Qualifying for the UEFA Euro 1996 final tournament took place throughout 1994 and 1995. Forty-seven teams were divided into eight groups. All teams played against each other, within their groups, in a home-and-away basis. The winner of each group along with the six best runners-up automatically qualified, while the two worst runners-up were involved in a play-off on a neutral ground. England qualified automatically as hosts of the event.
This was the first time for the qualifying phase for the European Football Championship which awarded three points instead of two for a win.
The runners-up of each of the eight groups were placed in a table to decide which seven of them would qualify. The best six runners-up would qualify automatically, while the two worst would play-off on a neutral ground to determine the final qualifier. To determine the two worst runners-up, a comparison was made between all of them. Only matches played against teams that finished first, third and fourth were regarded.