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Home International Students Fees & finance Home or Overseas fees? Definitions: Fee status assessment

Definitions: For fee status assessment

This page has explanations about words and terms which occur in our information on Home or Overseas fees? and Student support. These explanations should not be read in isolation but, instead, combined with the appropriate fee status, or Student Support, category.

Sections

Dependency

For the purposes of fee status / Student Support assessment, ‘dependent’ (and what it means to be a 'dependant') are not defined in EU law or in the UK Education regulations.

In the European Court of Justice (ECJ) it has been held that, for a relationship of dependency to exist, it is simply a question of looking at the facts and deciding whether a person provides an other person with some kind of support, eg, financial help, accommodation or other material support (see the ECJ case of Centre public d’aide sociale de Courcelles v Lebon (Case 316/85)).

The following has also been held in ECJ cases:

  • there is no need to show the reason for the material support; merely that it existed and that, having regard to their financial and social conditions, the family member is not in a position to support themselves (see the ECJ case of Yungying Jia v Migrationsverket [2007] ECR 1-000 and the Court of Appeal case of SM (India) [2009] ECWA Civ 1426);
  • (in a specific case of a parent claiming dependency on their child) emotional bonds alone between a parent and young child cannot give rise to a finding that a parent is dependent on his or her child; suggesting that ‘emotional dependency’-alone between two people is not enough to demonstrate dependency (see the ECJ case of Kunqian Catherine Zhu and Man Lavette Chen v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Case C-200/02)). Subsequent to the above case, UKCISA has been advised by a legal expert that emotional dependency may be enough on its own but it would be difficult to provide evidence of such dependency.

European Economic Area (EEA)

The EEA is a larger area than the EU. It is made up of all the countries in the EU plus:

  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway (including Svalbard)

For categories where the residence area includes the EEA, the residence area is made up of all 30 countries in the EEA including the whole of the island of Cyprus (that is, including Northern Cyprus).

For the purposes of FE fees assessment in England, the EEA also includes Switzerland and the overseas territories.

European Union (EU)

You are an EU national if you are a national or citizen of one of the following:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Republic of Cyprus (but not the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus)
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland (including the Aland Islands)
  • France (including the French Overseas Departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana, Reunion and Saint-Martin)
  • Germany (including Heligoland)
  • Greece (The Consular Office of the Greek Embassy in the UK confirmed for us that "anyone who holds a passport / ID card issued by the Greek Government would be a Greek national who is registered with the Greek Municipal Authorities. This would include those whose documentation describes them as Greek nationals of Hellenic descent. Any such person is, therefore, an EU national [...] unless [...] nationality has been revoked in accordance with Greek law".)
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain (including the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Ceuta, and Melilla)
  • Sweden
  • UK (including Gibraltar)

First day of the academic year

This concept is used for fee assessment in: England Higher Education; Wales; and Northern Ireland.

This concept is also used for Student Support assessment in: England; Wales; and Northern Ireland.

If your academic year starts between:

  • 1 August and 31 December inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 September;
  • 1 January and 31 March inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 January;
  • 1 April and 30 June inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 April;
  • 1 July and 31 July inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 July.

Ordinary residence

You are ordinarily resident in the relevant residence area (which depends on the category and its qualifying conditions) if you have habitually, normally and lawfully resided in that area from choice. Temporary absences from the residence area should be ignored and therefore would not stop you being ordinarily resident. It has also previously been successfully argued in the UK courts that an individual can be ordinarily resident in more than one place at the same time; individuals wishing to demonstrate this would have to be living a lawful, normal and habitual residence in each of the areas in question.

If you can demonstrate that you have not been ordinarily resident in the relevant residence area only because you, or a family member, were temporarily working outside the relevant residence area, you will be treated as though you have been ordinarily resident there.

Where a category includes a condition that the main purpose of your residence must not have been to receive full-time education, a useful question to ask is: "if you had not been in full-time education, where would you have been ordinarily resident?". If the answer to this question is "outside the relevant residence area" this would indicate that the main purpose for your residence was full-time education. If the answer is that you would have been resident in the relevant residence area even if you had not been in full-time education, this would indicate that full-time education was not the main purpose for your residence in the relevant area.

See 'Ordinary residence' case law for how the UK courts have debated issues of ordinary residence.

