A special visa has been issued by the German Federal Government and the States for esports competitors. The visa will be open for professional esports players and coaches from outside the European Union and is expected to take place in Spring 2020.
This is part of the Skilled Immigration Act, which expands services for non-EU workers looking to work in Germany. An’ simple process’ enables eligible persons to receive a German visa for long-term living and competing in the region.
In recent years, Germany has become an esports hot spot as international Leagues such as the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) in Berlin have made a home. Many famous esports titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 are staging several of Germany’s biggest tournaments, including Cologne and Leipzig.
A new visa was issued for long-term competitor players such as the LEC, which is valid for several months all year round.
The PLAYERUNKNOWN’s BATTLEGROUNDS Europe League (PEL) and CS: GO’s Virtual ESL Meisterschaft League are the two of Germany’s similar long term esports leagues.
The credential is limited to players and coaches who have certain expertise. Players who are employed by a German registered esports organization must be at least seventeen years old and compete in a national or international league. The LEC and the PEL also allow participating entities, under German branches, to hire their members.
If these conditions have been met, the visa would allow players and other talented esports to live and work long-term in Germany. Typically only 90-day stays were given to esports professionals.
The development comes after years in which various German organisations, such as the German Confederation for Sport and the German Games Industry Association, have been moving ahead. The German Sports Federation President Hans Jagnow said that “This growth could also be a blueprint for other nations.”
While Germany has been one of the first to grant specialist esports visas, it still does not recognise competitive games as an official sport or designated professional esports players as athletes.
In any case, it is now safer for sports pros to allow extended stays in Germany live and play. In March of next year, the visa is expected to apply.