EU vs Non-EU policy

Am I an EU or Non-EU student (for application and fees assessment)?

For admission purposes, all applicants are categorised into two categories: EU or Non-EU.

It is important to establish your status before making an application as you will retain your EU/Non-EU status for the duration of your studies.

The determination of EU or Non-EU status is essential for two reasons:

Application procedure

EU/Non-EU status determines the application procedure that you should follow. Applying through the incorrect EU/Non-EU application route will result in your application not being processed.

AND

Fees status

EU/Non-EU status determines the fee category that will apply for the duration of your studies. This is important as the EU/Non-EU Fee category cannot be changed from one category to the other following registration.

Applicants who meet the EU Fees criteria (EU Free Fees or EU Fees - shown below) qualify as 'EU applicants' and apply through the EU application route only, (see Note 1 below).

- Note 1: EU applicants apply via the CAO with the exception of Graduates, applying to the Pharmacy and Physiotherapy programmes, who apply directly to RCSI.

Applicants who do not meet the EU Fees criteria qualify as 'Non-EU applicants' and apply through the Non-EU application route only, (see Note 2 below).

- Note 2: Non-EU applicants apply directly to RCSI with the exception of applicants, residing in North America at the time of application, who must apply via the Atlantic Bridge programme.

Determination of EU/Non-EU status for Undergraduate students

The criteria for determining the fee category assignment is set by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). All universities in Ireland are required to implement these regulations for determining:

  1. EU Free Fees
  2. EU Fees
  3. Non-EU Fees

Under the terms of the Free Fees Initiative, the Irish Exchequer will pay tuition fees on behalf of EU students registered for the first time on full-time, undergraduate degree programmes.

To qualify for Free Fees, ALL of the criteria for eligibility must be met, in full, prior to registration. Once registered a student's fee status cannot subsequently be changed. Students who qualify for free fees under the Free Fees Initiative will receive funding for their tuition fees for the normal completion of their chosen programme. Repeat year fees are not covered under the Free Fees Initiative.

To qualify for EU free fees, applicants must meet criteria with regard to:

A. Residency and

B. Nationality and immigration status and

C. Course requirements

A. Residency

The applicant must have been ordinarily resident* in the EU or an EEA member state (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland for at least three of the last five years prior to admission to their chosen course.

*Ordinarily resident means being resident in the EU/EEA/Switzerland for a minimum of 183 days in any one calendar year, for a minimum of three years.

- Note 3: For determination of eligibility for free tuition fees, the place of residence of a student is deemed to be their place of education. This means that if a student receives their full-time education in a non-EU/EEA/Swiss jurisdiction they will not be eligible for Free Fees.

- Note 4: Students who are the children of semi-State agency officials, Government officials, Irish officials working with the UN and children of volunteer development workers who reside in non-EU countries as a result of their appointments must note that as and from September 2013 the exemption from meeting normal EU residency requirements is ceased. The Department of Education and Skills withdrew this concession for legal reasons in January 2013.

AND

B. Nationality and immigration

The applicant must also fulfil ONE of the following six criteria as regards nationality and immigration status in Ireland.

They must:

  1. Be a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland or
  2. Have official refugee status or
  3. Be a family member of a refugee and have been granted permission to live in the State or
  4. Be a family member of an EU national and have permission to live in the State, with a stamp '4EUFAM' on your residence card or
  5. Have been granted humanitarian leave to remain in the State or
  6. Have been granted permission to remain in the State by the Minister for Justice and Equality, following a determination by the Minister not to make a deportation order under Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999

AND

C. Course requirements

The applicant must also fulfil ALL of the following three course requirements:

  1. Be a first-time full-time undergraduate student
  2. Be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least two years' duration
  3. Not be repeating the academic year because of failing exams or changing course

- Note 5: Students who have been verifiably absent from third level education for a minimum of five years since attempting, but not completing, a first-time degree and who belong to one of the above categories may be considered 'second chance' i.e. eligible for a further round of funding under the Free Fees Initiative.

- Note 6: Ineligibility notes for Free Fees

  • Students who have already completed a first-time undergraduate degree or who have a postgraduate qualification are never entitled to further funding under the Free Fees Initiative.
  • No graduate regardless of where, when or how the degree was obtained qualifies for free tuition. If a student has a postgraduate qualification without having completed a primary degree they will not qualify for free fees if they choose to pursue an undergraduate programme.
  • If a student withdraws from a programme for which free fees are claimed they will be held liable for all tuition fees for the equivalent period of attendance if they decide to attend another third level programme in the Republic of Ireland.

In certain circumstances, citizens of the EU/EEA or Switzerland (or those with official refugee status as outlined above) are liable for EU Fees (as opposed to entitled to Free Fees). Such circumstances include:

  • Where the applicant already holds a degree or has completed one or more years of a higher education course, or
  • Where the applicant is repeating a year (or part of a year) of study.

It is important to note that an EU/EEA/Swiss passport or EU/EEA/Swiss citizenship does not grant automatic entitlement to EU Fees. For instance, EU/EEA/Swiss passport holders who have not been ordinarily resident in the EU/EEA/Switzerland for at least three of the last five years prior to admission to their chosen course are only entitled to EU fees if they have completed at least five years of education (primary or post-primary) in an EU state and have no previous third level attendance.

