PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Reports out of Korea indicate that Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang may not play this season.

According to the reports, Kang was not granted a visa to come to the United States. As a result, his status for the upcoming season is unclear.

Pirates President Frank Coonelly responded in a statement on Friday, acknowledging the Korean news report, paying special attention to the mention of a “third incident.”

The facts, as we know them, are that Kang still has not been granted permission to travel to the United States under a work visa.  We continue to work with Kang and his representatives to present materials and information to the appropriate parties in the United States government that we believe establish that Kang should be permitted to travel to the United States under a work visa and we remain hopeful that such a resolution will be reached in the near future. We have no indication that Jung Ho has had a driving incident in a country other than Korea.

The big question now is whether his situation will change any time soon.

Without having access to all the facts of Kang’s case, it’s impossible for even an immigration law expert, like attorney Andrew Wood, to know if Kang will be able to return for the season.

But there are some important things to know about the visa application process that can shed some light on the situation.

First, Kang’s DUI history could be a major sticking point.

“The U.S. government and the consular officer doing, conducting an interview is going to take that very seriously,” said Wood. “Potentially, someone who has one or more DUIs could be inadmissible to the United States because of the severity of the crime that they have on their record.”

Even though Kang’s work visa application was reportedly denied, according to Wood, there are still two things Kang may be able to do.

“If someone is denied a visa, there’s not an appeal process. Someone can apply again or someone can in some circumstances apply for a waiver,” Wood says.

If Kang chooses to apply again or to request a waiver of inadmissibility, Wood says it’s difficult to say how long the process will take.

“It’s really hard to tell. It could be a matter of days or weeks, or it could be many months,” Wood said. “Right now, the State Department is under tremendous pressure to increase an already very strict vetting process.”

Wood says it’s important to remember that anyone applying for a visa right now can expect some delays.

“As an immigration lawyer, I think we can expect, in general, that there are going to be some delays and things are going to take longer than normal given the current backdrop our country is facing,” Wood said.

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