The Dutchman, whose goals helped clinch the title last season, is among the leading contenders on a 23-man shortlist that was announced on Tuesday morning, with the winner set to be unveiled in Zurich, Switzerland on 13 January.
Van Persie is joined on the list by four other Premier League players with Manchester City's Yaya Toure, Liverpool frontman Luis Suarez, Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Arsenal's recent addition Mesut Ozil all making the cut. Notably, no Englishmen were nominated.
Favourites for the award include ex-Reds hero Cristiano Ronaldo, Bayern Munich forward Franck Ribery and Barcelona legend Lionel Messi, who has taken home the gong for the last four years.
Former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson also headlines a 10-man coach of the year shortlist alongside Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Spain boss Vicente del Bosque.
Ballon d’Or shortlist: Gareth Bale, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Neymar, Thiago Silva, Radamel Falcao, Andrea Pirlo, Franck Ribery, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Yaya Toure.
More: Robin van Persie profile