EU Fees, Non EU Fees or Free Fees Status


  • Where a student has commenced, and completed or not completed a third level course, they need to fill out the Previous Attendance Form, and return it to the Fees Office by email for their eligibility for free tuition fees to be assessed.
  • Where a student needs to be assessed for determination of EU/Non-EU status, please read the EU/Non-EU fees assessment guidelines below and complete the relevant form.
  • First year Irish/EU undergraduate students beginning their studies in UCC in September, who wish to find out if the state will pay the tuition component of their fees, can access the HEA website for information on Free Fees eligibility.

EU / Non-EU Fees Assessment Guidelines & Form

Your fee status determines how you apply for undergraduate programmes at University College Cork (UCC)

  • EU applicants must apply through the CAO

  • International applicants apply directly to UCC

Postgraduate applicants determinations will be completed as part of their application on UCC Apply.

EU nationality/citizenship does not automatically confirm EU fee status. You may be asked to provide further documentary evidence to confirm your status, e.g year-end tax returns for 3 of the past 5 years issued by an EU country Government Tax Office, or letter from an EU country Department of Social Welfare.

Where an applicant holds an EU passport and does not have residency but attended primary/secondary school in the EU for at least 5 years, then a letter from that school confirming the dates of attendance is required.

Once you have read the assessment categories and guidelines below, please complete the EU Non-EU Fees Status Assessment Form and email it to .


Assessment Categories: 

1. A person's nationality is where they are a legal citizen, usually in the country where they were born. For our purposes, an EU designation includes:

  • The EEA which includes all EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. All are part of the EU 's single market.
  • Switzerland is not an EU or EEA member but is part of the single market.
  • UK is not an EU or EEA member but is eligible under the Common Travel Area (CTA)

2. Your country of domicile means the country you permanently reside.

3. Residency is assessed separately to nationality, and we need to review based on the applicants age as per September 1 on year of commencement of your programme. Residency is defined as living in the EU/EEA/UK/Swiss Confederation for three of the last five years “Full time for Tax Purposes”. Tax Residency assessment categories are as follows:

  • Under 23, we can assess your application based on parent/guardians declarations for three of last five years. Documentation from relevant EU/EEA/UK/Swiss Confederation Tax Authorities or Departments of Social Protection will be required.
  • Over 23, we require your documentation from relevant EU/EEA/UK/Swiss Confederation Tax Authorities or Departments of Social Protection for three of the last five years.
  • If applicant is married / civil partnership, then for the purpose of taxation the principal residence of the spouse can be examined. (Both applicant and spouse must have been resident as married/civil partnership for the required period – 3 years).

An applicant living in the EU/EEA/UK/Swiss Confederation for the primary purpose of attending a third level institution is not eligible for Residency without satisfying the Tax Resident Assessment or qualifying for an exception, as outlined in section 4 below.

4. An Irish, UK, EU, EEA or Swiss Confederation student who has spent at least five years in primary school or post-primary school in Ireland, UK, EU, EEA or Swiss Confederation student can avail of EU fee Status.

1. Country of Nationality  2. Country of Domicile  3. Resident 3-5 years within the EU/EEA/UK/Swiss Confederation  4. Five years Primary/Post-Primary Education in the EU/EEA/UK/Swiss Confederation Your Fee Category 
EU EU Yes Yes EU 
EU EU Yes No EU 
EU EU No Yes EU 
EU EU No No International
EU Non-EU Yes Yes EU
EU Non-EU Yes No EU
EU Non-EU No Yes EU
EU Non-EU No No International
Non-EU EU Yes Yes EU
Non-EU EU Yes No EU
Non-EU EU No Yes International
Non-EU EU No No International
Non-EU Non-EU Yes Yes EU
Non-EU Non-EU Yes No EU
Non-EU Non-EU No Yes International
Non-EU Non-EU No No International
  • Supporting documentation to confirm your EU Status will be required prior to registration. 


