Nationality and residency requirements for EMA

To be eligible for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in Northern Ireland, you must meet the residence and nationality rules set out for the scheme. Find out what evidence you will need to send for your specific circumstances.

Qualifying for EMA

If you are a UK national living in Northern Ireland and meet all other eligibility criteria, you will normally be eligible for EMA.

If you are not a UK national you may still be eligible to apply for EMA if:

  • you are a Republic of Ireland (RoI) national*
  • you have ‘Settled Status’ in the UK*
  • you or a family member have been granted ‘Leave to Enter or Remain for Humanitarian Protection’ or ‘Discretionary Leave’
  • you or a family member have ‘Refugee status in the UK’ or European Union (EU) temporary protection status’ in the UK
  • you are an EU national
  • you are the child of a Turkish national who is working or has worked in the UK**
  • you are the child of a Swiss national*
  • you or a family member are an EEA or Swiss national who is working/ has worked or is looking for work in the UK***

In addition to one of the above, to be eligible for EMA, you must be resident in Northern Ireland on the first day of your course, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years before the first day of your course.

*RoI nationals, those with ‘Settled Status’ in the UK, and children of a Swiss national may be eligible for EMA if they are resident in Northern Ireland on the first day of their course, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK, EU/EEA or Switzerland for three years before the first day of their course.

**Children of a Turkish national who is working or has worked in the UK may be eligible for EMA if they are resident in Northern Ireland on the first day of their course, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK, EU/EEA or Turkey for three years before the first day of their course.

***Family members of an EEA or Swiss national who is working/ has worked or is looking for work in the UK may be eligible for EMA if they are resident in Northern Ireland on the first day of their course, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK/EEA, Turkey or Switzerland for three years before the first day of their course.

You will not be eligible for EMA if you are an asylum seeker.

If you have any concerns about your nationality and residency eligibility, you can discuss these with the EMA Customer Services Team. 

Evidence of nationality and residency

The information below highlights what evidence of your nationality and residence you will need to send.  

If you have a UK passport, you can provide your passport number. Otherwise, you need to send original documents. These will be returned to you as soon as possible.

However, a passport won't be accepted as evidence of your nationality if it expires before your application form is received.

  • Your current status
  • Evidence needed
  • You are a UK or ROI national

If you hold a valid UK passport, enter these details on the application form. This means you don't need to send your passport.

If you don't hold a valid UK passport, you need to send either:

  • your birth certificate or
  • your valid ROI passport
  • You have 'Settled Status' in the UK
  • your Biometric Residence Permit or
  • your Home Office letter and your immigration status document
  • You or a family member have been granted 'Leave to Enter or Remain for Humanitarian Protection' or 'Discretionary Leave'

 

If this status applies to you:

  • your Biometric Residence Permit or
  • your Home Office letter and your immigration status document

If this status applies to your family member:

  • proof of your relationship to the family member dated the same time as their application to the Home Office
  • You or a family member have 'Refugee Status in the UK' or 'EU Temporary Protection Status' in the UK

If this status applies to you:

  • your Biometric Residence Permit or
  • your Home Office letter and your immigration status document

If this status applies to your family member:

  • proof of your relationship to the family member dated the same time as their application to the Home Office
  • You are an EU national

 

  • your valid passport or
  • your National Identity card
  • evidence to show you have been resident in the UK for the past three years, such as:

    • a letter from your school or college

    • utility bills

    • your household's Tax Credit A ward Notification

    • that lists each young person

    • original paper bank statements

    • your rates bill

  • You are the child (or step-child) of a Turkish national who is working or has worked in the UK
  • your valid passport or your National Identity card
  • your parent's valid passport or National Identity card
  • proof of your relationship with your parent
  • your parent's P60, P45, a letter from their employer on headed paper, their audited accounts, tax returns or details of their income
  • You are the Child of a Swiss national
  • your valid passport, National Identity card or birth certificate
  • your Swiss national parent's valid passport or National Identity card
  • a signed letter to confirm your Swiss national parent is/was living in the UK on the first day of the academic year
  • your parent's latest bank statement or payslip showing home address; alternatively your parent's tenancy agreement, mortgage statement or utility bill; or local council or government department correspondence on headed paper
  • You or a family member are an EEA or Swiss national who is working/ has worked or is looking for work in the UK

If this status applies to you:

  • your valid passport, National Identity card or Permanent Residency Card (EEA only)
  • your P60, P45, a letter from your employer on headed paper, your audited accounts, your tax return,  details of your income or proof that you are actively seeking employment in the UK

If this status applies to your family member:

  • their valid passport, or National Identity card and proof of your relationship
  • their P60, P45, a letter from their employer on headed paper, their audited accounts, their tax return,  details of their income or proof that they are actively seeking employment in the UK
  • You or a family member have been granted 'Leave to remain as a stateless person'

If this status applies to you:

  • your Biometric Residence Permit or

  • your Home Office letter and your immigration status document

If this status applies to your family member:

  • proof of your relationship to the family member dated the same time as their application to the Home Office

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