Germany to Start Granting Long-Term Residence Visas For Esport Players

Starting in March 2020, professional eSports athletes from countries outside the European Union will be able to obtain simple immigration procedures to Germany, as well as obtain long-term residence under the so-called German Immigration Law for Skilled Workers that will be activated during 2020.

The German E-Sports Federation (ESBD) announced that the German federal government and the German states have agreed on new regulatory changes related to the recently introduced law on immigration for skilled workers that guarantees the possibility of granting an “esports visa” to professionals.

This law will come into force in March 2020

In a press release issued by the ESBD, the president of the German Esports Association, Hans Jagnow, praised the visa, stating:

“The Esports visa will be a huge advantage for events held in Germany. We are the first country to create a visa category dedicated to esports,” he said, adding, “There will be more international esports events expected in Germany.”

What is Esport?

According to the definition adopted by the German eSports Federation:

“eSport is the competition between human players using appropriate video and computer games on different devices and digital platforms according to specific rules.”

This definition was adopted by the Federation at a general meeting held on October 26, 2018, in Hamburg.

In the statutes published on November 26, 2017, Esport was previously defined as:

“Esport is a game similar to a video or computer game, especially on PC and consoles, with specific rules.”

In simple terms, esports should be distinguished from e-sports, as the latter are composed of clubs, sports teams, coaches, leagues, and professional players…

What do you know about the German E-Sports Federation?

eSport-Bund Deutschland, better known as ESBD

It is an organization representing esports in Germany that was founded on November 26, 2017, by 20 teams and clubs of these sports.

As a specialized sports association, it assumes all political and administrative responsibilities of the sports institutions affiliated with esports.

He is also the official representative for issues and concerns that may arise for clubs and athletes.

Long-term residence visa in Germany for esports professionals:

After the German government and states agreed to grant the first dedicated sports visa in the country in accordance with the new immigration law for skilled workers.

Since March 2020, players and coaches from countries outside the European Union are entitled to a simple procedure to obtain long-term residence in the country.

The procedures also no longer require approval from the Federal Employment Agency.

Conditions for obtaining a permanent residence visa for esports professionals:

For a person to immigrate to Germany as a professional esports player, he or she will have to meet certain requirements such as:

  • Not less than 16 years old
  • Obtain a professional contract with a German eSports club
  • The salary that the athlete will receive as a result of joining the club must not be lower than the minimum wage in Germany.
  • Proof of professional activity by the responsible eSports federation.

Regarding these requirements, the German Esports Association has announced that it will establish a simple procedure in this regard and that it will be developed in exchange with the relevant players.

It should be noted that Germany grants short-term visas to e-sports athletes to participate in local and international matches and leagues.

However, this visa is considered by the Federation unsuitable for clubs and teams because it grants a short stay that does not exceed 90 days.

So the long-stay visa came to solve this problem to make these sports progress.

The eSport visa is an example:

The president of the German esports federation Hans Jagnow expressed his joy after the authorities agreed to grant an immigrant visa to Germany for esports professionals.

On this subject, he said on the official website of the Esports Federation:

“Our continuous struggle has paid off. We are convinced that visa problems on esports forums in Germany are now a thing of the past.”

They also added:

“The clear recognition of eSport by the legislator is an important signal in the debate about the non-profit status of the sport.”

Hans Jagnow welcomed the decisions, which he sees as a model to be emulated in other countries to facilitate participation in international esports forums.

Where he said:

“With the recent initiative to make it easier for professional athletes from non-EU countries to enter Germany, the country will be a model for other countries.

Until other countries offer such a visa, the requirements for esports professionals need to be coordinated internationally to allow easy access to tournaments and leagues for athletes around the world.

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