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EU Nationals

E.U. Nationals who have a genuine and effective link to the U.K.

E.U. Nationals who have a “genuine and effective link” to the U.K by acquiring a set period of “ordinary residence” prior to the first day of their course are usually eligible to apply for funding as “home” students. Please note the length of ordinary residence required is different depending on when you started or plan to start your course. 

Up until 25 March 2016-3 years ordinary residence was required.

From 25 March 2016-5 years ordinary residence is required.

The ordinary residence period MUST be achieved by the first day of the first academic year of your course in order for you to be eligible for funding under this category.

E.U. Nationals who do not meet the above criteria may be eligible for a Tuition fee loan only, unless they meet the qualifying conditions to be assessed as Migrant worker. E.U. Nationals who wish to apply for a Tuition Fee loan only must be in the U.K. by the first day of their official course start date. EU/EEA Nationals who wish to apply for maintenance funding to Student Finance England, SFE under Migrant Worker regulations must be ordinarily resident in England on the first day of the first academic year of their course. 

EU/EEA Migrant Worker Status, (MWS)

This information is a broad introduction to funding for students that may be eligible to apply for funding for as a Migrant Worker if they are from member states of the European Union, EU and/or the European Economic Area, EEA.

You need to be a national of the EEA country and have moved to an EEA state to work to be considered for funding as an EU/EEA Migrant Worker.

The regulations around this area of funding are complex and this information does not cover every regulation and/or guideline.  If you are unsure if you meet the criteria as an EU/EEA Migrant worker then please contact Student Finance England, SFE or the funding body you are applying to.  You can also contact an adviser at the University Of Suffolk at the campus that you are studying at.

EU countries and EEA

The EU countries are:

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 and the UK.

The European Economic Area (EEA)

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.

Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.   

Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland

Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland –nationals from these countries do not usually qualify for tuition fee only support and usually have to apply as an EEA migrant worker in order to apply for funding for both tuition fee and living loan costs support.

Why? As these countries are in the EEA but not the EU then you can usually only apply for funding support as EEA migrant workers.  

The exceptions that may make you eligible are as Follows:

 Right of Permanent Residence status, ROPR:


Exercising Treaty Rights as a “qualified person” for a 5 year period prior to the start of the academic year.

 If you are married or in a recognised civil partnership with an EU national then you may be eligible for fee only support as the spouse of an EU National.

Migrant Worker Status

Some key important terms when considering whether you may meet Migrant Worker Status and reading this information.

England – this information is largely taken from the Student Finance England, “Assessing Eligibility” 19/20 guidelines and pertains to potential migrant workers who wish to apply to Student Finance England for funding.

“Ordinarily resident” this means habitually, (normally) resident in England.

“First day of the course” is defined in the regulations and does not mean the day your course starts. It means the first day of the first academic year of your course. This is 1st September for Autumn term starters and the 1St January for February starters.

 A 'frontier worker' is an EEA/Swiss national working in the UK but who, "resides in Switzerland or the territory of an EEA State other than the United Kingdom and returns to their residence in Switzerland or an EEA state, at least once a week."

Am I a Migrant worker?

In order to potentially qualify for funding as a migrant worker you will need to meet certain eligibility criteria which includes:

  • A national of one of the above countries
  • Moved to an EU/ EEA country for the purpose of WORK  
  • Resided for 3 years in EU/EEA/ Switzerland
  • Be “ordinarily resident” in England on the first day of the first academic year of your course, as defined above. If you don’t meet this criteria you will not be able to apply as a Migrant worker in the first or subsequent years of your course. The exceptions to this is if you are an eligible EEA Frontier worker/self-employed person or Swiss frontier employed person/self-employed person
  • Be engaged in lawful work and continue to work during your course. (Periods of sickness are allowed. Allowances can be made)  
  • There are no official set hours of work and self-employed work can also be considered however SFE will look for evidence that the work is regular, effective and genuine. As a guidance the migrant worker would be expected to be working. You will need to provide evidence of this when you apply and may be asked to provide further evidence.

As mentioned previously, these rules are complex and the above list is not exhaustive of all the criteria you may need to meet to qualify as a Migrant Worker or the regulations that govern tis funding status. SFE have a specialist team to undertake the assessment for an application for funding under Migrant Worker Status.

If you wish to go ahead and apply as a migrant worker then you will need to download a PN1 form and fill this in by hand. The forms are available at the main Student Finance England Website.

SFE have produced a helpful to guide to submitting an application for Migrant Worker Status Funding, which you can access here.

Can I apply if I am a family member of an EEA/Swiss Migrant Worker/Frontier worker?

Family members of an EEA/Swiss Migrant/Frontier workers are also potentially eligible for support, with the same entitlements as the worker, see Table one.  

You do not need to be an EEA national or employed to be eligible but do need meet the “relevant” family member criteria.  The definition of a relevant family member varies according to the category of the worker.  You need to meet the other relevant residency requirements as well.  

Please ask Student Finance England, SFE or a University adviser about this if you are unsure if you meet all the residency requirements.

Undergraduate Funding

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Student Finance

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