International Clearance Process

 

Click Here for NYSWYSA ITC Rules - Updated 2/2019

 

THE TRANSFER PROCESS

BACKGROUND

U.S. Soccer department of Player Status is responsible for processing all registration requests for international clearances, both professional and amateur. The services provided and processed by Player Status are obligated to be compliant with FIFA regulations as outlined in the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.

Per FIFA's Regulations, the international clearance process is required when any foreign-born player over the age of 10 is attempting to register with an affiliated club/team/league in the United States, regardless of that player's soccer ability or citizenship and one or both of the below instances apply:

  • Player was born outside of the United States, including U.S. citizens born abroad.
  • Player previously registered with a club/team/league outside of the United States.

The home association, U.S. Soccer, is responsible for obtaining the clearance on behalf of these  players prior to their registration and participation with any U.S. Soccer affiliated club/team/ league.  Clearance is required for ALL players who meet one or both of the above instances regardless of past practices, age, nationality, club affiliation, or member organization with which the player is registering/participating.   Failure to adhere to the requirements can result in fines and/or sanctioning from both FIFA and U.S. Soccer.

INTERNATIONAL CLEARANCE OPTIONS

The details below are listed for the applicant's reference. To submit a complete international clearance form: Applicants should review the forms and corresponding requirements, and choose only one form that represents their current individual status. Applicants are expected to meet all application requirements specified on the form to have the application reviewed and processed.

  1. Proof of Entry Prior to 10 – This international clearance is for players age NINE (9) and younger at the time of registration regardless of citizenship. One Proof of Age document is required along with the completed form.
  2. First Registration
    1. U.S. Citizens – This international clearance is for any player who at the time of registration is between the ages of 10 and 17 and meets the following criteria:
      • U.S. citizens born outside the US who have never been registered at any level to play soccer in any other country. 
      • Holds physical proof of U.S. citizenship.
    2. U.S. Citizen Awaiting Physical Proof – This international clearance is for any player who at the time of registration is between the ages of 10 and 17 and meets the following criteria:
      • U.S. citizens born outside the US who have never been registered at any level to play soccer in any other country. 
      • Does not currently hold physical proof of citizenship but according to the United States government, is a U.S. citizen.
    3. First Registration 18+ - This international clearance is for any player who is PRESENTLY 18+ and meets the following criteria:
      • Player born outside of the United States
      • Never registered outside of the United States
  3. Minors Process – Any player currently between the ages of 10 and 17 who is NOT eligible for one of the preceding methods must prove to U.S. Soccer that he/she meets one of the following exceptions:
    1. 5 Year Exception - Player is registering for the first time and has lived continuosly in the United States for the last five years.
    2. 50km/31mi Exception - The player lives outside the U.S., but no further than 31 miles (50km) from the national border. In addition, the U.S. Soccer-affiliated club with which the player wishes to be registered is within 31 miles (50km) of that same border. The distance between the two is less than 62 miles (100km).
    3. Parents Move Exception - The parents of the player moved to the United States for reasons not linked to soccer (ex. work). Includes United States citizens returning home to their family after studying abroad.
    4. Exchange Student Exception - The player is an exchange student undertaking an academic program in the United States.
    5. Accompanied Refugee Exception - The player is moving for humanitarian reasons with their parents.
    6. Unaccompanied Refugee Exception - The player is moving for humanitarian reasons without their parents.

Once verified, U.S. Soccer will request either the player's First Registration clearance or International Transfer Certificate (ITC) from the foreign association, depending on which process is applicable.

  1. ITC Request – Any player over the age of 18 who has been previously registered to a club in another country cannot be registered to a club in the United States until U.S. Soccer has received an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) from the player's former association. To initiate this process, the player must complete and submit an ITC Request form to U.S. Soccer, who will then request the ITC from the national association with which the player was most recently registered.

BEST PRACTICES

Each application has  specific submission requirements. Failure to follow these requirements will lead to the withdrawal of the application from the review process. To ensure the timely processing of all applications the following instructions must be adhered to:

  • Criteria is provided for each clearance type to assist the applicant in selecting the appropriate form based on the players’ CURRENT status, i.e. age, first registration, international clearance, minor applications.
  • Applicants are responsible to submit all required information as outlined on each form.
  • Information submitted  is required to be accurate and complete
  • Submit completed forms and all required document(s) in ONE (1) email to – player_registration@ussoccer.org and copy local League/State Association.
    • Subject line should indicate form type and player name.
    • Form and documents must be in PDF format.
    • Each loaded separately and up to 5MB or less.
  • Partially completed forms and/or applications missing documents will not be processed.
  • Applications must be submitted at least 30 days* prior to start of club/team/league play.

The Player Status Department will contact applicants to provide updates on applications when available and/or required.  Due to the high volume of applications received, kindly refrain from submitting emails requesting status updates as those specific requests will not receive a response.  

*Please note submitting at least 30 days prior to the start of club/team/league play does not guarantee the player will be eligible as some processes require both FIFA and U.S. Soccer approval.

For additional questions not listed in the FAQ section please send to player_registration@ussoccer.org and in the subject line indicate – QUESTION.

This was updated in 7/2021.