Northern Ireland: fee status

Last modified: 06 December 2021

Before you look at this page, you should read our introductory information about 'Home' and 'Overseas' fees and find out if your course is higher education (HE) or further education (FE).

On this page special definitions are used for some words. They don't have the meanings used in everyday life, because they are the definitions used in regulations. Look at the Definitions section (at the bottom of this page) to find out about them.


Higher education (HE) courses at HE institutions

Last modified: 06 December 2021

Higher education (HE) courses include HNC and HND courses, undergraduate degrees (for example, BA, BSc, BEd), and postgraduate degrees (for example, MA, MSc, PhD). 


If you are going to start your course on or after 1 August 2021:

If you are going to start your higher education course on or after 1 August 2021, there is a special pdf guide for you, which you should read instead of this page. The only reason you should carry on looking at this page is if you think you will fit one of the following categories, in which case you should open up that category on this page:

  • Long residence in the UK (7 years minimum)
  • Refugee and family
  • Humanitarian protection and family
  • Stateless leave and family
  • Section 67 leave
  • Calais leave
  • Bereaved partner
  • Domestic violence or domestic abuse
  • Discretionary leave and family

The pdf guide you should read if you are going to start your higher education course on or after 1 August 2021 (and you do not fit one of the categories listed above) is here: 

        pdf guide 'Who pays 'home' fees for higher education in Northern Ireland?'

The pdf guide has been produced because particularly big changes are being made to all the categories except the ones listed above.

If you will start your course before 1 August 2021:

If you will start your course before 1 August 2021, you can carry on reading this web page.

The rules about who pays ‘home’ fees for higher education courses in Northern Ireland are set by the Northern Ireland Assembly (they are not set by UKCISA). They are set out in the following regulations:

The regulations identify all the different ‘categories’ of student who can insist on paying the ‘home’ rate of fee. They set out all the requirements you need to meet, to fit one those categories.

The requirements for each category are explained below. If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the ‘home’ fee rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into (if you fit more than one, that is not a problem).

In some categories in Northern Ireland, some students pay a higher rate of ‘home’ fee than others (for example, it might be £9,250 instead of £4,530 for an undergraduate course). If this applies to a category you are looking at, you will find information about it towards the end of the category. It is not true of all categories.

1. 'Settled' in the UK

2. 'Settled' in the UK and have exercised a 'right of residence'

3. EU nationals (or British Citizens), and family

4. ‘EU Nationals in the UK’

5. Those with the ‘right of permanent residence’ in the UK

6a. EEA/Swiss workers, and family

6b. Child of a former EEA migrant worker

7. Child of a Swiss National

8. Child of a Turkish worker

9. Refugees, and family

10. Those granted humanitarian protection, and family

11. Those granted stateless leave, and family

12. Long Residence

13. Those with section 67 leave

14. Person granted indefinite leave as a victim of domestic violence or abuse

15. Persons granted Calais leave to remain

16. Those with indefinite leave as a bereaved partner

17. Those with discretionary leave, and family

Courses at further education (FE) institutions

Last modified: 13 February 2018

This information only applies to fee status decisions being made for the 2020/21 academic year. It does not reflect the fees regulations for students commencing study in autumn 2021 or later. We are expecting the fees regulations to be amended for autumn 2021 onwards and we understand this will affect many (although not all) of the categories below, especially the EU-related ones. For what is known for students commencing study in autumn 2021, see Brexit - fees and Student Support.

This information explains the conditions you need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the 'home' rate if you are studying any course at a FE institution in Northern Ireland. This includes courses of higher education (HE) as well as courses of further education (FE). This information is based on circulars published by Northern Ireland's Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI), which are, in turn, underpinned by regulations. Combining the circulars with the legislation results in a number of categories of student who are eligible for 'home' fees.

1. Those who are 'settled' in the UK and meet the main residence requirements

2. EU nationals, and family

3. EEA/Swiss workers, and family

4. Child of a Swiss National

5. Child of a Turkish worker

6. Refugees, and family

7. ‘Person with leave to enter or remain’, and their family

8. Asylum seekers and Syrian (VPRS) refugees, and family

Definitions: for fee status assessment

Last modified: 08 August 2021

This section has explanations about words and terms which occur in our information, above. These explanations should not be read in isolation but, instead, combined with the appropriate fee status category.


European Economic Area (EEA)

European Union (EU)

First day of the academic year

Ordinary residence

Overseas Territories


UK and Islands

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

Meaning of 'child'


7 August 2021
Changes throughout to reflect widespread changes to categories from 1 August 2021.

8 August 2021
Link to pdf guide 'Who pays 'home' fees for higher education in Northern Ireland?' added.

6 December 2021
Version 2 of pdf guide (6 December 2021) uploaded, to replace version 1 (8 August 2021).