Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman will be able to represent Scotland next year - rather than in 2023 - after World Rugby extended the three-year residency period window.
The governing body said in 2017 any player not qualified by 2020 must serve five years before becoming eligible.
But some nations face a year without matches because of the pandemic.
South Africa-born 26-year-old Schoeman will be one of those to benefit from extending the rule to December 2021.
The prop, who joined Edinburgh from South African club Bulls in the summer of 2018, will now be available for Scotland in the middle of next year.
Why has the change been made?
World Rugby's Regulation 8 (eligibility) states that players must have served the requisite residency "immediately prior to the date of playing".
However, because of the pandemic and the suspension of international rugby, the "date of playing" opportunities have been significantly affected - especially for the developing rugby nations.
Some eligible players have potentially been prevented from representing their adopted country by the scheduled cut-off date, either because of cancelled matches or complications caused by the virus.
"In light of these exceptional circumstances, the executive committee, having consulted with unions and international rugby players, determined it was appropriate to extend the 36-month residency requirement set out in Regulation 8 to 31 December 2021," the governing body said.
"The executive committee also confirmed that a player must meet both the 36-months residency requirement and have represented the union on or before 31 December, 2021, otherwise the player will fall under the 60-month rule."
The home nations have regularly benefited from the residency rule, with the likes of England's Nathan Hughes, Wales' Hadleigh Parkes, Scotland's WP Nel and Ireland's CJ Stander among those capped after serving the three years required.
Meanwhile, Leinster wing James Lowe is now eligible for Ireland after joining the Dublin province from his native New Zealand in 2017.