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First Leagues and Tournaments Qualify for German Esports Visa – The Esports Observer

The German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs published its initial list of six esports leagues and tournaments that have been qualified for a simplified visa procedure according to the German Ordinance on the Employment of Foreigners by a joint workforce between the German Esports Federation (ESBD) and The German Games Industry Association (game). 

The complete list of qualified leagues and tournaments: 

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

To benefit from the simplified visa procedure, participants of those qualified competitions must fulfill a set of three requirements according to section 22 (special professional groups regulation) article 5 (“esports visa”) in the Ordinance on the Employment of Foreigners. First, they must be 16 years of age or older. Second, their contractually agreed-upon salary must be at least 50 percent of the contribution assessment ceiling of the German statutory pension scheme (in 2021: at least €3,550 EUR per month or €42,600 per year in western Germany and €3,350 per month or €40,200 per year in eastern Germany). Last, the ESBD must have confirmed that they are participating in esports in a professional capacity and that their participation is of considerable national or international relevance. Both factors are confirmed if they participate in a qualified competition and the organizer in charge confirms their participation. 


The ESBD-led process to add leagues and tournaments to the list of qualified competitions will take place semi-annually with the next process kicking off in October 2021. Competition organizers can get a league or tournament qualified if it is of national or international relevance, held in Germany, the organizer can provide proof of safeguarding the integrity of gameplay and preventing fraud, and the competition includes one or more games that have received a USK rating in accordance with the German Protection of Young Persons Act. 

Currently, the ESBD determines national or international relevance by peak viewer, average minute audience, or hours watched metrics using the esports viewership metric platform Esports Charts. To qualify, a competition must be one of the three event formats with the highest audience numbers at the national level or one of the 10 events with the highest audience numbers at the international level. Additionally, a publisher license granting permission to use the esports title is required. 

Disclaimer: Esports Business Solutions, the publisher of The Esports Observer, is a member of game. 

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