Premier League Work Permit Rules Explained In Detail

What are the new Premier League work permit rules? Any footballer intending to ply his trade in the EPL needs to know how qualification for a work permit in the UK works after the whole Brexit saga.

The FA has outlined what the requirements are for overseas players from the EU member states in order to join clubs across the board in the EPL, EFL, WSL and Women’s Championship now that the UK has officially left the European Union.

As you must have noticed, Premier League sides are already starting to feel the changes.

Let's now see how EPL work permit rules work.

Premier League Work Permit Rules

The rules that permit international footballers, including Nigerians, to work in the premier league used to be quite straightforward, but this changed after Brexit.

The United Kingdom, including England, implemented a total overhaul of the previous rules guiding the employment of foreign workforce and immigrants, and this change also spread to the football world.

On the 1st of December 2020, the Football Association revealed its new criteria that clubs will need to meet before registering a foreign footballer successfully. 

The new requirements, which also affected the EPL was subsequently implemented on the 1st day of January.

Requirements For Getting A Work Permit As A footballer

The new rules actuallydemand equal commitment from the clubs hoping to recruit the foreign player just as the player himself.

This means that a player's likelihood of getting a permit is 50% dependent on how far the club is willing to recruit him.

The new work permit criteria for club and players are:

  • No football club in the U.K, including those in the premier league, can sign an international player outside the region that is not up to 18 years. This was a change from the previous age of 16, which means as a starlet footballer hoping to get a permit by going through an EPL Club academy, you would have to be 18 years for this to be possible.
  • Clubs cannot sign more than six overseas players that are lesser than the age of 21. This prohibits the influx of overseas foreign Starlets in club Academies
  • If you are an established footballer already and hoping to get a work permit in the EPL, you must score at least 15 points from the United Kingdom Point-based system (PBS) to be considered eligible for work in the U.K. This is the major criteria to get a work permit as an established footballer and the major consideration for attaining the 15 points are based on these two conditions:
  • You must have played for at least 75% of all super eagles competitive matches for the past two years or at least play 60% of all matches in one of the NFL Clubs though this second option gives you a slimmer chance compared to the second.
  • The second criterion is that your national team (super eagles) must rank above 71st place in the official FIFA world ranking when averaged over the last two years. As it stands, the super eagles rank above 71 positions on the last two-year average.

Note: Competitive matches include FIFA World Cup Finals match, FIFA World Cup Qualifying group match, FIFA Confederations Cup matches, and CAF African Cup of Nations and Qualifiers.

If you do not get a score of 15 points due to lack of matches internationally, other non-football PBS points that apply to non-workers will be considered.


Once eligible, the recommend visa to apply for is the tier 2 visa, also known as the sportsperson visa, which allows you to work for up to three years in the U.K.

The fee for this visa is generally around 610 pounds.

Nevertheless, this expense will be covered by the club inviting you, i.e. if you pass the trial.

SEE ALSO | How Many Foreign Players Can Play In EPL

This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago

Greg is a Sports content writer. He has many years of experience in Sports Writing. He was a writer for Opera News and is Editor-in-Chief at GoalBall.