If you do not meet the ordinary resident criteria, you may still be eligible for EU fees under the following exceptions:

For undergraduate courses:

  1. EU fees may apply for EU, UK, EEA or Swiss Confederation, who do not meet the normal residency requirements but who completed at least 5 academic years of study in EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation (at either primary or post-primary education). You will be asked to provide supporting documentation from the school(s) that you attended within the EU/EEA/Swiss confederation to confirm the dates of your attendance.
  2. The dependents of non-EU diplomatic staff based in the EU are entitled to EU (not free fees). This includes the minor/dependent adult children who are in full time post-primary education and the spouse/the civil partner of the non-EU diplomatic staff. They must present a letter from their Embassy each year to verify their entitlement.
  3. Minor and dependent adult children who are in full time post-primary education, the spouse/the civil partner of Irish State Officials, and comparable EU/UK/EEA/Swiss Confederation officials, who reside with that State official while posted outside the EU/UK/EEA/Swiss Confederation on diplomatic or consular missions, shall be deemed to be resident in their home EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation for the purposes of the residency clause of the Free Fees Initiative.
  4. Students who are the children of Semi State Agency officials, Government officials (all Departments), 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 will cease. The Department of Education has withdrawn this concession for legal reasons (30 January 2013).
  5. Children of emigrants may be assessed as EU applicants if they can provide documentary evidence of having completed 5+ years of primary and/or post-primary education in the EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation and have no previous third-level attendance. All undergraduate applicants who do not meet these criteria are defined as Non-EU.

Additional Information:

HEA - Free Fees Initiative (FFI)

For full details visit here

For full time undergraduate students be eligible for the HEA Free Fees scheme (FFI) students must:

  • first qualify for the EU fee rate
  • OR be a Person who has official refugee status
  • OR Family members of a refugee who are granted permission by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform
  • OR who has permission to remain in the State as a family member of a Union citizen under the provisions of the EU “4REUFam”
  • OR be a Person who the Minister for Justice and Law Reform has granted permission to remain

Under the terms of FFI, the Irish Exchequer will pay tuition fees to the University on behalf of students registered for the first time on qualifying, full-time, undergraduate degree programmes.

The scheme is subject to the following conditions:

  1. Tuition fees will be paid in respect only of students attending full-time undergraduate courses.
  2. The courses must, other than exceptionally, be of a minimum of two years duration.
  3. The courses must be followed in one of the eligible institutions.
  4. Tuition fees will not be paid in respect of students pursuing a second undergraduate course OR students who already hold a postgraduate qualification. Notwithstanding this condition and subject to compliance with the other conditions of the Free Fees Initiative, students who already hold a Level 6 qualification (Higher Certificate or National Certificate) or a Level 7 qualification (Ordinary Bachelor Degree or National Diploma) and are progressing to a Level 8 (Honours Bachelor Degree) course without necessarily having received an exemption from the normal duration of the course, may be deemed eligible for free fees.
  5. Tuition fees will be paid in respect of eligible students who, having attended but non completed approved courses, are returning following a break of at least five years in order to pursue approved courses at the same level.

European Economic Area (EEA) Countries:

EU Member States:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

Non-EU Member States: 

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Disclaimer: These are general guidelines on the University College Cork fees assessments process and do not include all regulations. The University accepts no responsibility for misunderstanding in relation to course fees because of these guidelines.



Memo of Understanding (MoU) on the Common Travel Area (CTA) was signed between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2019. The MoU acknowledged the importance of education noting that “the CTA affords Irish and British citizens the right of access to all levels of education and training, and associated student support in each other’s State on terms no less favourable than those for citizens of that State”.

In terms of higher education, this means that notwithstanding Brexit, UK students will still be eligible for the same fee structures as Irish Students. 

Currently Enrolled Students with UK Nationality

No change.

Prospective Students with UK Nationality

UK citizens wishing to enrol in Irish Higher Education Institute will remain eligible on the same basis as Irish students, as per the CTA. 

For the free fees initiative, once students meet all other criteria as set out in the free fees initiative:

  • Students with UK nationality will continue to be eligible under the nationality criteria of the free fees scheme
  • UK residency will continue to contribute towards fulfilling the ordinarily resident criteria of the scheme.

For the most up-to-date information on this topic, please visit the Government of Ireland’s website here.

Fees Office

Oifig na dTáillí

Fees Office, North Wing, Main Quadrangle, University College Cork