Are You Not Entertained? Considering the P-3 Visa as an Alternative Option for International Esports Professional Gamers

Professional video gaming has exploded in popularity over the last decade. Many elite professional gamers are not residents of the United States but wish to enter the country to participate in major tournaments. This has proven difficult because there is no visa that plainly allows professional gamers to enter the United States to compete. Many gamers have tried to enter the country on a P-1A visa for internationally recognized athletes. This has led to philosophical debates about a gamer’s ability to satisfy the definition of “athlete.” While some gamers are being granted athlete visas, P-1A visas are still an inconsistent and unreliable option for many professional gamers entering the country to compete. This Note suggests that until the athlete visa becomes a reliable visa category or legislation is passed to create a more-fitting visa category, gamers have a case to enter the country under the P-3 visa for artists or entertainers participating in a culturally unique event. In many instances, professional gamers satisfy the requirements of the P-3 visa. While not a permanent solution, the P-3 visa should warrant consideration by professional gamers who continue to receive denials to their P-1A visa petitions. In an ideal world, there would be a separate visa category for professional gamers; in the meantime, the P-3 visa is the best option for esports gamers.