Can an eSports Developer Apply for an O-1A visa?

eSports has time after time shown that it is a force to be reckoned with. Video gaming has been a significant part of the entertainment for decades.  However, it was not until recent years that gaming has been given the respect of a professional sport. In fact, the eSports market is said to exceed $900 million in 2018, rivaling it with major sports franchises.

With eSports becoming a major international sport, comes the natural need for the gamers to obtain U.S. visas to play in these competitions.  Consequently, eSports athletes from around the world are traveling to the United States in the hundreds of thousands to participate in eSports competitions. An eSports athlete wanting to take their talents to a U.S. competition can get a visa through O-1A track and a green card through the EB-1A track.  This article will address the O-1A option. For a brief overview of the EB-1A visa take a look at “Can an eSports Influencer Apply for A Green Card?

What is an O-1 Visa?

The O-1 visa is designated for people who have shown extraordinary abilities in fields such as business, athletics, education, and science. The O-1A visa category visa requires an esports competitor to establish that he or she (1) has a job in the U.S, and (2) has “extraordinary ability” elements and (3) is coming to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary.  

How to Prepare for Your O-1 Visa?

While your attorney will file your actual petition, getting your case prepared to submit requires your full cooperation. It is essential that an eSports Developer applying for an O1-A visa prepare biographical documents such as birth certificate, passport, and previous visas. Here is some of the evidence you should consider collecting:

    • Evidence of your national or international recognition, including awards and recognition by a prestigious organization of your contribution. The U.S. Embassy does not take into consideration group achievements, so do not include evidence of group achievements.
    • Evidence that your U.S. job is hiring you as an eSports Developer.
    • Documents showing you are a member of a highly distinguished association or organization that requires its members to have high professional achievements.
    • Evidence of instances where you served a judge for the work of your peers.  An example of this is where you have been on a judges panel at a major eSports competition or where you were a gatekeeper for an organization.
    • Evidence of press articles you’ve received evidencing your achievements, including red carpet photos, celebrity/editorial profiles, reviews, interviews, and press releases in major print or online publications.
    • Pay statements evidencing your high pay. You should prepare pay stubs that prove that you have earned a high salary for your work.  If you are a YouTuber who is paid monthly by YouTube, you should prepare pay stubs that evidence the amount you are paid by the platform monthly.
    • Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in major online, professional, or major trade publications
    • Evidence of original contribution to the field of eSports.

What Are My Next Steps?

Although public opinion is evolving on immigration, it is essential to understand that the eSports profession is relatively new. Consequently, no hard and fast rule will guarantee a visa.  As a result, it is vital that you submit your very best case. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney who has secured O-1A visas for gamers is crucial in giving yourself the best shot in obtaining your visa.  D’Alessio Law Group is a leader in helping eSports professionals take their work and careers to new heights in the U.S so feel free to set up a consultation with us at 310-909-3934. Be sure to check out our other professional based articles such as, “How Do I Get A Chef Visa.”

Disclaimer: The information included in this blog posts is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.  You should contact your attorney to obtain advice concerning any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this blog or any of the links contained do not create an attorney-client relationship between D’Alessio Law Group and the use user or browser.  The opinions expressed at or through this post are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

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