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Change of Nation Request


Change of Nation Request

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Have you competed for one nation, but now want to compete for a different nation?

If so, follow the FAQ below to guide you through the steps and restrictions for competing under a different national flag.


  • What is a Change of Nation Request?

      If an ISA Athlete has dual-nationality, has formerly competed at an ISA World Championship for a National Team, and wishes to represent their alternative nation moving forward, a Change of Nation Request must be submitted to the ISA by the Applying National Federation. The ISA Technical Committee (first) and Executive Committee (afterwards) then review and approve (or not) this one-time change, assuming that all requirements are met.

  • How do I prove my dual nationality? If I am a resident in a country, is that enough to be eligible to compete for that country?

      Permanent residency is not proof of nationality or citizenship. A competitor may only represent a country if he/she holds a passport or national identification card issued by the national government of that country. A national identification card must clearly show nationality or citizenship of the country.

  • What documents are needed to apply for a Change of Nation request?

      1. Copy of Passport or government-issued proof of nationality

      2. Change of Nation Request Form to the ISA (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FORM)

      3. Request Letter from desired National Federation to the ISA (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FORM)

      4. Release Letter from currentNational Federation to ISA authorizing athlete change (same as link in #3)

  • If I change nations, when am I eligible to represent my new nation?

      As per the ISA Rulebook, there is an 18-month period an athlete must wait between the last time they represented their former nation at an ISA World Championship until when an athlete is allowed to represent their new nation at an ISA World Championship. This period may be reduced or even cancelled, with the agreement of the Executive Committee of the ISA, which takes into account the circumstances of each case.

  • What about for the Olympic Games, does the same waiting period apply?

      Should an athlete qualify for the Olympic Games, the IOC requires that at least 3 years have passed since that athlete represented their former nation at an ISA World Championship or Continental Event until being able to represent their new nation at the Olympic Games. For example, if an athlete last represented their former nation in May of 2018 at the 2018 ISA World Surfing Games and meets all requirements for a change of nation request, the soonest they would be able to represent their new nation at an ISA World Championship would be November of 2019 (18 months later) and that athlete would meet the three-year deadline for the Olympics in 2021. Nationality at the Olympic Games is governed by Rule 41 of the Olympic Charter (link to charter).

  • What happens if I do not meet the 3-year requirement?

      If/when that athlete qualifies for the Olympic Games and is under the 3-year requirement, the IOC, NOC, and International Federation (IF) would have to be in agreement to make such exception. For example, if an athlete competes at the 2018 ISA World Surfing Games for one nation, and later switches nationality, they would fall short of the 3-year requirement before the Olympic Games and would therefore have to file for an exception with the ISA.

  • Can an athlete change nationalities multiple times?

      No. As per the ISA Rulebook, once an athlete has changed nationalities, he/she may not change back to representing his/her original country.

  • What if I have formerly represented a Team without an NOC (Hawaii, Tahiti, Channel, Islands, England, Scotland, and Wales)? Do I need to fill out a Change of Nation in order to compete for the Team who has NOC recognition of my territory?

      For events serving as official Qualifying Events for the Olympic Games, and in accordance with the Olympic Charter, surfers may only represent an ISA Member from territories with representation of a National Olympic Committee (NOC). ISA Members without NOC representation (Channel Islands, England, Hawaii, Scotland, Tahiti, Wales) will not be allowed to participate in Qualifying Events.

      The surfers who have once competed for Member Federations without NOC representation will therefore be subject to selection for the National Team with NOC recognition of their territory (Channel Islands, England, Scotland, Wales: Great Britain; Tahiti: France; Hawaii: USA)We strongly encourage the Member Federations without NOC representation and the Member Federations with NOC representation to coordinate to ensure that all athletes are aware of selection criteria for their respective National Team for Qualifying Events.These athletes may return to represent their former ISA Member Federations at events following Olympic qualification. An official Change of Nation Request is not needed unless the surfer’s intention to represent the ISA Member Federations with NOC recognition indefinitely.

  • When do I have to submit the Change of Nation request to the ISA?

      The Change of Nation request must be submitted with all requirements at least 3 months prior to the date of the next ISA World Championship at which you wish to compete. For example, if you would like to file a request to compete for a new nation at the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games taking place May 29-June 6 in El Salvador, your change of nation request, and all required documents, must be submitted no later than February 28, 2021.

  • To whom do I submit the request

      The applying Member Federation (new country of representation) files the Change of Nation Request with the ISA. Requests are not submitted directly from athletes. The applying NF will send the request and all relevant documents directly to ISA Membership and Sport Manager, Megan Burns, at [email protected]. Megan will then confirm if all requirements have been submitted and will proceed to send to the ISA Executive and Technical Committee for approval.

  • How long does an approval take?

      You can expect to wait, on average, two weeks for a response from the ISA regarding your Change of Nation request.

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