Virtus Eligibility Application for U.S. Athletes with Intellectual Impairment

Visit our U.S. Virtus Eligibility Master Lists by Sport

As the U.S. Member of Virtus, Athletes Without Limits (AWL) manages eligibility for both Virtus events and National Paralympic classification for US athletes with intellectual impairment. This includes athletes with Intellectual & Developmental Disability (IDD), Autism and Down syndrome.

Eligibility Groups & Criteria

  • Virtus II-1 Intellectual Disability / Paralympic Classification (Click to Show Criteria)
    Athletes who meet all three criteria below are eligible to complete in the Virtus II-1 group at Virtus events. There are also select Paralympic opportunities open to athletes with intellectual impairment who meet this criteria:

    1. IQ 75 or lower on WAIS, WISC or Stanford Binet IQ Assessment
    2. At least one Adaptive Behavior Domain score of 70 or lower on Vineland, ABAS, AAMR or similar Adaptive Behavior Assessment
    3. Onset before Age 22 must be evident by citing or providing a background history that cites assessments/diagnostic reports which show disability was present before age 22.

    *For full International level IQ & Adaptive assessments listed above must be within last 5 years unless athlete has Down Syndrome and provides cytogenetic report showing Trisomy21 or Translocation Down Syndrome. Older or alternate assessments may be accepted for some National level events where eligibility is clear.

  • Virtus II-2: Additional Impairment/ Tri21 or Translocation Down Syndrome (Click to show criteria)

    In order to create competition that is more fair, athletes with intellectual disability who have significant additional physical impairment associated with Tri21 or Translocation Down Syndrome (or similar) can complete in a separate competition group from II-1 athletes at Athletes Without Limits and Virtus Events. (Athletes with Down Syndrome in sports that have Paralympic opportunities should apply for dual eligibility in the Virtus II-1 group for Paralympic events and the II-2 group for Virtus events.)

    II2 Evidence Required: Athletes should submit most recent IQ and Adaptive Behavior assessments and Cytogenetic Report showing Trisomy21 or Translocation Down Syndrome or Medical report showing athlete has intellectual disability along with other significant additional impairments (cerebral palsy, vision etc.).

  • Virtus II-3: Autism w/o IDD (IQ 76 or higher) (Click to show Criteria)

    An additional group is offered at our Athletes Without Limits and Virtus events for those athletes with an Autism diagnosis who do not meet the IQ or Adaptive criteria above for Intellectual Disability. (Note: Athletes in this group are not eligible for Paralympic opportunities since their IQ is not 75 or lower.)

    II3 Evidence Required:
    A. IQ and Adaptive Behavior Assessments:  (if the athlete has them) should be included so we can confirm if athlete may be eligible for the Virtus II1 group.

    B. Autism Diagnosis: Evidence should be submitted which supports a diagnosis of Autism or ASD. For most athletes the original historical diagnostic report confirming the athlete is autistic will contain the required information. This evidence must meet the following criteria:

    1. The assessment has been carried out by an appropriately qualified professional or multi-disciplinary team of professionals.

    2. There is a detailed developmental history focusing on the developmental and behavioural features consistent with ICD 11 or DSM 5 criteria for autism

    3. The assessment has included direct contact and interaction with the athlete, focusing on the autistic features as defined above.

    4. Autistic specific tools have been used as part of the overall assessment. Those accepted within Virtus are:

    ADOS/ADOS2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule)
    ADR-I (Autistic Diagnostic Interview – Revised)
    CARS (Childhood Autism Rating Scale)
    DISCO (Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders Framework)
    GARS (Gilliam Autism Rating Scale)
    Adult Asperger Assessment (AAA)
    RIMLAND (Autism Diagnostic Instrument)
    Autism Spectrum Rating Scales (ASRS)
    Indian Scale for the Assessment of Autism (ISAA) – note: for ages 2-9 only

    In some cases where the above tools have not been used but specific comprehensive evidence has been gathered by a multi-disciplinary team and mapped against either the ICD 11 or DSM 5 frameworks this may be acceptable at the discretion of the eligibility panel.

