Can an eSports Social Media Influencer Get a Visa?

For those unfamiliar with the eSports world, it would come at a shock to find out that the eSports market is said to reach $905.6 million in 2018, up 38.2% from last year. By 2021 global eSports revenue are predicted to skyrocket to $1.65bn, $1.4bn of which will come directly from brand investments. This market has created an entire host of jobs in eSports that had never been considered before. And yes, that means that eSports Social Media Influencers can, in fact, apply for a U.S. visa.

The industry is composed of several different careers ranging from developers of the software, animators/graphic designers, social media influencers/brand ambassadors, and athletes.  D’Alessio Law Group has become a leader in securing these visas for eSport professionals, and as such, we are releasing an entire series discussing the visa/green card options for each of these eSports professions. This article will be addressing the visa options for eSports Social Media Influencers.

An eSports social media influencer wanting to take their talents to the US can get a visa through the O-1B track and a green card through the EB-1A track. We’re more than familiar with helping social media influencers earn their visas/green cards, as DLG founding partner and CEO Lorraine D’Alessio was the first attorney to argue and win one of the first Social Media Influencer cases in the United States for O-1B eligibility. This article will walk you through the O-1B route. For details about the EB-1A route check out “Can eSports Social Media Influencer Apply For a U.S. Green Card?”

How Do “Social Media Influencers” Fulfill The O-1B Category

O-1B visa category, otherwise known as the extraordinary ability visa, allows for individuals to work within the United States for up to 3 years at a time and is renewable at the end of each period on an indefinite basis.  Extraordinary abilities include atypical jobs that involve creative decision-making within the arts, motion picture, television, and entertainment industries. eSports Social Media Influencers fit the “extraordinary ability” umbrella through brand ambassadorships and/or high views or likes. The argument can be made that brand ambassadorships may satisfy the extraordinary ability category where it can be shown that the influencer contribution is valuable and essential to the promotion to the brand.  Another argument can be made that a high number of views, likes or shares is evidence that the influencers are unique in comparison to peers within the field.

How to Prepare for Your O-1B

While your attorney will file your actual petition, getting your case prepared to submit requires your full cooperation. It is essential that an eSports social media influencer applying for an O-1B visa find an offer of work, prepare biographical documents such as birth certificate, passport, and previous visas), obtain deal memos, collect evidence in the required areas.  Here is some of the evidence you should consider collecting:

  • Documents concerning the nature of your Brand Ambassadorships
  • Documents evidencing commercial success which would include posts, blogs or videos with your highest views, likes, share, and downloads
  • 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.  If you are a Brand Ambassador, 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
  • A list of fellow Social Media Influencer, managers, critics, industry executives, or representatives from the brands that you have worked for as a Brand Ambassador.  These persons should be able to attest to your past work and how essential your work has been to their success. Be sure to hold off on drafting any letters or asking these individuals for a letter prior to meeting with your consulting attorney, as they may have a specific and approach to this criteria.  
  • Evidence of any awards you have received from your work as a social media influencer
  • Deal memos that discuss work you will do in the future.  You can procure these memos from US brands or stations you plan to work with.

What Are My Next Steps?

Although public opinion is changing on immigration, and governments are enacting new policies based on shifting attitudes towards immigration, it is essential to understand that the eSports Social Media Influencer profession is relatively new. Consequently, no hard and fast rule will guarantee the securing of a visa.  As a result, it is vital that you submit your very best case. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney who has secured O-1B visas is crucial in giving yourself the best shot in obtaining your visa. If you have any questions or would like to set up a consultation with a D’Alessio Law Group professional feel free to call us at 310-909-3934.  Be sure to check back in for your follow-up article on the EB-1 green card route and 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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