Per FIFA's Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, the international clearance process is required when any foreign-born player over the age of 10 is attempting to register with an affiliated club in the United States, regardless of that player's ability or citizenship. U.S. Soccer is responsible for properly obtaining that clearance on behalf of these players before they can register and participate in an affiliated league.
Under FIFA's rules, there are four options by which a player born outside of the U.S. can register with an affiliated league. Below explains which process should be used, depending on the player's age.
**PLAYERS SHOULD NOT BE REGISTERED UNTIL THEY HAVE RECEIVED OFFICIAL CLEARANCE FROM FIFA AND/OR THE U.S. SOCCER FEDERATION**
Players who have entered the U.S. prior to the age of 10 (regardless of their current age) and have been continuously living in the country since moving, can supply a copy of an official document to prove that fact (e.g. report cards, doctor records, etc.).
*Any foreign-born players under the age of 10 should also submit 'Proof of Entry Prior to 10' documentation to U.S. Soccer in order to receive immediate clearance.
U.S. Citizens – U.S. citizens born outside the U.S. (regardless of current age) may simply complete and sign the First Registration form attesting that the player has never been registered at any level to play soccer in any other country. U.S. Soccer can immediately clear the player upon receipt of this document.
Non-U.S. Citizens – A player born outside of the U.S., who is currently over the age of 18, may also complete and sign the First Registration form. U.S. Soccer will contact the foreign association for confirmation and will clear the player once that is received.
Any player under the age of 18 who is not eligible for the Prior to 10 Clearance method will be required to go through the FIFA Transfer Matching System (TMS) in order to obtain their international transfer clearance.
FIFA's Regulations state that international transfers of players are only permitted if the player is over the age of 18. However there are three (3) exceptions to the rule:
U.S. Soccer can use exceptions 1 & 3 above. Please note that these are the only exceptions that can be used to process an international transfer for a minor. U.S. Soccer is not permitted to proceed with a clearance request for a player that does not fit one of these two (1 or 3) categories.
Once verified by the FIFA TMS, U.S. Soccer will request either the player's First Registration Clearance Form (if the player has never been registered to any club outside the US) or International Transfer Certificate (ITC) Form from the foreign association, depending on which process is applicable.
Minors - Parent's Exception Checklist (#1 above)
Minors - 50km Exception Checklist (#3 above)
*A comprehensive outline of each exemption requirement can also be found at U.S. Soccer's Minors International Clearance Process Website
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.