    The assessment report must include:

    1. Details of the assessors professional qualifications and expertise to assess for autism.
    2. A comprehensive developmental history;
    3. Details of the assessment methods used;
    4. Full results of the assessment, including scores (if available) for any assessment tools used;
    5. A detailed analysis and discussion of assessment findings;
    6. Consideration of any factors which may have affected the results.
    7. A clear conclusion including a signed declaration stating that in their professional opinion the diagnosis of Autism can be confirmed.

    Other Virtus requirements:

    • The assessment report should be presented on formal letter-headed paper stating the professional’s name and qualifications, professional accreditation membership number and details of any professional bodies, address, phone/fax number and email.

    •The assessment report should be typed (no handwritten reports)

    • The assessment report must state when and where the assessment or report was completed (i.e. date, location)

    • Translation into English if original report is in another language. For privacy protection reasons it’s best if the athlete’s parent/guardian finds a trustworthy translator or service (perhaps through your current doctor or psychologist’s office) before submitting. Contact us if you need help organizing this.

Apply for Eligibility

1. Download Eligibility Application & Instructions PDF and gather items needed for evidence using the table on page 2 of the application.

2. Send us an email via our  Contact Us form to request a secure link to upload your application and supporting documents directly to our Eligibility Dropbox.

3. National Review: Athletes Without Limits review by our National Eligibility Psychologist typically takes from 1 to 4 weeks depending on the existing assessments in the athletes file and number of applications in the queue. Applications are prioritized by upcoming events.  Additional information may be requested to make a determination.

4. We’ll email you a  National eligibility determination and an invoice to pay the application fee. If the athlete needs full International Eligibility we’ll let you know if any additional information is needed for us to endorse and submit your application to Virtus International. Nationally reviewed athletes will be added to Athlete Without Limits US Master List.

If you are in a sport with Paralympic opportunities you’d like to pursue we will also let the USOPC know you can be added to their National Classification List. (Swimming, Track & Field or Table Tennis).

Additional Steps to Confirm International Level Eligibility:

5. International Evidence: Applications must include the exact evidence and assessments required for International Level eligibility (listed on page 2 of the application PDF).

Note: It’s possible the athlete may need to schedule new assessments in order to meet these requirements — if you do need to arrange new assessments with your local psychologist you can give them a copy of our Guide for Psychologists which provides details about the assessments and reports needed. 

6. Virtus International Confirmation: Once an application is reviewed as having all evidence needed for full International Eligibility, we’ll send it on to the Virtus International Eligibility Committee for International confirmation. Note: It can take from 4-8 additional weeks to hear back from the Virtus Committee who review applications from athletes in 10+ sports around the world. 

7. Coaches Survey: While waiting to hear back from Virtus, have the Athletes Coach complete the required Virtus Coaches Survey (TSAL). The survey does not affect eligibility decisions but is a Virtus Requirement.
Swimming Coach’s Survey
Track & Field Coach’s Survey
Coach’s Survey for All Other Sports

8. Once International eligibility is confirmed athletes are assigned a Virtus Athlete Eligibility Number. Eligible athletes are added to the Virtus International Master List. We will email you confirmation when we hear back from the Virtus Committee. International eligiblity does not expire.

Eligiblity Deadlines by Sport/Event

Click your sport below to reveal eligibility guidance for upcoming events. 

  • CYCLING

    2027 Virtus Global Games Cycling World Championships
    Event Date, Location and Deadlines TBA
    Eligibility: Athletes can complete as part of Athletes Without Limits US National Team with Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Eligibility.

