Esports visa FAQ

Professional esports players need to be able to travel to Germany to train and to compete in

Professional esports players depend on being able to enter Germany for participation in tournaments, in a league as well as for training and to remain in Germany for the duration of the training and the event without as much bureaucracy as possible. In order to facilitate these processes, the ESBD has been able to enforce both a long-term and a short-term visa for esports in Germany.

The esports visa for long-term stay in the Federal Republic of Germany is based on changes in the law in connection with the migration package of the Federal Government of 2019. To apply for the esports visa, esports players must meet certain requirements, which are defined in Section 22 No. 5 of the Employment Ordinance.

On a national level, esports in Germany is represented by the ESBD and game esports – members of the German Games Industry Association. As a national esports association, ESBD represents professional esports teams and amateur clubs as well as esports players throughout the country. Game esports members include game developers, publishers, platform providers and service providers. Tournament organizers are represented in both associations. 

What is the purpose of the visa?

The long-term esports visa gives professional esports players from non-EU countries the opportunity to obtain a residence title without the approval of the Federal Employment Agency in order to join a professional team based in Germany on the basis of an employment relationship.

What is the duration of stay?

The long-termThe long-term visa is applicable for stays exceeding a period of 90 days. The so-called short-term visa is intended for up to 90 days (§ 22 No. 1 Employment Ordinance). The duration of the long-term stay depends on the term of the employment contract of the esports professional.

Where can applications for esports visas be submitted?

Applications for esports visas must be submitted to the German embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country. This means that professional esports players with Turkish citizenship, for example, must submit their applications to the German embassy or consulate in Turkey. Some embassies also offer this service online. Only the German authorities decide whether to issue a long-term or short-term visa.

What are the requirements for applicants?

To apply for a long-term visa, applicants must meet three requirements:

  1. Professional esports players must have reached the age of 16.
  2. The contractually agreed salary must receive at least 50 percent of the contribution assessment ceiling in the general pension insurance (in 2021 at least 3,550 euros per month/42,600 euros per year in Western Germany and 3,350 euros per month/40,200 euros per year in Eastern Germany).
  3. The ESBD must have confirmed that the exercise of the activity is carried out professionally and is of significant national or international importance. Both are considered confirmed if esports players participate in a qualified competition and have this participation confirmed by the corresponding organizer.

How can I be supported?

In individual cases, the ESBD offers individual support for esports players. For members of the ESBD this support is free of charge. The support of the ESBD does not replace legal advice in any case.

What is a qualified competition?

A qualified competition is a league or a tournament series that is of national or international importance. The ESBD, in close consultation with game esports, has drawn up a list of criteria to meet these and other requirements of the legislature.

A qualified competition meets the following criteria:

  1. It is a league or tournament series with one or more annual dates in Germany.
  2. USK rating: The league or tournament series uses one or more games that have been given a USK age rating in accordance with the German Youth Protection Act. If it is a pure online tournament with remote participation, a USK rating according to the IARC procedure is sufficient. It is ensured by the operators of a tournament series or league that players have reached the age of this USK rating.
  3. The league or tournament series must, compared to other events in the respective game, be one of the three most watched event formats nationally (metrics used: peak viewer or average minute audience or hours watched) or, as an international event, one of the 10 most watched events. A publisher license for permitted use of the esports titles is required.
  4. The organizer protects the integrity of the competion in its events and demonstrates measures and/or regulations to prevent cheating. This includes in particular regulations against cheating, doping, match-fixing and illegal betting on matches with own participation.

How can organizers have their tournaments and leagues classified as qualified competions?

The ESBD has set up an application portal where the above-mentioned evidence can be submitted. After a thorough examination of the documents, the ESBD will inform in writing about the result. The list of qualified competion is available on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

What to do if esports players want to participate in a league or tournament series that is not (yet) listed as a qualified competition?

In such cases, the ESBD checks whether the league or tournament series meets the criteria set by the ESBD and game. If this check is positive, the ESBD issues an individual confirmation.


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