International Clearances

International clearances are a requirement under the World Rugby Regulations which apply to all countries that are members of World Rugby. A player is not eligible to play rugby in another country at any level until they have a valid international clearance.

What is an International Clearance?

International clearances are a requirement under the World Rugby Regulations which apply to all countries that are members of World Rugby. A player is not eligible to play rugby in another country at any level until they have a valid international clearance.  A club or Provincial Rugby Union who plays a player without a clearance could face sanctions, such as a loss of points or a fine.

The requirement to have a valid international clearance applies to all players – male and female, senior and junior, amateur and professional.

There are no exceptions to this World Rugby Regulatory requirement, and New Zealand Rugby does not have any discretion to allow players to play without a clearance.

It is a player’s responsibility to ensure they have an international clearance before they play.

How to Obtain an International Player Clearance?

Clearance 1: From New Zealand to Another Country

Players wishing to obtain an international clearance to play overseas must complete the following process.

The player must complete and sign the New Zealand Rugby International Clearance Form.

The player then needs to seek approval from their club who will send this on to their Provincial Union. If you cannot get in contact with your club, please contact your Provincial Union.

If all is in order, the Provincial Union will approve the clearance by signing the “Provincial Union” section of the clearance form and will forward a copy to New Zealand Rugby. Please note, your clearance will not be processed by New Zealand Rugby unless the Provincial Union has first completed and signed their section of the form.

New Zealand Rugby will record the information in the National Rugby Database and finalise the clearance.

New Zealand Rugby will then send the approved clearance to the new National Union and your departed New Zealand Provincial Union. Please contact your club or Provincial Union if you would like a copy of your clearance, not New Zealand Rugby.

You must apply at least two weeks before you intend to play rugby in another National Union.  Please note, if the above process has not been followed correctly the international clearance may take longer.

Clearance 2: From Another Country to New Zealand

Aspects of the below process may differ, depending on the National Union you are coming from, but generally the process is as follows:

The player must complete the appropriate international clearance form from the National Union the player is coming from.

The player must send this to their overseas club to approve. The overseas club will then forward this on to its National Union, who will approve and sign the clearance and forward it to New Zealand Rugby.

New Zealand Rugby will record the information in the National Rugby Database, finalise the clearance and send a copy to the New Zealand Provincial Union and the departed National Union.

The new Provincial Union will inform the club that the player has been cleared.

The club should notify the player accordingly. Please contact your club or Provincial Union if you would like a copy of your clearance, not New Zealand Rugby.

Please note, if the correct process has not been followed the international clearance may take longer to complete.

Reasons Why a Clearance May Be Withheld

If a player has not fulfilled any of their obligations (such as unpaid debts) under their contract with their previous club or National Union, the clearance can be declined or withheld (World Rugby Reg 4.6.4).

If the player is under suspension on disciplinary grounds the clearance may be declined or withheld, unless the suspension is for five weeks or less and the new National Union has confirmed that it will impose the balance of the suspension (World Rugby Reg 4.6.3).

Reasons Why a Clearance May Be Delayed

The player has not completed the clearance process properly, including not signing the clearance form for outbound clearances, or failing to obtain approval from the Provincial Union or National Union.

If the player is or has been a contracted player, New Zealand Rugby will undertake additional checks regarding that player’s contract status and contractual obligations, and in some cases this may delay the processing of a clearance.

Note, there is no set time in the World Rugby Regulations for a National Union to sign off a clearance, however, if you are having difficulty with obtaining a clearance, please contact New Zealand Rugby as we may be able to assist.

If you have any questions or concerns you may email clearances@nzrugby.co.nz.

Please do not send clearance forms to New Zealand Rugby unless all of the required fields of the form have been completed correctly. If the correct process has not been followed, your clearance will not be processed.