Overseas Territories

'Overseas territories', when not specified as 'British' or 'European', means any of the territories listed here.

British overseas territories

You are a 'British overseas territories' national if you are a national of any of these territories:

  • Anguilla
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • Gibraltar (which only appears in the list of British overseas territories in the Scottish fees and Student Support regulations and not in the lists of overseas territories in the regulations of any of the other countries)
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island and Tristan de Cunha)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

The British Overseas Territories Act 2002 conferred British Citizenship on people who were British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTC) immediately before its commencement (ie, up to, and including, the day before - which was 20 May 2002). Such people would, as British Citizens, and therefore EU nationals, be eligible for consideration for 'home' fees under certain fee regulation categories, provided they also meet any residence requirements for that category.

European overseas territories

You are a 'European overseas territories' national if you are a national of any of these territories:

  • Aruba
  • Faroe Islands
  • French Polynesia
  • French Southern and Antarctic Territories
  • Greenland
  • Mayotte
  • Netherland Antilles (Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten)
  • the Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies
  • St-Barthélemy (St Barth) (but not included in this list for fee assessments, or Student Support applications, made in Scotland)
  • St Pierre et Miquelon
  • Wallis and Futuna Islands

Refugee Status: where someone gains British citizenship

The Immigration Rules revoke someone's Refugee Status once he/she subsequently obtains a new nationality, eg when a refugee gains British citizenship. If you have, or a relevant family member has, Refugee Status and you are, or the person with that status is, considering applying for British (or any other) citizenship, you should be aware that such an application could have an effect on your fees status or your eligibility for Student Support.

Right of permanent residence

What is the 'right of permanent residence'?

EU nationals and their family members acquire the right of permanent residence after a five-year period of uninterrupted lawful residence in the UK. The family members must have lived in the UK with such a person for five years. The UK Government, in implementing these provisions from EU law, extended the right to all qualifying non-EU EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members, as well. However, care needs to be taken when assessing fee status or entitlement to Student Support; the relevant education regulations do not always reflect this extension to non-EU EEA / Swiss nationals and their family members.

Note: The people who can be considered as 'family members', for these purposes, is a wider group than those individuals covered by the definition of 'relevant family members' as listed in each respective country's fees and Student Support regulations.

Any assessor, of fee status or for Student Support, will need to be satisfied that you have the right of permanent residence. If, having acquired the right of permanent residence, you have obtained a permanent residence card from the Home Office, you can show this as evidence. If you are unable to provide this then it may be more difficult for you to satisfy the assessor of your right of permanent residence. However, you should be given the opportunity to provide alternative evidence.

In assessing whether an individual has a right of permanent residence, and in absence of a residence card, it may be reasonable to ask to see evidence that the:

  1. student is a family member of an EEA/Swiss national (eg marriage certificate); and
  2. student's family member is an EEA/Swiss national (eg identity card, valid passport); and
  3. student has lived continuously in the UK for five years as the family member of the EEA/Swiss national; and
  4. EEA/Swiss national has lived in the UK during this time in accordance with EU law. This would include evidence of work, self-employment, studies and/or self-sufficiency (ie sufficient resources for themselves and family members); and
  5. EEA/Swiss national has comprehensive sickness insurance (if self-sufficient or a student).

Relevant date

This concept is used for fee assessment in Scotland.

If your academic year starts between:

  • 1 August and 31 December inclusive, the relevant date is 1 August;
  • 1 January and before 31 March inclusive, the relevant date is 1 January;
  • 1 April and before 30 June inclusive, the relevant date is 1 April;
  • 1 July and 31 July inclusive, the relevant date is 1 July.

Settled

'Settled' means being both ordinarily resident in the UK and without any immigration restriction on the length of your stay in the UK. The regulations refer to immigration law for the definition of 'settled'.

Right of Abode (including those people who have this by virtue of a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode); or Indefinite Leave to Enter/Remain (ILE/R)

If you have the Right of Abode or Indefinite Leave to Enter/Remain (ILE/R), you are considered as settled for the purposes of all four UK countries’ fees and student support regulations.

British citizen

If your passport describes you as a ‘British citizen’, then you also have the Right of Abode and are, therefore, settled for the purposes of all four UK countries’ fees and student support regulations.

