USA Judo Refugee Program


Currently, there are several Cadet and Junior age non-citizens permanently living in the United States who are competing under the International Judo Federation (IJF) Refugee status at different international competitions. However, the official IJF Refugee Program does not address non-citizens in the U13 and U15 categories who currently miss the opportunity to compete in international events such as the U13/U15 Pan American Championships.

The IJF informed USA Judo that eligibility rules for ages under the Cadet category are the discretion of the national federation. As such, for athletes who are non-citizens living within the United States, USA Judo is implementing a similar protocol to that of the IJF and will grant “refugee status” to athletes who meet the below criteria, allowing them permission to qualify and ultimately compete in the U13/U15 Pan American Championships.  

The Pan American Judo Confederation has approved to waive its current requirement for athletes to possess a passport from their host country to attend the U13/U15 Pan American Championships.

The details of this policy are as follows:

  1. Athlete must be a current USA Judo member in good standing and eligible for the competition in question (ie. Jr. Olympics National Championships and U13/U15 Pan American Championships).
  2. Athlete must not compete for any other country during the time of their refugee status or else their eligibility will be nullified.
  3. Athlete must show proof of legal residency in the USA (with the ability to travel internationally and return to the United States) for a minimum of three (3) months by providing examples of utility bills, rental agreements, etc.
  4. Letter of authorization by parent/guardian AND registered USA Judo club at which they are a member in good standing, must be provided. Template letter is available.
  5. Athlete must show proof of attendance at a school located in the United States for the last three (3) months by providing examples of report cards and/or a letter from appropriate school administrator (ie. school principal).
  6. Athlete must pay a $50 non-refundable processing fee through credit card payment prior to USA Judo action is taken regarding athlete’s request.
  7. Annual renewal and submission of current documentation is required and is the responsibility of each approved athlete to retain USA Judo refugee status.

Applications can be accessed at:  EmailMe Form - USA Judo Refugee Application

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