a spot at the upcoming ESL One Los Angeles Major by taking the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor title in Kiev, Ukraine. However, the timing couldn’t be worse for them, as three of their players arrived in Kiev without having the United States visa and are yet to acquire it.
With the Major just four days away and the team still in Kiev trying to sort out their papers, Guo Zhili, Team Aster CEO and team manager for Sirius, which is Aster’s sister team, took the time to write a detailed update on Weibo about the whole visa situation.
“Everyone is pretty concerned about the visa situation for our team, people have been sending me messages asking about that and I couldn’t reply to all of them, so here is the update.
For now, Aster’s Manager Yang “tou” Lin, coach Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng, players Lin “Xxs” Jing and Ye “Boboka” Zhibiao have acquired U.S visa.
Pan “Fade” Yi and Kee Chyuan “ChYuan” Ng never went to U.S before, Song “Sccc” Chun’s passport was lost in Canada during TI8, so the three of them need to get a U.S visa for L.A Major. Kiev’s visa officer probably can’t speak Chinese, I personally also don’t have U.S visa (note: expired actually), and will be joining them for the visa interview session together.
Why didn’t we get it done in China?
Because of the coronavirus situation, the American embassy in China has paused all visa issuance.
Why didn’t we sort it out in Ukraine before the Minor?
This was our original plan. We kept in contact with ESL officials. Ever since we made it out of the qualifier, we let ESL recommend us to a local travel agency in Kiev. The original plan was to pay the agency to arrange the visa interview for us right after we landed in Kiev. But, when we were on our connection flight to Kiev we learned that everyone who comes from China has to wait for 14 before applying for a US visa. So taking that into consideration, we had to change the plan and wait for a few more days.
ESL said that they can issue an invitation letter for urgent applications. But due to many incidents, the letter arrived midnight of March 8, and we immediately booked a group interview (which is more flexible on dates compared to solo one). We expected to get a reply from the embassy on the 9th of March, but we didn’t know that Mar. 9 is actually a national holiday in Ukraine. We also had yet another incident of payment, (U.S visa in Ukraine only accepts payments from a designated bank, no other alternatives), which caused one more working day to confirm the payment. Today, March 10, we were finally booked for the for group interview, and we’ve made the payment as soon as the bank opened. We will keep you updated.
Thanks everyone for your concern and support. Love you all.”
Some of the fans suggested in the comments below the post to contact OG’s TI8 and TI9 champion Anathan “ana” Pham, who has previously played for Invictus Gaming and is known for being able to speak Chinese. The Sirius manager replied saying that he already did that, but Ana “said that he has other arrangements during that time.” Fans have also suggested Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi but Guo Zhili said that “Nigma wouldn’t let him,” however he didn’t really confirm if Aster have indeed contacted Miracle or not.
ESL One Los Angeles Major is set to begin at the end of the week, on the 15th of March. So far Team Adroit and Virtus.pro have also encountered visa issues and will come to the tournament with stand-in players.