Right of permanent residence in the UK

If you have the right of permanent residence in the UK you can be considered as settled; but there are exclusions and you should check each category carefully.

Non-EU EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members, who acquire the right of permanent residence in the UK will do so under the UK Government’s extended implementation of EC law. These people are settled in UK immigration law but will not generally qualify under categories which require settled status, because such categories usually require that the right of permanent residence has been acquired under EC law-only (ie they do not include those provided for by virtue of the UK’s extension to that law).

Scotland's fees and Student Support regulations include people with the right of permanent residence under their definition of ‘settled’.

For England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, in the fees and Student Support regulations, people with the right of permanent residence are covered under their own category. The exception to this is for those non-EU EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family, who have the right of permanent residence under UK law. These people are included where the regulations make reference to being ‘settled’.

Where status is not 'settled'

You do not have settled status if:

  • you have a time limit on the length of your stay in the UK, as shown by your current immigration permission, ie you have a 'limited leave'
  • you are exempt from immigration control, eg you are living in the UK as a diplomat or a member of their household/family
  • you have a type of British passport that does not give you British citizenship, eg British National (Overseas).

UK and Islands

The area of residence described as UK and Islands consists of:

  • England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom, or 'UK'); and
  • Channel Islands and Isle of Man (the 'Islands').

Worker

Worker includes a European Economic Area (EEA) / Swiss national who is:

  • employed; or
  • self-employed; or
  • a frontier worker who is employed or self-employed.

A frontier worker is an EEA/Swiss national who works 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.

What kind of work?
  • The work must be in the UK
  • The work can be full-time or part-time
  • If you give up work to start a course, you should still be treated as a migrant worker if your course of study is related to your job or area of work
  • If you have become involuntarily unemployed (for example, if your post was made redundant, or if your contract ended and was not renewed), you do not have to show that your course of study is related to your previous job. If you lost your job through misconduct, you would not be considered involuntarily unemployed
  • It can be work that you are doing while you are on the course, unless it is ancillary to the course. Ancillary means the work is part of the course or work you were offered only because you have been accepted on a particular course.
  • In order to be considered effective and genuine, the work must be lawful.

Relevant family members – England HE

Note: The definitions of family members in the fees regulations are different from, and more restrictive than, those used in immigration law. For example, the fees regulations only count the specific people listed below as a “relevant family member” of an EU national. Other family members may have the right to come to the UK under EU law, but they are not a “relevant family member” for fees purposes.

EU nationals (including UK nationals)
  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the EU national, or of the EU national's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over and dependent on the EU national or on the EU national's spouse / civil partner
  • additionally, but only where the EU national is not a UK national and is self sufficient, the dependent direct ascendant (eg a dependant parent/grandparent) of the EU national, or of the EU national's spouse / civil partner
EEA Workers
  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the EEA worker, or of the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over and dependent on the EEA worker  or on the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner
  • dependent direct ascendant (eg a parent/grandparent) of the EEA worker, or of the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner
Swiss Workers
  • spouse / civil partner
  • child
Meaning of 'child'

For the purposes of the England fees regulations, the word 'child' is not defined in terms of age (except where stated) or dependency. The regulations state that:

"parent" means a parent, guardian, or any other person having parental responsibility for a child, and "child" shall be construed accordingly.

Government explanation of parental responsibility

Relevant family members – Scotland HE

Note: The definitions of family members in the fees regulations are different from, and more restrictive than, those used in immigration law. For example, the fees regulations only count the specific people listed below as a “relevant family member” of an EU national. Other family members may have the right to come to the UK under EU law, but they are not a “relevant family member” for fees purposes.

  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the principal, or of the principal's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over) dependent on the principal or on the principal’s spouse / civil partner
  • dependent direct ascendant (eg dependent parent/grandparent) of the principal, or of the principal's spouse / civil partner
Meaning of 'child'

For the purposes of the Scotland fees regulations, the word 'child' is not defined in terms of age (except where stated) or dependency. The regulations state that:

"parent" includes a step-parent, a guardian, any other person having parental responsibility for a child and any other person having care of a child, and "child" shall be construed accordingly.

Government explanation of parental responsibility

Relevant family members – Scotland FE

Note: The definitions of family members in the fees regulations are different from, and more restrictive than, those used in immigration law. For example, the fees regulations only count the specific people listed below as a “relevant family member” of an EU national. Other family members may have the right to come to the UK under EU law, but they are not a “relevant family member” for fees purposes.

