On this page, we will explain the process on how to get a visa. These steps are the GENERAL process on how to get a visa. The exact process varies from country to country. Most of this information is directly from the US Embassy website. You can use this link to access the US embassy of your country to get the specific visa application process of your country. www.usembassy.gov
There are also tips on which visa to apply for/how to conduct yourself during the interview. I would like to point out that it is NEVER okay to lie during the interview and it is best for you to be 100% truthful.
B1/B2 Visitors Visa
Because Esports isn't established as a professional sport yet, we are in a grey area. Most players can get by with an B1/B2 visa, but sometimes it is rejected due to the "guidelines" and the player is sometimes referred to getting a P1A visa. I will touch on the subject of a P-1A visa later on.
Some insight on obtaining a B1/B2 visa:
1. This is a true 50/50 on a yes or no. There are no option selects to cover both bases. At the end of the day, it is up to the person from the embassy interviewing you on whether or not they want to say yes/no.
2. This is a visitor/business visa. If you claim you are being PAID to make this trip, you WILL get rejected. This visa is meant for AMATEUR entertainers/athletes. It is okay for you to win a prize, but it is NOT okay to be paid to make the trip. Keep this in mind while you are filling out your B1/B2 application and during your interview. It is okay to say that you are sponsored, but if you are not receiving a salary, PLEASE clarify that you are not getting paid for participating in the event.
*Tips for the interview process is located below in the interview section.
Before applying for your visa, you MUST have a passport already. The passport must be valid for at least SIX more months beyond the time you intend to stay in the United States.
Step 1 - Complete DS-160 Application Online:
Fill out the online DS-160 Non-immigrant Visa Application Form and print the “Confirmation Page” with a barcode.
Note: If your DS-160 does not provide complete and accurate information, your application will not be accepted . You will be required to update or correct your DS-160 and return to the Embassy or Consulate at a later time to finish the application process.
Step 2 - Schedule your Appointment & Pay the Fee:
There are two methods to schedule your appointment(s): you can use the internet appointment system or call to speak to an operator. There is no fee for either service.
When you schedule your appointment(s), you will also:
Provide the confirmation number from your DS-160 application (from Step 1)
Make an initial determination on your eligibility for a waiver of interview, and schedule your corresponding appointment(s) at the Application Center and, if required, the Embassy.
Select the DHL Office where you would like your passport and/or visa delivered (if approved). Depending on where you live, you may have to go to mail box to pick up the visa.
Pay the application fee.
*Application Fee is usually $160USD for B1/B2 Visa.
Example of what the Confirmation Page looks like. Some embassies will take the picture for you, some you will have to provide on your own.
Step 3 - Appear at the Application Center:
Please bring your Confirmation Page, copy of receipt of visa fee, and your passport. At this center is usually when they will take your fingerprints and photograph.
Step 4 - Schedule an Interview at the Embassy and Appear for Interview:
Please bring your Confirmation Page of DS-160, Confirmation Page of Interview Appointment, any paperwork received from the Application Center, and current passport. I would advise to arrive minimum 15 minutes earlier than scheduled time.
You should know what the interviewers are looking for and what factors would almost be an automatic rejection.
- stable income/job
- strong ties to country (job, family, property, etc.)
- basically a reason why you would have to return home.
- no job
- no education
- immediate family in USA (it is a strong reason why you might end up staying in USA)
- criminal record <--- You cannot apply for a visa if you have a prior record
During your interview, you should do your best to be honest and truthful, but keep in mind that if you give the interviewer a reason to think that you may choose to stay in the USA longer than planned, you will most likely get denied.
It is best to let the interviewer know that you would like a visa to come to the USA and compete for a particular event (Combo Breaker, CEO, EVO, First Attack, etc.). Bringing documents such as an invitation from the tournament organizer of the event vouching for you would be a good touch. Emphasizing on what I wrote earlier, it is important to mention that you are not under a salary to play. They will reject your B1/B2 visa and tell you to get a P-1A in that case, which is much more troublesome and expensive to get. It is very important to know that you are going as an amateur athlete just to compete.
P-1A Visa: Internationally Recognized Athlete
The P-1 classification applies to you if you are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.
While this may seem to be the most accurate visa to go for, there needs to be A LOT of official documentation and paperwork filed in order to be deemed eligible for the P-1A. If you are not sponsored by a large organization and are not paid a salary, you will most likely not qualify for a P-1A. Also, this paper work for this type of visa is usually done by an attorney/immigration lawyer, so this normally costs a lot as well.
First, a visa petition must be reviewed. The visa petition is extensive documentation on yourself as an individual athlete, on the organization you are playing for, and the event that you will be competing in. If the petition is approved, you will be able to apply for the P-1A visa at your local embassy.
However, if you are able to obtain a P-1A visa, you could compete for up to 10 years without having to renew your visa. Because the petition approval is done in the United States, you will most likely be approved for your visa at the Embassy if your visa petition is approved.
Individual Athletes Eligibility Criteria
You must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.
Athletic Teams Eligibility Criteria
You must be coming to the United States to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which your team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.
To come to the United States your U.S. employer must file a Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker, accompanied by the appropriate fee and supporting documentation.
Please note a petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent. The required conditions can be found at the link to the right (see the memorandum “Requirements for Agents and Sponsors Filing as Petitioners for the O and P Visa Classifications”. (PDF, 890 KB)
The U.S. employer must submit a consultation from an appropriate labor organization. The consultation must describe the work or services to be performed in the United States and your qualifications for such work. If no appropriate labor organization exists, this requirement is excused.
For more information about filing a Form I-129, see the “Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker” page.
The Form I-129 must include the following documents:
-A written consultation from an appropriate labor organization
-A copy of the contract with a major U.S. sports league or team or a contract in an individual sport commensurate with international recognition in the sport, if such contracts are normally utilized in the sport
-An explanation of the event and itinerary
-Documentation of at least two of the following:
-Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season with a major United States sports league
-Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in international competition with a national team
-Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition
-A written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or an official of the governing body of the sport which details how you or your team is internationally recognized
-A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how you or your team is internationally recognized
-Evidence that you or your team is ranked, if the sport has international rankings
-Evidence that you or your team has received a significant honor or award in the sport
Applying for a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Once the visa petition is approved, you can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate. For more information on visa application processing and issuance fees, see the Department of State: Travel.State.gov page.
*Application Fee is usually $190USD for a P1 Visa.
If your B1/B2 visa is rejected and you believe you are qualified for a P-1A visa, please reach out through our "Apply" form and we will do our best to help.