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Immigration Options for the E-Sports Industry

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses immigration options for the e-sports industry. This is a very interesting topic because although e-sports are not traditional, professionals within this industry can certainly apply for the same types of visas available to professional athletes.

For immigration purposes, gamers, judges, gaming influencers (such as YouTube personalities) or engineers in the field may apply for the O-1B visa.

The O-1B visa is suitable for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts. The e-sports industry qualifies for this visa because e-sports are considered an art.

An individual may work in the United States on the O-1B visa for an initial 3-year period. Extensions may be granted in one-year increments.

General Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify for an O-1B visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction.  Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.

Evidentiary Criteria for O-1B

Evidence that the beneficiary has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director’s Guild Award, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

  • Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
  • Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications
  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements
  • A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence

For more information about the O-1 visa please click here.

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