Schengen Visa News

Germany: First Esports Tournaments & Leagues Qualify for Simpler Visa Application Process

The German Esports Federation (eSport-Bund Deutschland, ESBD), together with the Federation of the German Games Industry, have announced the first esports tournaments and leagues, the participants of which will benefit from a simplified visa application process in order to obtain permanent residence in Germany.

However, to take advantage of this process, esports players must meet some of the requirements imposed by the federal government in the Alien Employment Act:

They must be 16 years of age or older, and their agreed salary must be at least 50 percent of the assessment of the contribution to the statutory pension system in Germany (in 2021: at least 3,550 euros per month, 3,350 euros per month or 40,200 euros per year in the region (Eastern Germany and €42,600 per year in West Germany), the ESBD must have confirmed that they will be involved in esports professionally and that their participation has a national or international relevance.

“The newly facilitated visa procedures for professional esports players will benefit the country’s long-term development in this field. The game and ESBD have campaigned collaboratively to achieve this political success. Now promoters and esports players must take advantage of the new opportunity,” noted the game’s general manager, Felix. Falk.

According to ESBD President Daniel Luther, the visa represents an important step toward easing restrictions on professional esports.

“The previous cumbersome process will now be a thing of the past. We are pleased that organized esports are jointly advocating for an improved political framework,” Luther noted.

Among the competitions that qualified under the German Ordinance on the Employment of Foreigners (Beschäftigungsverordnung) are international tournaments such as the League of Legends European Championship organized by Riot Games and the 99Damage Liga from Freaks 4U Gaming, and tournaments such as Intel Extreme Masters Cologne from ESL Gaming, reports.

Some esports games such as “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive”, “Clash of Clans”, “Dota 2”, “League of Legends” and “Warcraft III: Reforged” are also included in the above qualifications.

According to the announcement published by the German Game Industry Association in October, the second round of inclusion in the list of eligible game operations will begin.

The list of eligible leagues and leagues includes:

ESL One Germany, ESL Gaming 99Damage Liga, Freaks 4U Gaming Intel Extreme Master Cologne, ESL Gaming ESL Meisterschaft, ESL Gaming League of Legends Prime League Pro Division, Riot Games League of Legends European Championship, Riot Games

In March 2020, the German Esports Federation (ESBD) announced that the German federal government and states had approved new amendments in the regulation of the Skilled Migration Act, while revealing that the government would introduce a new visa category dedicated to esports.

Last year, the German government announced that professional esports athletes who met the requirements to apply for an esports visa were allowed to enter Germany despite restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the virus.

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