  • This change applies to new undergraduate entrants from the 2014/15 academic session onwards.
  • Does not affect the rules governing entitlement to EU Free Fees for undergraduate study. The change only relates to applicants being eligible for the EU fee rate rather than the Non-EU fee rate.
  • Documentary evidence of completion of at least five academic years of study in the EU/EEA/Switzerland will be required by the College, i.e. confirmation/certification from the schools attended.

Non-EU citizens may also be considered for EU Fees if their principal residence for tax purposes was in an EU/EEA or Swiss member state for a minimum of three of the last five years prior to admission to the course. In order to meet the criterion, applicants need to meet either condition (A) or (B) below:

A. For all applicants, aged under 23 on 1 September of year of entry to the programme:

Parents must have been ordinarily resident as taxpayers (that is their principal residence for the purpose of taxation) in the EU/EEA/Switzerland for at least three of the last five years prior to the applicant commencing a programme at RCSI

AND

The applicant/student must have been ordinarily resident in the EU/EEA/Swiss confederation for at least three of the last five years prior to commencing a programme at RCSI.

B.  For all applicants, aged 23 or over on 1 September of year of entry to the programme:

Applicants over 23 are considered independent, mature applicants. The applicant/student must have been resident as a taxpayer (principal residence for the purpose of taxation) in the EU/EEA/Switzerland for at least three of the last five years prior to commencing a programme at RCSI.

- Note 7: Any period of residence as a student or as a holder of a conditional visa (Stamp 2 or 3) is not included in the assessment of years of residence.

Determination of EU/Non-EU status for Graduate Entry students

Graduate students who are citizens of the EU, EEA or Switzerland are liable for fees at the EU rate if they have have been ordinarily resident* in the EU or an EEA member state (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland for at least three of the last five years prior to admission to their chosen course.

*Ordinarily resident means being resident in the EU/EEA/ Switzerland for a minimum of 183 days in any one calendar year, for a minimum of three years.

Graduate students who are Non-EU citizens may also be considered for EU fees if their principal residence for tax purposes was in an EU, EEA or Swiss member state for a minimum of 3 of the last 5 years prior to admission to their course. In order to meet this criterion, applicants need to meet either condition (A) or (B) below:

A. For all applicants, aged under 23 on 1 September of year of entry to the programme:

  • Parents must have been ordinarily resident as taxpayers (that is their principal residence for the purpose of taxation) in the EU/EEA/Switzerland for at least three of the last five years prior to the applicant commencing a programme at RCSI

AND

  • The applicant/student must have been ordinarily resident in the EU/EEA/Swiss confederation for at least three of the last five years prior to commencing a programme at RCSI.

B. For all applicants aged 23 or over on 1 September of the year of entry to the programme:

  • Applicants over 23 are considered independent, mature applicants. The applicant/student must have been resident as a taxpayer (principal residence for the purpose of taxation) in the EU/EEA/Switzerland for at least three of the last five years prior to commencing a programme at RCSI.

- Note 8: Any period of residence as a student or as a holder of a conditional visa (Stamp 2 or 3) is not included in the assessment of years of residence.

- Note 9: Acceptable supporting documentation (for undergraduate and graduate entry students)

A. For applicants under 23 on 1 September of the year of entry, the following documentation is required to support your application for EU Fees:

  • A letter from their school (or third level institution for graduate applicants) confirming attendance for a minimum of three of the last five years prior to entry

AND

  • P21 tax certificates and/or social welfare documentation belonging to the parent(s) of the applicant must be submitted for each year of residence (minimum three of the last five years) with other proof of residence as required

AND

  • GNIB card with appropriate stamp (excluding stamp 2 or 3),

OR

  • For EU citizens, a copy of your current EU passport.

B. For applicants aged 23 or over on 1 September of year of entry:

  • P21 tax certificates (or EU/EEA/Swiss equivalent) and/or social welfare documentation for applicant must be submitted for a minimum of three of the last five years prior to entry

AND

  • For Non-EU applicants, work or residence visa and GNIB card with appropriate stamp (excluding stamp 2 or 3) for three of the last five years prior to commencement

OR

  • For EU citizens, a copy of your current EU passport.

- Note 10: EU Fee Assessment Process (Undergraduate and Graduate Entry Students)

  • In order to apply for EU Fee assessment, you should deliver copies of the appropriate documentation to the Admissions Office at RCSI, 123 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2 or submit them electronically to admissions@rcsi.ie.
  • Alternatively, you may post to the Admissions Office at RCSI, 123 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland.
  • You will be advised if the documentation you have provided is adequate or if further documentation is required.
  • Students are assessed for EU/Non-EU Fees based on the information provided by the applicant and students must meet strict criteria.
  • Once received, we will review your documentation to see if you meet the ordinary residency requirement or one of the exceptions.
  • A decision regarding your application will be advised to you by email within 10 days of your complete application being received.

Any candidate who does not meet the conditions outlined above for EU Free Fees or EU Fees will be liable for Non-EU Fees, regardless of nationality or citizenship. Candidates classified for fee purposes as Non-EU must apply though the Non-EU application route only (see Note 2 above) and will not be permitted to change their fee status following admission.