Germany introduces a dedicated esports visa in 2020 – ESBD: Big advantage for tournaments and leagues in Germany

In Germany, a dedicated esports visa was introduced today: as of spring 2020, professional esports athletes from non-EU countries will be subject to an easy procedure for a permanent residency in the term of their contracts. The German Federal Government and the States approved the changes in regulation in correspondence to the new Skilled Immigration Act today. The esports visa strengthens Germany as a host for international events and enables the recruitment of players and coaches from non-EU countries, bringing their individual skillset to Germany based teams, says the German Esports Federation ESBD.

“The German esports visa will be a big advantage for events hosted in Germany. We are the first country to establish a dedicated visa category for esports. There are more international esports events expected to take place in Germany”, Hans Jagnow, President of the ESBD, comments. “This development also may serve as a model for other nations. The visa requirements for esports professionals should be harmonized internationally in order to allow easy access to tournaments and leagues for esports athletes all over the world.”

Certain conditions apply for the new German esports visa: a minimum age of 16 years, a certain salary and a confirmation of professional activity by the federation responsible for esports. The ESBD announced that it will set up a streamlined procedure for this purpose, which will be developed in partnership with relevant stakeholders. In Germany, major European leagues like Riot Games League of Legends European Championship and the PUBG Europe League are hosted, as well as international tournaments like the ESL One series in Cologne and Hamburg.

“Our determined effort over the last two years finally paid off”, Jagnow says. “Visa issues at esports events in Germany will be a story of the past. The explicit recognition by the German government is an important signal in the national and international discussion about esports.” The ESBD continuously promoted the idea of simplifying entry conditions and already succeeded last year in establishing short-term visas for esports athletes. The revised visa regulations will become effective in conjunction with the Skilled Immigration Act, presumably in March 2020.