Visa & tax for poker players

Here I point you to the correct websites for finding out your visa needs for a poker trip. No information is directly put on this page because visa requirements and process are often changing and going to the source of the information is more reliable.

Where to source your information

There’s nothing worse than missing the first 3 days of your poker tournament because a flight or visa problem. Further, you want your travel to go smoothly so you arrive in zen-mode ready to bink the opener.

  • Wikipedia is generally reliable.
  • The country’s immigration site is usually reliable. Read the news and updates sections carefully.
  • The national carrier airline usually has updated information. For example, Philippine Airlines, Thai Airways.
  • Embassies and consulate websites are usually not reliable. Those sites are rarely updated.
  • Travel sites are not reliable at all and information is usually outdated.
  • Phoning an embassy is a hassle but you can get up-to-date information.
  • I recommend cross checking the information on visas and entry requirements from 3 different sources.
  • Find a poker player who has recently travelled there and ask to hear the experience. Sometimes this is more up to date than any website.

Covid pandemic

Entry requirements for a country during and after the pandemic are often stronger than just a valid visa and a flight ticket. A visa should not be consider a right to enter a country. Rather, a visa is a right to be considered for entry and stay. You still need to meet the entry requirements which are always assessed partially when you board the flight, then fully at immigration when you arrive. Entry requirements might include: (1) Vaccination proof, (2) Having not travelled to certain places in the last X days, (3) An entry certificate of some kind, (4) Insurance, (5) Proof of onward travel such as a return ticket.

Transit in another country

If you need to transit in another country on your way to your poker destination, consider:

  • During the pandemic, transit might not be allowed, or restricted based on airline, terminal, duration of transit etc.

Onward tickets

Sometimes at check-in, they will ask you for proof of an onward ticket, which usually means a flight ticket from your destination country to any other country before your visa expires. This is sometimes an entry requirement for your visa type for your destination. Some airlines will enforce it, some won’t enforce it. Sometimes they’ll enforce that rule today but not tomorrow. Sometimes an airline will enforce a rule that no longer exists. It’s all rather random, but you can be prepared.

  • Consider booking a return ticket if you know when you want to return anyway.
  • Consider booking a return ticket with a flexible date so you can change it free of charge, depending on whether you cashed the main.
  • Consider booking an onward ticket to another country that is cheap and refundable.
  • Consider just arriving at the airport hours early and booking a ticket online if they require one.
  • Avoid using online services that give you a “fake” ticket for proof for a cheap price. The airlines often will not accept these because there is no authentic ticket number.

Other tips and tricks for a smooth trip

  • Most countries require that your passport is valid for at least 6 months more.
  • Ensure you have a few blank pages in your passport. If there is not enough blank space, you might get denied entry.
  • Have the credit card you purchased your ticket with on you. Sometimes at check-in they request to see it.
  • Always considered yourself a tourist who is going sightseeing. For some countries, being a poker player can be considered being a professional gambler, and they may require you to have a working visa for entry.

Australia visa

Wikipedia page on Visa policy of Australia

Cambodia visa

Wikipedia page on visa policy of Cambodia

India visa

Wikipedia page on visa policy of India

Japan visa

Wikipedia page on visa policy of Japan

Philippines visa for poker players

Wikipedia page on Visa policy of the Philippines

Philippine Airlines webpage provides entry requirements explanations for the pandemic period

Philippines tax for poker players

Philippines has no tax withheld for tournament poker winnings. Philippines has no tax withheld for cash poker winnings. Philippines is an ideal destination for playing poker regarding taxation laws. Typically winnings are cashed out in Philippine peso, which can easily be exchanged to US dollars.

South Korea visa

Wikipedia page on visa policy of South Korea

Taiwan visa

Wikipedia page on Visa Policy of Taiwan

Vietnam visa

Wikipedia page on Visa policy of Vietnam

Official Government site for purchasing an e-visa Vietnam allows 3rd party agencies to sell e-visas too, however, working out which website is an authorized agent and which is a scam is difficult. I recommend using the government site only for purchasing your Vietnam e-visa, if you need one.