Applying for Eligibility and Classification

Application Forms, Procedures and Fees

SportExcel UK leads and manages eligibility of British athletes for classification in the UK. We manage UK level (national) and international applications.

We evaluate whether an athlete is eligible for classification.  We work with National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) and Home Country Disability Sports Organisations and others across the UK to achieve this.

The term ‘classification’ is used throughout this section. This is also known as ‘eligibility for classification’.

There are three types of classification for athletes with intellectual impairment in the UK:

  • SportExcel UK level (National): Issued by SportExcel UK. For some events in the UK only.
  • Virtus International:  Issued by Virtus. For Virtus events, including the Global Games, some IF events and IPC approved/sanctioned events including the Paralympic Games.
  • Virtus provisional:  Only available if advised by SportExcel UK. Only class II1. Limited sports.

The level needed depends on the rules of the sport.  Please contact SportExcel UK for guidance before you start the process.


SportExcel UK (UK level) Classification

This is for athletes starting out in their sport or who have not yet reached national or international standards.

It is accepted in some sports and some UK competitions.

Not all UK competitions require classification so check the entry criteria.


Deadlines for Applying

UK level applications should reach SportExcel UK at least 6 weeks prior to any closing date of competitions at which the athlete is seeking entry.

Application is no guarantee that a classification will be approved. It typically takes 6-8 weeks for decision.


Applying for UK (National) Classification

To apply use the SportExcel UK application form. Follow the guidance notes to gather the evidence needed. Pay the fees and send your application by post.

SportExcel Application Form (UK Level) (II1, II2, II3) classification form vFeb2024

SportExcel Eligibility & Classification Guidance Notes (UK Level) version Feb 2024

SportExcel UK will advise if you need Virtus National (Provisional).

Post your application to SportExcel UK, PO Box 1467, Enfield, Middlesex EN1 9PT.

We advise using ‘guaranteed/special delivery’.


Virtus (International) Classification

This is for athletes who are progressing on the performance pathway, or have reached national or international standards.

Virtus has 3 classification groups.

  • II1 – for athletes with an intellectual impairment
  • II2 – for athletes with an additional significant intellectual impairment (Includes T21 DS)
  • II3 – for athletes with autism

All classes are recognised at Virtus events, including the Global Games.

Only class II1 is included in the Paralympic Games or Paralympic programmes in the UK.

Some, but not all, International Federations (IFs) include the new classes in their programmes.

Some, but not all, National Governing Bodies (NGBs) in the UK include the new classes in their programmes and competitions as separate classes.

Athletes with mosaic Down Syndrome: Virtus advise that from January 2019,  athletes are eligible to compete in class II1 only.  An athlete with MDS, once II1 classified, may then undertake the new Virtus FAST assessment to determine whether they may be eligible in class II2.

Please contact SportExcel UK for more information.


Deadlines for Applying

All international applications should reach SportExcel UK at least 20 weeks (5 months) prior to the closing date of any competition at which the athlete is seeking entry.

Applications are evaluated by SportExcel UK, to ensure an application is complete, before it can be submitted to Virtus.  Virtus require up to 12 weeks to give a decision.

Application is no guarantee a classification will be approved.


Applying for International (Virtus) Classification

To apply use the Virtus application form. Follow the guidance notes to gather the evidence needed. Pay the fees and send your application by post to SportExcel UK.

Ask the athletes coach to complete the TSAL (see below).

virtus-application-form-ii1-ii2-ii3-gbr-athletes-word-jan-2023 (REV)

virtus eligibility classification guidance notes – gb athletes (jan 2023)

Post your application to SportExcel UK, PO Box 1467, Enfield, Middlesex EN1 9PT.

We advise using ‘guaranteed/special delivery’.

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TSAL QUESTIONNAIRE (International only)

An athletes main coach needs to complete the TSAL on line. The TSAL goes directly to Virtus and contributes to the on-going research programme in the sports specific classification system.  Please do not send paper copies.

Complete the TSAL online here.

In Paralympic sports (athletics, swimming and table tennis), a repeat of the TSAL may be required if an athlete is invited to ‘Sports Specific Classification’.


Applying for a Second Sport

UK classification is recognised across all sports.

An ‘additional sport’ application should be made at international level is an athlete requires a second sport on the Virtus master list.

Complete the application form, pay the fee and email to SportExcel UK.

additional sport application form (virtus ii1 ii2 ii3) jan 2023


Application Fees and How to Pay

Fees apply to all classification applications. Virtus changed their fee structure on 1st April 2023.  Fees now increase the closer you get to a competition closing date.

We strongly recommend that your Virtus international application, with full evidence, reach SportExcel UK, at least 20 weeks (5 months) before the event closing date.  If it arrives with SportExcel UK outside of the 5-month timeframe, then the higher fee levels will apply.  Paying a higher fee does not mean your application will be evaluated more quickly.  It is not a fast track service. Higher fees were introduced by Virtus as a deterrent to receiving, late, or last minute applications.

All applicants, should plan for the up to 20 weeks timeline for decisions.

International Application**

These are Virtus timelines.  Applications must arrive at SportExcel UK, at least an additional 8 weeks in advance to enable evaluation and submission to Virtus.  If an application is incomplete further time may be needed. In these instances any difference between the fee paid, and the fee due on submission to Virtus will be requested.

  • More than 12 weeks                                      £120
  • Less than 12 weeks, but more than 6        £140
  • Less than 6 weeks, but more than 4          £165
  • Less than 4 weeks                                          £185

This is NOT a fast track service.  Paying a higher fee does not mean your application will be processed more quickly.  Virtus has introduced the higher fee levels as a deterrent to late or last minute applications.

All other Applications

  • UK level (National) only                                   £50
  • UK level (including Virtus provisional)        £65
  • Additional Sport (per sport)                            £10

UK and international at the same time**

  • International fee + £15
*Includes first year Virtus & SportExcel fees and first year Virtus & SportExcel UK licence fee.
**Both applications must be received at Sport Excel UK at the same time.  If not, then two separate fees will be payable.
Note: Fees above apply for all applications received at SportExcel UK from 1st April 2023.

Fees can be paid by internet banking or over the counter at a bank to SportExcel UK.  Do not send cheques or postal orders.

Bank Details

  • HSBC Bank; A/c 71594567;
  • Sort 40-04-09;
  • Name: SportExcelUK or UK Sports Association or UKSAPLD

Applications may be delayed if the appropriate fees are not received by SportExcel UK at the time of applying.

Once paid please email finance@sportexceluk.org stating athletes name, amount paid, date and which level is being applied for.

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Other Classification Information

Read more about finding a psychologist here.

SportExcel UK holds the central list for British athletes classified at a UK or international level.

Virtus publish an international masterlist on the Virtus website.  If an athletes name does not appear, or is incorrect on this list, contact SportExcel UK. Do not go directly to Virtus.

Some sports have decided to issue their own national classification. SportExcel UK does not recognise other national systems in the UK. The only recognised system is through SportExcel UK to Virtus, at national (UK) and international level.

For international Virtus applications in swimming, applications should be sent to Carolyn Wade at British Para Swimming first.

For international Virtus applications in athletics, applications should be sent to Kirsty Allen at British Athletics first.

In swimming, UK classification allows swimmers to compete in the Para Swimming Regional Development meets and National Junior Para-Swimming Championships only.


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