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Esports and Visas

Apr 16, 2024

Esports has become a global phenomenon with millions of fans worldwide. As the popularity of esports continues to rise, there is a growing need for international recognition of esports players as professional athletes. One important aspect that has gained attention in recent years is the issuance of international sportsperson visas for esports athletes.

International sportsperson visas enable esports players to travel, compete and represent their teams in tournaments held in different countries without facing the same restrictions as regular tourist visas. However, the process of obtaining these visas can vary depending on the country and its regulations regarding esports.

Esports organisations and players are working towards establishing a clearer framework for obtaining sportsperson visas, recognising the unique nature of esports as a competitive sport. By collaborating with government agencies and international sports bodies, the esports community aims to streamline the visa application process and ensure that players can travel seamlessly to compete globally.

In the ever-evolving landscape of esports, the recognition of international sportsperson visas for esports athletes is a significant step towards legitimising competitive gaming as a professional and respected sport on the world stage. As the industry continues to grow, it is essential to support players in navigating the complexities of international travel and competition, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and globally connected esports community.

In the UK, the International Sportsperson visa allows esports activities if endorsed by the sport's governing body. The eligibility requirements include being an elite sportsperson or qualified coach, being internationally established, and developing the sport in the UK at the highest level. This visa has replaced the Sportsperson (T2) visa and the sporting part of the Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting visa (T5).

To apply for this visa, you must be sponsored by your employer, who will provide you with a certificate of sponsorship. You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. Once you have applied online, proved your identity, and provided your documents, you will usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks if you are outside the UK and 8 weeks if you are inside the UK. You may be able to pay to get a faster decision.

The cost of this visa depends on how long you want to stay. If you are staying up to 12 months, the fee is £298 per person. If you are staying for longer than 12 months, the fee depends on whether you are applying outside the UK (£719 per person) or inside the UK to extend or switch (£827 per person). You, your partner or your children will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge, which is usually £1,035 per year, and prove that you have enough personal savings.

Your visa can last for up to 3 years, and you can extend it if you are still eligible. After 5 years, you may be able to settle permanently in the UK if you have had at least one visa that lasted longer than 12 months.

With all the complexities of visa requirements and immigration regulations, you may require assistance in navigating them for yourself, your business, or your employees. If that is the case, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] We are dedicated to supporting you every step of the way.

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