Sport Nationality

What does "sport nationality" mean?

All FEI athletes have a sport nationality (a country they compete for), regardless of their age and level. Sport nationality is usually connected to state nationality. This principle is applied strictly for athletes aged over 18, except where specifically provided for by the rules (for details, please refer to this document).  A more flexible approach applies for athletes under 18. 

Athletes can only have one sport nationality at a time. The FEI's sport nationality rules determine the conditions under which an athlete is eligible to compete for a country, and the conditions under which a sport nationality can be changed. In order to be valid, a sport nationality change must be approved by the FEI. 

How to apply for a sport nationality change
  • Sport nationality change applications are examined by the FEI in accordance with art. 119 of the FEI General Regulations and can only be submitted by the National Federation (NF) of the country of the desired sport nationality. Applications submitted directly by athletes will not be accepted.
  • ​Before applying for a sport nationality change, NFs should refer to this document which outlines the conditions to satisfy in order to change sport nationality, and verify that the athlete complies with such conditions.
  • Only documents recognised as an official proof of nationality in the country considered will be accepted by the FEI as evidence of the athlete's nationality. 

How to apply: Athletes aged above 18
Adult Athletes must possess the corresponding nationality in order to be eligible to compete for a country.
To apply for a sport nationality change, National Federations must fill in the Application Form (carefully following all instructions), and send it to the address indicated in the form along with all the documents required by the form. Incomplete applications will not be processed.


How to apply: Minor Athletes (under 18)
A simplified sport nationality change process applies for athletes under 18 years old. To request a sport nationality change, NFs must send an email to, providing a copy of the relevant passport/official proof of nationality.

How long does the FEI take to process a sport nationality change application?
Sport nationality change applications will be processed within 30 days from the date of receipt of the complete application by the FEI. 
How the sport nationality change procedure works

The FEI will review the application and may request further documentation if necessary. The FEI will also inform the athlete’s current NF about the application. If all applicable requirements set out in art. 119 of the FEI General Regulations are met, the FEI will approve the sport nationality change and notify the NFs concerned accordingly. 


Sport nationality change and Olympic/Paralympic Games participation 
  • Participation in the Olympic and Paralympic Games is also subject to Olympic and Paralympic Regulations, and in particular to any waiting period imposed by these regulations in the event of a sport nationality change.
  • Participation in Regional and Continental Games is also subject to the regulations of the relevant governing body.
  • Additional requirements may be imposed by the applicable FEI Regulations for the Olympic Games.