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Work permits for football players

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Football Players Work Permits


These criteria were agreed following consultation with the football governing bodies. This criteria is supplementary guidance to the published employer guidance notes and both sets of guidance should be referred to when making an application.

Length of season

The playing season for this sport is from August to May. This may vary slightly from season to season depending on the arrangement of the first and last matches in the different leagues.

There are two transfer windows during the year. One is during the close season and the other is the mid-season window which opens at 0001 on the 1 of January and closes at midnight 31 January (see international transfer windows below for more details).


Work permits will be issued to international players of the highest calibre who are able to make a significant contribution in footballing terms to the development of the United Kingdom game at the highest level (i.e. clubs competing in the Premier Leagues and Football Leagues in England and Scotland, the Welsh Premier League and the Irish Premier League in Northern Ireland).

Initial applications

To be eligible for a work permit:

a player must have played for his country in at least 75% of its competitive ''A'' team matches he was available for selection, during the two years preceding the date of the application; and

the player''s country must be at or above 70th place in the official FIFA world rankings when averaged over the two years preceding the date of the application.

Competitive matches

The definition of a competitive ''A'' team international match is a:

World Cup Finals game;

World Cup Qualifying group game; and

Football Association confederation tournament game, for example:

The FIFA Confederations Cup;

Tthe UEFA European Championships and Qualifiers;

The African Cup of Nations and Qualifiers;

The Asia Nations Cup and Qualifiers;

The CONCACAF Gold Cup;

The CONCACAF The Copa Caribe;

The CONMEBOL Copa America;

The OFC Nations Cup and

The UNCAF Nations Cup

International appearances

Prior to submitting an application, clubs should provide written confirmation of the player''s international appearance record over the preceding two years highlighting the competitive ''A'' matches. This should be obtained from the player''s home association. The sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency, will be unable to make a decision on the application until written evidence is provided. If any evidence submitted needs verifying, the sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency, will liaise with other parties and verify all information through all available sources, if necessary.


Exclusion from selection for international matches due to injury or suspension will be taken into consideration when applying the criteria. Clubs should submit supporting evidence in such cases stipulating the games the player has missed.

It should be noted that where a player is listed as on the substitutes'' bench, he will not be considered as injured when reaching a decision on a work permit application.

FIFA rankings

There are currently 204 international teams listed in the official FIFA world rankings. Those countries which have regularly achieved a 70th placing or higher over a period of two years are regarded as nations who have competed regularly at a highly competitive international level and have players of the highest standard who have contributed consistently to the achievement of that world ranking.

The sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency, will produce the aggregated two-year rankings list on a monthly basis when the official FIFA world rankings are published and those countries ranked 70th or above meet the criterion. The aggregated rankings can be downloaded from this website. If clubs have any queries about the rankings they should contact the sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency.

Length of issue

Work permits will be issued for the period of the player''s contract, up to a maximum of five years.

Just looking at the stats for Sierra Leone they are ranked 62 by FIFA, and our man was in their African Nations Cup qualifying squad who played 6 qualifying matches in 2012. He scored 1 goal, but not sure if he played in all the qualifiers

or the 3 other friendly internationals that year. He was not, however, listed in the previous 42 man squad used by Sierra Leone for the previous year. He is listed as having 14 caps, scoring twice but it does not give a time period when he played and earned the caps. Hope city have done their homework on this one because immigration have been tightening up as per government guidelines recently.

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CH seems confident of getting the permit for Kamara, as presumably Stoke were when they gave him a trial recently. I hope that our legal advisers and the club will have looked at other players who have been granted permits, and prepared their ground carefully. It would be dreadful if we fail at this point.

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Hello, is that the department of immigration? Yes, we are a professional team looking for a work permit.... What''s that? We can''t have one?

How about a nice big fat cheque for 10 000 pounds made payable to the department? What, the permit will be with us by same day courier? How wonderful....

Isn''t it funny how teams always get permits.?

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