German government proposes to improve visa process for esports athletes

The German Esports Federation (ESBD) has welcomed a new draft regulation by the German government which would allow esports professionals from outside of the European Union to live and compete in the country.

If the draft is welcomed as law, then the process would come into play from 2020.

Image credit: Riot Games

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Visa applications would have to be submitted by those who are, at least, 16 years old. Successful applicants would have to be employed by an esports team registered in Germany and compete in a national or international league. Additionally, the regulation would speed up permanent residency permits for those looking to stay in Germany.

Hans Jagnow, President of German Esports Federation had this to say on the draft: “The draft of the new regulation is good for the players, teams and the German esports location. International tournaments and leagues hosted in Germany would have a significant advantage. After we had a first step in the right direction with last years ruling providing short-term sports visa for esports athletes up to 90 days, this would now bring us complete equality of esports and sports in terms of visa law in Germany.”

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He continued: “Visa regulations are currently blocking the development of professional esports all over Europe. Teams and tournament organizers often have difficulties bringing non-EU-citizens into their respective countries. The plans of the German government are sending a strong signal to other countries and would be providing a best-case-study for other nations to follow up on. And we would be prepared for a Brexit that might cause trouble for the residency of British esports athletes in Germany.“

Esports Insider says: This would mark a massive step forward for esports, especially inside the EU. Germany is taking an important step in not only making applications much easier for those entering (and possibly permanently living in) Germany, but showing that it believes esports deserves the same treatment as traditional sports.