The Biden administration recently announced that they would be lifting several COVID-related travel bans on November 8, 2021. These include the current bans related to the Schengen Area, South Africa, Brazil, the UK, Iran, and India. Travelers will still have to show COVID tests and proof of vaccination where required, but the update still marks a huge change in the mobility of the poker community.
The WSOP has also updated its travel FAQ to reflect the new state of affairs.
Players arriving after the ban will need to apply for visas or ESTAs depending on where they arrive from and will need to bring certain documents with them.
According to the WSOP’s FAQ, these documents include:
- proof of identity
- proof of funds
- proof of accommodation, hotel bookings will do
- proof of a return flight
- your NIE document, if necessary
- a negative COVID test result
- proof of medical insurance
Some of the advice remains the same (especially if you plan to travel before the ban is lifted).
For example, if you want to come to the Rio before November 8, 2021, then the WSOP suggests you could always chance it with an application for a National Interest Exception. In order to get an NIE, the WSOP explains that you will “need to explain why your presence at WSOP provides vital support to critical infrastructure or for economic activity.”
Just as well you probably know how to bluff.
To this end, the WSOP offers a letter of support and provides advice on dealing with border agents. This advice includes: “When you arrive, you should tell the Officer you are here to participate in a live eSports tournament.” Also, “You should only answer the questions asked by the Officer. Don’t offer information unless the Officer specifically asks (don’t ask, don’t tell).”
New to me was the requirement under U.S. Immigration Law to provide social media handles as well as previous contact details if you are applying for a visa.
As per the FAQ: “U.S. visa applicants are now required to disclose certain information about their
social media presence, such as usernames or “handles,” and any previous contact information,
including email addresses and telephone numbers, used by applicants in the past five years to
the Department of State when applying for nonimmigrant or immigrant visas at the U.S.
Embassy or Consulate.”
Sure hope border security enjoys trawling through hours and hours of unedited poker Twitch footage.
Featured image source: PokerGO