Blog Details

Esports Immigration Law: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Esports Immigration Law: Frequently Asked Questions for U.S. & Indonesia (FAQs)

By Justin M. Jacobson, Esq. and Yudistira Adipratama of K-CASE Lawyer.

Introduction

Welcome to the world of esports and its ever-evolving legal landscape! This FAQ aims to equip aspiring and established esports players, teams, and organizations with information on navigating immigration processes related to international esports competition and careers.

This collaborative effort is brought to you by K-CASE Lawyer, Indonesia’s first law firm dedicated entirely to esports law.  We combine our expertise with that of U.S.-based esports law practitioner Justin M. Jacobson, Esq. of Law Office of Justin M. Jacobson, Esq., to provide a brief overview of immigration considerations for both Indonesian and international esports participants.

Whether you’re a seasoned player eyeing global competition or an organization seeking to recruit talent from abroad, this FAQ aims to answer your pressing questions about esports immigration.  Let’s dive in and explore the legal hurdles and pathways to pursuing your esports dreams.

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs:

Q: What are the key differences between immigration processes for traditional sports and esports?
A: Currently, in the Indonesia and the U.S., both traditional sports and esports competitors apply for and are subject to the same visa criteria and apply for similar classifications. The chief difference is the type of evidence submitted by each talent as traditional sports infrastructure aligns more consistently with national immigration regulations while the esports industry is unique which each title, league, and tournament having their own specific structure and formalities. 

Q: How can esports players and organizations ensure they comply with immigration regulations for international events?
A: Esports players and organizations can ascertain the immigration regulations for the particular country that the event is held and ensure that they obtain the proper work authorizations for any foreign professional gamers attempting to compete in an event including any work permits or visas.

Q: What are the potential consequences of failing to obtain the proper visa for an esports competition?
A: While each country has different consequences, some countries may deny an individual entry without the appropriate visa or work authorization and others may not permit the talent to compete or to potentially receive any prize money they earned. Some other consequences might be more severe such as the individual being deported or denied future re-entry into the country if an individual enters a nation without proper authorization.

Q: Where can I find additional resources and official information on esports immigration procedures?
A: Each country has its own specific visa and immigration requirements which are generally available at the nation’s immigration or other governmental agency or department responsible for these types of matters. It is also recommended to contact a legal professional to assist you with the process.

Q: What can an esports lawyer do to help with the esports immigration process?
A: An esports lawyer can assist in advising on the immigration process including providing analysis on the costs, evidence, and the appropriate visa to apply for in addition to preparing and filing the necessary visa or work permit application. An esports attorney might also consult and respond to any responses, denials, or “Requests for Evidence” (RFEs) that may be issued by the adjudicating agency.

Country-Specific FAQs:
Indonesia:

Q: What types of visas are available for foreign esports players competing in Indonesia?
A: Indonesia offers a ‘sport visa’ category, which is a single-entry visit visa suited for foreign esports players competing in the country. This visa allows a 60-day stay that can be extended. Foreign esports players and their official team members now only need to provide a recommendation from a sports organization to obtain the sport visa. The simplified requirements have done away with previously mandated documentation such as work experience letters and good conduct certificates from home country police authorities. This visa is available to esports athletes as esports is considered a competitive sport in Indonesia.

Q: What documentation is required for Indonesian esports visa applications?
A: Typical documentation includes:
1. Proof of involvement with an esports team/organization such as contracts, endorsement letters, etc.
2. Details on the specific esports event or tournament in Indonesia that the applicant will be participating in.
3. Travel itinerary, financial guarantees, and other supporting documents may also be required.

Q: Can esports athletes leverage their professional careers to obtain permanent residency in Indonesia?
A: Yes, foreign esports athletes can potentially obtain Indonesian citizenship, which would grant them permanent residency, if they meet certain criteria outlined in Regulation of the Minister of Youth and Sports No. 10 of 2023. The key criteria for foreign esports athletes include:
1. Being between 18 and 30 years old.
2. Having Indonesian family ties.
3. Demonstrating exceptional achievements in esports at the international level in their countries of origin.
4. Contributing to national sports development or fulfilling national interest-related considerations in Indonesia.
If the criteria are met and the recommendation is granted by the Minister of Law and Human Rights, foreign esports athletes can obtain Indonesian citizenship, which would provide them with permanent residency status in the country.

Q: Can esports players with tourist visas participate in Indonesian esports tournaments?
A: Like most countries, Indonesian law generally prohibits working or competing on tourist visas. However, the same prohibition does not apply for “sports activities with a non-commercial nature.” For professional or paid tournaments, esports players would need the proper sports visa to participate legally.

United States:

Q: Which visa options are best suited for professional esports players competing in the U.S.?
A: While the U.S. has various visa classifications that may be applicable to an individual, the two most commonly applied for visas are the O-1 and P-1A U.S. visas.

Q: What are the eligibility criteria for obtaining a U.S. esports visa (e.g., skill level, minimum salary)?
A: Each visa classification possesses its own unique requirements and criteria. For instance, the O-1 visas require evidence that the applicant possesses an “extraordinary” ability in a particular field which is rare in the esports space. Conversely, the standard for a P-1A is for an individual that is “internationally recognized” as having skill “substantially above the average participant.” Accordingly, while not an exhaustive list some potential evidence that might be submitted for a P-1A esports visa include copies of any written contracts or other employment terms, event itinerary, letters of reference from notable industry professionals and media, information on prior competitive results and awards as well as relevant press and media on the player’s achievements.

Q: How can esports organizations in the U.S. sponsor foreign players for visas?
A: Esports organizations can sponsor a foreign player’s visas as the foreign players need a U.S.-based employer that they are coming to work for in order to obtain a visas so an organization or an event organizer might sponsor the player and pay for the required work authorization.

Q: What are the tax implications for esports players entering the U.S. on a temporary visa?
A: While not financial or tax advice, any individual earning income in a foreign country is responsible for paying appropriate taxes on this amount which differs based on each country.

Q: Can esports athletes obtain a green card (permanent residency) in the U.S. based on exceptional achievements?
A: While each esports athlete’s situation is different, an individual can and has the ability to obtain a “EB-1A” or a “green card” permitting them to achieve permanent residency within the U.S. if they can fulfill the requirements for the visa.

This FAQ was intended to provide a bit of valuable insights into the complexities of esports immigration law. Remember, immigration regulations can be intricate and subject to change. For specific guidance on your unique situation, it’s always recommended to consult with a qualified esports law professional specializing in the relevant region as all the information is attorney advertising and is for educational purposes and use only and is not intended as legal advice.

About K-CASE Lawyer: K-CASE Lawyer is an Indonesian-based law firm at the forefront of legal expertise in the esports industry across Southeast Asia. We played a pivotal role in shaping Indonesia’s esports landscape, contributing to the formulation of three key esports policies now in force nationwide. Our distinguished clientele spans the entire esports ecosystem, including Esports Parent Organizations, clubs, players, and event organizers. Additionally, our firm provided strategic legal counsel for Indonesia’s participation in prominent multi-sport events such as the SEA Games Cambodia 2023, the Asian Games Hangzhou 2022, and the World Esports Championships Bali 2022. These achievements have led to K-CASE being the only solely Indonesian law firm to be nominated as a finalist in the Technology, Media, and Telecommunication in the Southeast Asian ALB Awards 2023.

This article is not intended as legal, financial, and/or tax advice, as an attorney, accountant, or other professional specializing in the fields should be consulted.

This article was originally posted on Esports Legal News.

© 2024 Justin Jacobson Law, P.C. and K-CASE Lawyer