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International Transfer Certificates

What is an ITC and why is it necessary?

FIFA Regulations state that an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) is required for every player aged 10 years or over.

The process of obtaining an ITC ensures that a player, when moving from a club in one National Association to a club in another, is under the jurisdiction and disciplinary powers of the new Association. It is a key element in the registration of a player and ensures that they are eligible to play for their new club, as well as acting as a check to ensure the player is not under contract with their previous club, or subject to any suspension.

Obtaining an ITC also protects a club’s ability to collect training rewards (compensation) in the event a player later signs his first professional contract abroad or moves for a fee during the course of his contract. Without the legitimacy offered by the ITC process, any claim in the event training rewards become due would likely be rejected.

These Regulations are applicable globally and as the national governing body, we are bound to enforce them. The responsibility for ensuring compliance rests with the registering club, and therefore clubs are encouraged to conduct due diligence on all signings: It should not be assumed, if they are already playing in England, that their former club has completed the necessary process. Disciplinary action may be taken under FA (and league) Rules, as well as by FIFA, in the event that a player is registered and plays without an ITC being issued.

Who needs an ITC?

An ITC is required in respect of any player who is not an English national, and is registering for a club in England for the first time, as well as any player who has played under another National Association (including the other Home Associations).

It is applicable even if the player is a British citizen and/or if they have been registered in England previously before playing football under another National Association.

How do we apply for an ITC? 

Please complete the ITC APPLICATION FORM and select Adult under ‘Application Type’ to apply for an ITC for an adult player. 

In order to obtain an ITC, The FA requires all the relevant information to be submitted by the registering club, including a copy of their ID. This enables us to confirm the player’s identity, so that the former Association can identify the player in their records, as well as confirming the details of the previous club and National Association they played in. 

We will then submit a formal request through the FIFA TMS system, at which point the National Association firstly has to confirm that the player exists in their records, before we can request the ITC. At this stage, if there are any errors in the player’s details, the former NA may reject the player and this may cause delays.

Once requested, the former Association has a limited period in which to make the relevant checks and issue the ITC. If the ITC is not issued within this period (7 days for an adult ITC; 30 days for futsal), and no objections are received, then we are able to issue a provisional clearance. However if there are any issues, such as a current registration with the former club, the ITC may be rejected, therefore please do not assume, even if the timeframe for a provisional clearance to be issued has passed, that the player is able to play for you. 

Clubs will receive an email confirmation on receipt of an application, as well as further emails each time the status of the application changes, until such time as the ITC has been received. The player should not play until you have confirmation from The FA that the ITC has been received. 

Minor players

Please complete the ITC APPLICATION FORM (NB this is the same link for both Adult and Minor applications) and select Minor under ‘Application Type’ to submit a Minor application and apply for an ITC for a Minor player. 

Players under the age of 18 are subject to a Minor application before an ITC can be obtained. This is because FIFA Regulations preclude the international transfer of minor players unless one of a limited number of exceptions are fulfilled. For amateur clubs, these exceptions are:

  • The player's parents move to a new country for reasons not linked to football
  • The player lives within 50km of a national border, and transfers to a club no more than 50km on the other side of that border
  • The player is registering for the first time and has lived continuously for at least the last 5 years in the country in which they wish to be registered (5 year rule) 
  • Refugee or asylum seekers moving (including temporarily) for humanitarian reasons
  • The player is a student and moves without his parents to another country temporarily for academic reasons in order to undertake an exchange programme. The duration of the player’s registration for the new club until he turns 18 or until the end of the academic or school programme cannot exceed one year. 

From FIFA’s perspective, the rationale behind the Regulations is primarily to protect the wellbeing of young players and ensure they are not being transferred purely for the purposes of football, and to avoid circumstances where they might end up unaccompanied and at risk in a foreign country. FIFA are particularly alert to the possibility that the amateur route may be utilised by professional clubs, or amateur clubs with links to a professional club, in order to circumvent the more rigorous requirements of Article 19 which apply to professional clubs.

As a result, the Regulations are fairly onerous in terms of the documentation we are required to seek in order to evidence the player’s circumstances. Understandably, this process can appear overly bureaucratic and unfairly restrictive, and unfortunately the rules are not related to or mitigated by a player’s country of birth or citizenship but purely whether they are moving as a player from one National Association to another. NAs are not afforded any discretion in considering applications: we are expected to apply the Regulations strictly in accordance with FIFA’s guidance. 

However, FIFA have permitted us to amend the process applicable to purely amateur clubs only (in our interpretation, any club at Step 5 of the NLS and below, or any club at Tier 5 of the Women’s Pyramid and below, provided they do not have a first team operating at a higher level and have no legal, financial or de facto link to a club operating at a higher level). As a result, we have introduced a reduced version of the current process which is reliant on completion by the club and the player’s parents/guardians of a self-declaration form, which aims to strike a balance between safeguarding the core principle of Article 19 whilst also maximising participation, and streamlining the administrative process. This involves a declaration that the requirements of Article 19 are complied with, rather than The FA having to review an extensive suite of documents in order to make a determination. The right to request full documentation is preserved and will be sought at The FA’s discretion when deemed appropriate, including at the point at which the player registers for a higher club (or a club with legal, financial or de facto links to such club). FIFA will be vigilant about any player or club seeking to use this route in order to circumvent the Regulations and register for a professional club. Clubs/players should therefore be made aware that whilst we are not now routinely seeking evidence of compliance for this cohort of clubs, it is incumbent upon them to ensure Article 19 is fulfilled and if there is anything to suggest it may not be, then we reserve the right to seek further documentation to establish this. 

As one of the most sensitive but also time-consuming areas of the ITC process, we are hopeful that these changes will benefit clubs and contribute to a more streamlined process and ultimately, more children being able to play football within England more quickly.