German Esports Federation ESBD welcomes gov’t plans to grant full esports visa to pro players

Press Release. Berlin. September 30th, 2019.

The German Esports Federation ESBD welcomes the draft of a new regulation by the German government, allowing professional esports athletes from Non-EU-countries to enter Germany under the same rules already applied to sports athletes. Plans of the government include a permanent residency permit; applications would be handled in a much easier and speed-up process. Visa applicants would have to be over 16 years old, being employed by an esports team registered in Germany and compete in a national or international league.

„The draft of the new regulation is good for the players, teams and the German esports location. International tournaments and leagues hosted in Germany would have a significant advantage“, says ESBD president Hans Jagnow. „After we had a first step in the right direction with last years ruling providing short-term sports visa for esports athletes up to 90 days, this would now bring us complete equality of esports and sports in terms of visa law in Germany.“ The ESBD expect easier integration of international talents into German pro teams as well as a better legal framework for international esports leagues operating from Germany, if the regulation draft would come into action next year.

The German Esports Federation is lobbying for better visa regulations for esports athletes in Germany since 2017 and supports the German administration with all questions regarding esports related entry applications. In July 2019, the ESBD successfully supported an Indian team with their at first denied visas, to allow them to participate in an international tournament hosted in Berlin. 

„Visa regulations are currently blocking the development of professional esports all over Europe. Teams and tournament organizers often have difficulties bringing non-EU-citizens into their respective countries. The plans of the German government are sending a strong signal to other countries and would be providing a best-case-study for other nations to follow up on“, Jagnow says. „And we would be prepared for a Brexit that might cause trouble for the residency of British esports athletes in Germany.“