Life After Football: A Guide To Citizenship For Retired Players

The roar of the crowd fades, the final whistle blows, and your glorious football career comes to an end. But what’s next? For many players, the beautiful game wasn’t just a profession; it was a life lived in another country, developing connections and building a second home.



Maybe you fell in love with the country you were playing for and want it to become your home for life. Well, it can! (however, it depends on the country). 


Retired football players who want to live and relax in the country they played for so long can apply for citizenship. Every country has several citizenship options available, and you can navigate this exciting and a little complex path to citizenship. 


To give you an example, St. Lucia has a football team, and any player who is not a citizen but wants to obtain the country’s citizenship can apply for one through various citizenship options. Learn more about the Saint Lucian citizenship and passport on Global Residence Index


This article will explain citizenship options, eligibility requirements, and the application process for obtaining citizenship. So, football players, dive into this post to learn everything about citizenship and begin your next journey.


Understanding Citizenship Options

There are various paths to obtain citizenship, such as birth, descent, naturalization, retirement, or CBI programs. Retired football players can acquire citizenship in a country where they have played professionally in several ways. Let’s learn about each path and how it applies to retired football players. 

Citizenship by Birth 

A child gains citizenship in the country he/she is born in. Citizenship by birth automatically grants citizenship to individuals born within a country’s territory. Here, the parent’s citizenship status does not matter. So, any player who is born in the country he is playing for is already a citizen. 


Citizenship by Descent

Citizenship by descent is based on the citizenship status of parents or grandparents. If any player’s parents are citizens of the country they played for, they are eligible to apply for citizenship. 


Citizenship by Naturalization 

In citizenship by naturalization, individuals need to meet specific requirements set by the respective country, and if eligible, they can apply for citizenship. Most countries require applicants to live in the country for a certain period (usually 5-10 years) to qualify for naturalization. 


The residing period of football players in a country while playing professionally might be counted for the residency requirement. 


Some countries also offer reduced residency requirements to athletes who played for their country. Marrying a citizen also helps to gain citizenship. Research and explore all the possibilities your target country offers for retired players. 


Special Programs for Athletes (if any) 

Some countries also offer special programs for athletes. The programs might expedite the naturalization process, reduce residency requirements, etc. Always seek professional help from immigration agencies or lawyers regarding citizenship for better understanding. 


Global Residence Index is one place you can consult for second citizenship. The entire team is kind and helpful, guiding you throughout the process. 


Eligibility Requirements for Citizenship

Here, we will talk about the eligibility requirements for citizenship by naturalization and special programs. The conditions can vary, but below are some common factors retired football players should consider:


– Residency: To acquire citizenship, one must reside in the country for a set period (as stated by the authorities, usually 5-10 years). The duration of players’ stays while playing professionally is counted. Ensure that you do your research.  


– Age: The minimum age to apply is 18 or 21 years. 


– Good Moral Character: The applicants must have a clean criminal record and no history of activities that are harmful to national security. Proof of this can be demanded. 


– Financial Stability: They must have stable financial income to support themselves. Income certificates should be provided for evidence. 


– Language Skills: Many countries require applicants to demonstrate proficiency in their official language. They do this by conducting tests to examine proficiency levels.


– Cultural knowledge: Knowing the country’s culture and values, including history, customs, festivities, etc., could be a positive factor. 


– Tax Compliance: Individuals might be asked to show that they have filed proper tax returns and paid any outstanding taxes in the country.  


The Application Process

The application process to obtain citizenship has multiple steps. Although they can vary depending on the country, here’s a general breakdown of the steps retired football players can follow:


– Gather important documents: The first step is to gather all the necessary documents, such as identity proof, residency proof, tax documents, etc. Make sure to collect the original and a photocopy of each document. 


– Complete the application: Countries provide applicants with a dedicated application form, which they need to fill out. The form requires detailed information about your employment history, background, qualifications, etc. Always carefully read the instructions before filling out the form. 


– Submit your application: Once you have filled out the application form, gather the documents and submit them to the respective government agency. 


– Attend interviews and take tests: Most countries interview applicants, so you must be prepared. They can also conduct language tests. You will be informed beforehand, so prepare accordingly. 


– Await the Decision: After all these are done, you must wait for the results. The visa processing time varies depending on the country. You will be notified of the decision. 


Additional Considerations

Let’s look at some of the essential factors you should consider before applying for citizenship. 


– Some countries allow dual citizenship, which offers advantages like visa-free travel to many destinations and tax benefits. But some countries require you to renounce your existing citizenship to obtain theirs. So, learn about this before choosing a country. 


– Obtaining citizenship means following the country’s tax laws. Therefore, it’s better to consult an international tax advisor to understand your potential tax liabilities. 


– The application procedure involves fees, including application fees, lawyer fees, exam fees, travel expenses, etc. So, you must plan your budget first. 


– There are some scholarships or special programs that provide financial assistance or other benefits to athletes seeking citizenship. Learn about them. 



So, athletes, hope this article helped you understand all about citizenship for retired players. Now that you have an idea, do not delay. Choose the country you want to reside in and start your application process. 


You can also get professional guidance from immigration professionals. 


Image: Marjan Blan on Unsplash





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