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USCIS recognizes competitive gamers as pro atheletes

While many individuals throughout the world would like to reside in the United States permanently, perhaps in the Miami area, others are interested in being in the US for a shorter period of time. These individuals may be able to do so via a temporary visa and are likely not aware of the many ways in which this goal may be attained.

The available visas depend on each person’s particular circumstances. For example, professional athletes may be able to obtain O-1 or P-1A visas. While in most cases these types of visas are likely obtained by individuals who participate in sports such as baseball, hockey or basketball, recently, the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services opened the visas up to individuals who play other types of games--specifically, video games. The USCIS will now recognize competitive gamers as professional athletes.

The change is the result of lobbying that was done by the creator of the video game League of Legends. The lobbying appears to be due in large part by the upcoming League of Legends Season 3 World Championship that is taking place over the course of several weeks this fall in California. So far, at least two players have taken advantage of the change in visa policy to move from their home countries to the U.S.

There is more than one way that someone may be able to enter and stay in the U.S. either temporarily or permanently. Because the area of law is so vast and constantly changing, most would probably benefit from working with an immigration lawyer.

Source: Time, “Pro Gamers Get U.S. Work Visas, Thanks to Industry Lobbyists,” Courtney Subramanian, July 16, 2013

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