The number of entries for the figure skating events at the Olympic Games is limited by a quota set by the International Olympic Committee. There are 30 participants in each singles events (ladies and men), 20 pairs, and 24 ice dance duos.
Skaters must represent a member nation of the International Skating Union and reach the age of fifteen before July 1 of the previous year. They are also required to be citizens of the country they are representing. Competitors have until just before the Olympics to receive citizenship. Since nationality rules are less strict for the ISU Championships, sometimes skaters who have competed at World or European championships are not eligible for the Olympics.
80% of the Olympic spots (24 men/ladies, 19 dance couples, 16 pairs) are allotted to countries according to the results of the previous year's World Figure Skating Championships. A country may have a maximum of three entries per discipline. Countries earn two or three entries by earning points through their skaters' placements. The points are equal to the sum of the placements of the country's skaters (top two if they have three). If a country only has one skater/team, that skater/team must place in the top ten to earn two entries and in the top two to earn three entries. If a country has two skaters/teams, the combined placement of those teams must be 13 or less to qualify 3 entries, and 28 or less to qualify two entries. The remaining places are awarded to one skater/team each from countries that failed to get multiple places, in order of their skaters' placement in the world championships.
Following the World Championships, countries that have not qualified an entry in a particular discipline receive another opportunity in an international competition held in the autumn (usually the Nebelhorn Trophy) prior to the Olympic Games. Six spots are available in men's singles, six in ladies' singles, four in pairs, and five in ice dancing. At some Olympics, the host country is automatically entitled to one entry in each discipline, e.g. in 1994, 2010, and 2018 if minimum scores are achieved. If a country receives a spot by being the host, one fewer spot is available in the autumn qualifying competition.