The UKBA has recognised the Rugby Football Union (RFU) as the governing body in England for setting the endorsement requirements and issuing endorsements. In Ireland the Irish Rugby Football Union is the UKBA recognised body, while in Wales the UKBA recognised body responsible for setting endorsement requirements and issuing endorsements in the Welsh Rugby Union.

UK Rugby Visa Requirements for any non-UK Born Person

It is the responsibility of the UK club to ensure a player has the appropriate visa in order to be registered and, where applicable, contracted.

The following download outlines the visa requirements for any non UK born person wishing to play rugby in England.

Download > Non UK player information grid

Player Registration

Player registration is paramount to the integrity of England RFU competitions and is administered in accordance with the Adult Player Registration Regulations. More information regarding player registration can be found here.

Employing a Sportsperson in Rugby Union

A club which is seeking to employ a player or coach must gain a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) to act as a Sponsor and another GBE to confirm that the player or coach meets the set requirements.

Governing Body Endorsements will be issued for a period appropriate to the period of approval for sponsorship or the tier under which the application is being made, that is:

  • As a Sponsor (the club) - Tier 2 or Tier 5 - for 4 years
  • Migrant (the player) Tier 2 Sport - Initial application - length of contract or up to 3 years maximum, whichever is the shorter period.
    Extension application - length of contract or up to 2 years maximum, whichever is the shorter period.
  • Migrant (the player) Tier 5 sporting - length of contract or up to 12 months, whichever is the shorter period.

The salary is usually agreed as part of the contract between the individual and the employer. This should be at least equal to those normally given to a 'resident worker' for this work. Where the salary quoted appears to be lower than expected we will discuss with the players' representatives.

Endorsement Requirements

To be a sponsor
A Governing Body Endorsement will only be issued for a club to become a Sponsor in one of the following leagues:

  • England - Premiership & National Division One
  • Wales - Magners Celtic League & Principality Premiership
  • Ireland – Magners League

For a player
A Governing Body Endorsement will only be issued for a player to play for a Sponsor which is endorsed by the Rugby Football Union if all of the following requirements are met:

  • Players from countries that are within the first or second tier of the national rugby unions of the International Rugby Board (IRB) will be eligible.

    Tier 1 countries: Argentina; Australia; New Zealand; South Africa
    Tier 2 countries: Canada; Fiji; Japan; Romania; Samoa; Tonga; United States of America.

    Please note that only tier 1 and 2 non–EEA countries are listed above.

  • They must have started at least one full international match (15-a-side), during the 15 months immediately prior to the date of the application.

Players from other countries must have started in an international match in the last 15 months and have played in a minimum of 10 full internationals (15-a-side) during their playing career.

Exclusions from selection due to injury will be a factor that is taken into account when applying the requirements. Clubs should submit supporting medical evidence in such cases stipulating the number of games the player has missed.

For a Director of Rugby/Coach
If a club wishes to employ a non-European Economic Area (EEA) national as a Director of Rugby, Head Coach, Assistant Coach, or Skills Coach, in order to qualify for a Governing Body Endorsement from the RFU they must have been:

  • Contracted in a coaching role to the 15 a-side full international senior XV for a country that is currently ranked in the top 12 international teams based in the official IRB rankings;
  • Contracted in a coaching role to this 15 a-side full international senior XV for a minimum period of 12 months, and
  • Contracted in a coaching role to this 15 a-side full international senior XV within the last 4 years, or prove current coaching competence/experience during the intervening period.

It should be noted that endorsements are not issued for player/coaches - only applications as a player or as a coach will be considered.

The Rugby Players' Association (RPA)

Founded in 1988, the Rugby Players' Association is the representative body and collective voice of elite rugby players in England.

Visalogic is proud to have a strong relationship with the RPA and provide a service to its members.