  • EQUESTRIAN

    2023 Virtus Equestrian Video Competition (Round 2) 
    Video Entry Submission Deadline: Oct 21-28, 2024
    AWL Eligibility Application for New Athletes: Oct 1, 2024
    Eligibility Required: Virtus II1, II2 or II3 International

    2027 Virtus Global Games: Equestrian World Championships
    Event Date, Location and Deadlines TBA
    Eligibility: Athletes can complete as part of Athletes Without Limits US National Team with Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Eligibility

  • GOLF
    While Golf is not currently a sport offered at Virtus competition or in the Paralympic Games, the following events offer opportunities for players with Virtus eligibility and a WR4GD World Player Pass from EDGA:

    2024 USA Disabled Golf Association Championship (Florida)
    Event Date: April 21-24th
    USDGA Entry Deadline:  December 1-Jan 17, 2024
    AWL Virtus Eligibility Deadline: November 17th
    Eligibility Required by Event Hosts: Virtus II1/Para International

    2024 US Adaptive Open Golf Championships (Kansas)
    Event Date:
    USGA Entry Deadline:  TBA Likely April 2024
    AWL Virtus Eligibility Deadline: TBA Likely February 2024
    Eligibility Required by Event Hosts: Virtus II1/Para International

    EDGA International Golf Calendar: 
    While US events above have limited entry to the Virtus II1/Paralympic Eligibility Group, there may be other EDGA international opportunities which offer competition for all three Virtus groups (II-1, II-2 and II-3).  These will be posted on the EDGA International Calendar.  Eligibility: Players should apply at least two months prior to the event entry deadline.

  • KARATE
    While Karate is not currently a sport offered at Virtus competition or in the Paralympic Games, the following events offer opportunities for players with Virtus eligibility:

    WKF Karate/US Para Karate:
    Players with Virtus (II-1) and Virtus (II-2) International Level eligibility can compete in WKF events worldwide (with support from USA Para Karate).
    Eligibility: Athletes should apply for Virtus International eligibility at least 8 weeks prior to the event.

  • ROWING

    US Rowing: has adopted all three Virtus Eligibility groups for their Para Rowing PR3 – Virtus (II-1), Virtus (II-2) or Virtus (II-3).
    Eligibility: Athletes should apply for National Eligibility at least 4 weeks before the entry deadline to US events.

    World Rowing: Rowers with Virtus (II-1) International eligibility may compete at some World Rowing Indoor Rowing or Virtual events.
    Eligibility: Athletes should apply for Virtus II-1 International eligibility 4-8 weeks before the event entry deadline.

    2027 Virtus Global Games: Indoor & On-Water Rowing Championships
    Event Date, Location and Deadlines TBA
    Eligibility: Athletes can complete as part of Athletes Without Limits US National Team with Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Eligibility.

  • SKIING

    2024 Virtus Skiing World Championships
    Event Date: March 2-8, 2024 in Zakopane, Poland
    Event Entry Deadline: TBD
    AWL Eligibility Application Deadline for new skiers: TBD (interested new athletes should begin their eligibility application as early as possible)
    Eligibility: Athletes can complete as part of Athletes Without Limits US National Team with full Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Eligibility.

  • SWIMMING

    2023 US Paralympics Swimming National Championships (Florida)
    Event Date: Dec 15-17, 2023
    Event Entry Deadline: Nov 22, 2023 (Late Entries Dec 4, 2023)
    AWL Eligibility Application Deadline for National S14 Classification: Nov 1, 2023
    Eligibility Required by Event Hosts: Virtus II1/Para National

    2027 Virtus Global Games: Swimming World Championships
    Event Date, Location and Deadlines TBA
    Eligibility: Athletes can complete as part of Athletes Without Limits US National Team with Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Eligibility.

  • TABLE TENNIS

    2027 Virtus Global Games: Table Tennis
    Event Date, Location and Deadlines TBA
    Eligibility: Athletes can complete as part of Athletes Without Limits US National Team with Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Eligibility.

  • TAEKWONDO

    USA Taekwondo: Players with Virtus (II-1) National or International Level Eligibility can compete in the P20 Class at USAT Para Taekwondo events.  Check with the event contact for details of what is required for entry.
    Eligibility:Athletes should apply for National Virtus II1 Eligibility at least 4 weeks before the event registration deadline.

    AAU Taekwondo may have opportunities but has not formally required Virtus Eligibility.  Check with the AAU event contact for Para Entry requirements for the event.