  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the principal, or of the principal's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over and dependent on the principal or dependent on the principal’s spouse / civil partner
  • dependent direct ascendant (eg dependent parent/grandparent) of the principal, or of the principal's spouse / civil partner

Note: that family members of British Overseas Territories Citizens are not defined in the regulations and the family member relationship is not restricted to spouse / civil partner / descendants / child / etc and can, therefore, be interpreted widely for that category.

Meaning of 'child'

For the purposes of the Scotland fees regulations, the word 'child' is not defined in terms of age (except where stated) or dependency. The regulations state that:

"parent" includes a step-parent, a guardian, any other person having parental responsibility for a child and any other person having care of a child, and "child" shall be construed accordingly.

Government explanation of parental responsibility

Relevant family members – Wales

Note: The definitions of family members in the fees regulations are different from, and more restrictive than, those used in immigration law. For example, the fees regulations only count the specific people listed below as a “relevant family member” of an EU national. Other family members may have the right to come to the UK under EU law, but they are not a “relevant family member” for fees purposes.

EU nationals (including UK nationals)
  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the EU national, or of the EU national's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over and dependent on the EU national or on the EU national's spouse / civil partner
  • additionally, but only where the EU national is not a UK national and is self sufficient, a dependent direct ascendant (eg dependent parent/grandparent) of the EU national, or of the EU national's spouse/civil partner
EEA Workers
  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the EEA worker, or of the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over and dependent on the EEA worker or on the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner
  • dependent direct ascendant (eg parent/grandparent) of the EEA worker, or of the spouse / civil partner or the EEA worker
Swiss Workers
  • spouse or civil partner
  • child
Meaning of 'child'

For the purposes of the Wales fees regulations, the word 'child' is not defined in terms of age (except where stated) or dependency. The regulations state that:

"parent" includes a guardian, any other person having parental responsibility for a child and any person having care of a child, and "child" shall be construed accordingly.

Government explanation of parental responsibility

Relevant family members – Northern Ireland - HE courses at HE institutions

Note: The definitions of family members in the fees regulations are different from, and more restrictive than, those used in immigration law. For example, the fees regulations only count the specific people listed below as a “relevant family member” of an EU national. Other family members may have the right to come to the UK under EU law, but they are not a “relevant family member” for fees purposes.

EU nationals (excluding UK nationals)
  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the EU national, or of the EU national's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over and dependent on the EU national or on the EU national's spouse / civil partner
  • where the EU national is self sufficient, the dependent direct ascendant (eg parent/grandparent) of the EU national, or of the EU national's spouse / civil partner
EEA Workers
  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the EEA worker, or of the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over and dependent on the EEA worker or on the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner
  • dependent direct ascendants (eg parents/grandparent) of the EEA worker or of the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner
Swiss Workers
  • spouse / civil partner
  • child
Meaning of 'child'

For the purposes of the Northern Ireland fees regulations, the word 'child' is not defined in terms of age (except where stated) or dependency. The regulations state that:

"parent" means a parent, guardian, or any other person having parental responsibility for a child, and "child" is to be construed accordingly.

Government explanation of parental responsibility

Relevant family members – Northern Ireland - courses at FE institutions

Note: The definitions of family members in the fees regulations are different from, and more restrictive than, those used in immigration law. For example, the fees regulations only count the specific people listed below as a “relevant family member” of an EU national. Other family members may have the right to come to the UK under EU law, but they are not a “relevant family member” for fees purposes.

EU nationals (including UK nationals)
  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the EU national, or of the EU national's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over and dependent on the EU national or on the EU national's spouse / civil partner
EEA/Swiss Workers
  • spouse / civil partner
  • direct descendant (eg child/grandchild) of the EEA worker, or of the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner, who is:
    • under 21 years old; or
    • 21 or over and dependent on the EEA worker or on the EEA worker's spouse / civil partner
Meaning of 'child'

For the purposes of the Northern Ireland fees regulations, the word 'child' is not defined in terms of age (except where stated) or dependency. The regulations state that:

"parent" means a parent, guardian, or any other person having parental responsibility for a child, and "child" is to be construed accordingly.

Government explanation of parental responsibility

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