Online Gamer Gets Professional Athlete Visa


The world of online gaming has become a booming industry, and like most other industries, online gaming attracts participants from all over the world.  Participants who want to come to the U.S. to play and compete in online tournaments need visas. Many online gamers, or players of “eSports,” as it is called, have come to the U.S. to compete in gaming tournaments.  Typically, these players enter with B-1 business visitor visas, which allows them to compete in a single tournament and take home their winnings.  However, a B-1 does not allow a player to earn a salary in the U.S.          

Danny Le of Canada ran into this very problem.  As one of the world’s top League of Legends players, he needed a visa to be able to practice and compete with his team in the U.S. tournament of the international League of Legends championship, a broadcast tournament that gleans over 1.7 million viewers.  Le, with the help of his immigration attorney, applied for a P-1 visa, and was approved.

The P-1 visa is typically granted to professional baseball players, soccer players, and other pro athletes.  Le’s visa was granted because he was able to demonstrate that, like any other athlete, he was “internationally recognized” for his success playing League of Legends.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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