    WorldTaekwondo: Players with Virtus (II-1) National or International Level Eligibility can compete at World Taekwondo sanctioned events. There may be some events that also offer II2 & II3 competition groups as well, check with the event host.

    2027 Virtus Global Games: Taekwondo World Championships
    Event Date, Location and Deadlines TBA
    Eligibility: Athletes can complete as part of Athletes Without Limits US National Team with Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Eligibility.

  • TENNIS

    2024 Virtus Tennis World Championships (France)
    Event Date, Location & Deadlines TBA
    Eligibility: New Athletes should apply for Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Level Eligibility.

    2027 Virtus Global Games: Tennis World Championships
    Event Date, Location and Deadlines TBA
    Eligibility: Athletes can complete as part of Athletes Without Limits US National Team with Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Eligibility.

  • TRACK & FIELD

    2023-2024 Move United Events
    Some Move United events that offer Track & Field are open to athletes with intellectual impairment. View the Move United Calendar.
    Eligibility: New athletes should apply to AWL for Virtus II1 Eligibility to get their Paralympic T20/F20 National Classification at least 4 weeks before the entry deadline.

    2024 Boston Marathon Para T20 Class 
    Event Date: April 15, 2024
    Event Entry Deadline: September 15, 2023
    Eligibility: This is a new opportunity in 2024, interested athletes should contact AWL for more guidance. Athletes should apply for Virtus II1/Paralympic eligibility to get their National T20 Classification.

    2024 US Paralympics Track & Field Team Trials 
    Event Date: July 18-21, 2024  (view US Para Calendar)
    Eligibility: Athletes with potential to make emerging Paralympic Team times or qualify for Trials in July 2024 in the Paralympics events open to athletes with intellectual impairment (400m, 1500m Shotput and Long jump) should apply to AWL for full International Level Virtus II-1/Paralympic Eligibility.

    2027 Virtus Global Games: Track & Field World Championships
    Event Date, Location and Deadlines TBA
    Eligibility: Athletes can complete as part of Athletes Without Limits US National Team with Virtus II-1, Virtus II-2 or Virtus II-3 International Eligibility.

ABOUT AWL TRIPS TO VIRTUS-HOSTED COMPETITION:

Virtus: World Intellectual Impairment Sport (formerly called Inas) is the governing body for para-athletes with an intellectual impairment and a member of the International Paralympic Committee. Virtus Eligible athletes can qualify to travel with Athletes Without Limits US Teams to Virtus Competition in 10+ sports: Basketball, Cycling, Equestrian, Judo, Karate, Rowing, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis and Track & Field. 

Unlike Paralympic events which have competition for a variety of impairments including physical and visual, Virtus events are only open to athletes with Intellectual Impairment competing in three groups.

Three Competition Groups offered at Virtus Events:
Virtus II-1: Intellectual Disability (IQ 75 or lower, significant limitation in at least one domain of Adaptive Behavior, onset before age 22)
Virtus II-2: Intellectual Disability with significant additional impairment including Trisomy 21/Translocation Down Syndrome
Virtus II-3: Athletes with Autism who do not meet II-1 criteria above (IQ 76 or higher)


ABOUT PARALYMPIC-HOSTED COMPETITION:

Virtus eligibility is the first step for US athletes with an intellectual impairment to obtain Paralympic National Classification for select Paralympic opportunities for athletes with Intellectual Impairment.

One competition Group offered at Paralympic events: While Virtus offers three competition groups, some outside events like Paralympics only have one competition group (or “class”) for athletes with intellectual impairment.

To be eligible athletes must meet the Virtus II1 Criteria for Intellectual Disability (IQ 75 or lower, Significant Adaptive Behavior Limitations and onset before age 22).

Paralympic Sports:

Swimming Class S14 (U.S. Para and World Para Swimming Events)
Track & Field Class T20/F20 (U.S. Para and World Para Track & Field Events)
Table Tennis Class 11 (USA Table Tennis & ITTF Events)

Related organizations (such as Move United) may offer competition to athletes using Paralympic classification. For more detailed information the Paralympic Opportunities visit our Paralympics  information page.