For over 25 years, Europe has funded the Erasmus programme, which has enabled over three million European students to spend part of their studies in another higher education institution in Europe. Erasmus+ now opens up these opportunities, allowing for mobility from and to other parts of the world (between the so-called “Programme” and “Partner Countries”, see question 2). This action also supports mobility of staff (teaching or training).
Programme Countries are those countries participating fully in the Erasmus+ programme. To do so, they set up a National Agency and contribute financially to the programme.
The 33 Programme Countries are: the 28 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.
Partner Countries are all the other countries in the world.
Note: For budgetary reasons, international credit mobility is not possible with certain countries/regions (see question 3).
No, not all Partner Countries are eligible for international credit mobility. Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican City State, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are not eligible for international credit mobility.
For 2015, cooperation is not possible with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of countries (ACP), although this will be possible in the 2016 selection onwards.
For a list of eligible Partner Countries/regions, please refer to page 37 of the Erasmus+ Programme Guide.
Yes. In terms of EU budget, the different regions of the world are prioritised, meaning that some regions benefit from bigger budget envelopes and can therefore benefit from more mobilities.
1. The first priority is given to the EU’s neighbourhood regions, both Eastern (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine), and Southern (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia);
2. then comes Asia, including Central Asia;
3. followed by the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia)
4. Latin America (including Cuba);
5. the industrialised Americas (Canada, United States of America) and industrialised Asia, (Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, (Republic of) Korea, Macao, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan);
6. and finally South Africa.
As of the 2016 Erasmus+ Call for Proposals, mobility will also be possible with the rest of the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP).
For each region, the EU has set a number of targets which will need to be achieved at European level during the 7-year period of the Erasmus+ programme:
- With Neighbouring countries (East and South), mobility should be mainly incoming to Europe: no more than 10% of the budget should be used for outgoing mobility to these countries. This does not apply to Russia;
- in Asia and Latin America, 25% of the mobility should be organised with the least developed countries of the region;
- no more than 30% of the budget available for Asia should be spent on mobility with China and India,
- and no more than 35 % available for Latin America on Brazil and Mexico.
These targets have to be attained at EU level and by 2020, not by individual higher education institutions. However, in order to attain these targets, higher education institutions are encouraged to work with partners from less developed countries and regions.
In addition to the targets mentioned in question 5, a few more rules apply:
Outgoing mobility of European students to Asia, Latin America and South Africa cannot be funded by the EU’s external cooperation budget. Outgoing mobility from Europe can therefore only be at doctoral level and for staff. There will however be a few exceptions for students and staff from certain Programme Countries. Please check your National Agency’s website.
Higher education institutions are free to apply for 100% staff mobility or 100% student mobility or anything in between.
In the smaller Programme Countries, where budgets for mobility are limited, there might be specific limitations. Higher education institutions located in Programme Countries are therefore encouraged to check the website of their National Agency to find out if any additional limitations apply.
In general the funds will have to be used in a geographically balanced way. For this reason, higher education institutions are strongly encouraged to work with partners in the poorest and least developed Partner Countries in addition to the large emerging economies.
No, international credit mobility is only possible between a higher education institution established in a Programme Country and a higher education institution established in a Partner Country.
International mobility of students and staff is open to participants from higher education institutions established in Programme and Partner Countries. The application form however can only be filled out and submitted by a higher education institution from a Programme Country on behalf of the partners. The Programme Country higher education institution needs to be holder of the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) and submits the application to its National Agency. See page 36 of the Erasmus+ Programme Guide for more information on eligibility criteria.
The final version of the application form is available since January 2015 on the website of the National Agencies.
Higher education institutions will find technical guidelines to help them complete electronic forms for actions managed by National Agencies under the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/discover/guide/documents/eform-technical-guide_en.pdf
A higher education institution from a Programme Country can only submit one application form for international credit mobility as an individual institution, covering all the Partner Country higher education institutions it intends to work with. However, the Programme Country higher education institution can also apply for international credit mobility as part of a consortium, in which case it is responsible for preventing double funding of the same mobility should the two channels be used simultaneously (see question 50).
Note: There are two different application forms for intra-European mobility and international credit mobility.
Yes, higher education institutions can apply every year and each year the application will be evaluated strictly on its merits.
Yes, the higher education institution from the Programme Country has to identify and name the higher education institutions from the Partner Countries it intends to work with. This is done in the narrative part of the “Quality Questions” of the application form. The higher education institution from the Programme Country will have to explain why the planned mobility project is relevant to the internationalisation strategy of the higher education institution from the Partner Country or what the impact of the project will be on the partner.
The application form will be attached to the grant agreement between the higher education institution from the Programme Country and the National Agency, and will therefore become legally binding.
No, the inter-institutional agreements do not need to be signed at application stage. They need to be signed before the start of the mobility period. However, higher education institutions are encouraged to go through the inter-institutional agreements with their partners to discuss and agree on the conditions of mobility already during the preparation of their application for funding.
Each organisation involved in the application must receive a Participant Identification Code (PIC). Organisations that have already obtained a PIC through their participation in other EU programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020) do not need to register again. The PIC obtained from this previous registration is valid also for applying under Erasmus+.
Higher education institutions from Partner Countries need a PIC as soon as they have been selected, and in any case before the start of the mobility. This PIC has to be communicated to the higher education institution from the Programme Country. The PIC is not needed at the stage of application.
For obtaining a PIC, a higher education institution must register in the Unique Registration Facility (URF) of the European Commission Participant Portal available at:
The higher education institution first needs a login/password for secure access to the URF via the European Commission’s Authentication Service (ECAS). For more details and internet links please consult the Erasmus+ Programme Guide, Part C “Information for Applicants”.
Each higher education institution applies for only one PIC, regardless of the action or the EU programme it applies for (i.e. the PIC used for the Horizon 2020 programme can also be used for participation in Erasmus+ international credit mobility).
There are three possible types of activities (see “Activities’ Details” of the application form):
- Student mobility for studies to/from Partner Countries;
- Staff mobility for teaching to/from Partner Countries;
- Staff mobility for training to/from Partner Countries.
Note: Student mobility for traineeships (work placements) to/from Partner Countries is not foreseen in the 2015 Call.
Yes. Programme Country higher education institutions are free to apply for 100% staff mobility or 100% student mobility or anything in between. However, these choices have to be duly justified in the “Quality Questions” of the application form.
The number of participants is for the total duration of the mobility project (e.g. 16 or 24 months). A project lasting 24 months does not prevent a higher education institution from applying for a new project every year.
Please use the European Commission’s distance calculator to calculate travel distances between the city of origin and the city of destination, available at: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/tools/distance_en.htm
The travel support is a contribution by the European Commission and follows the no-profit and co-financing principles. The top-up amounts for travel are not meant to cover all the costs incurred by the participants, but to support them as best as possible. In some cases it will overestimate travel costs and in other cases, it will underestimate travel costs. The use of unit costs as contribution to travel considerably simplifies, streamlines and reduces administrative costs for all actors. Furthermore, it ensures an appropriate contribution which can be planned and predicted by the beneficiaries.
The application form has to be submitted in one of the official languages of the European Union. Please check your National Agency’s website to see if they request the form to be filled out in a specific language.
Mobility projects and mobility flows
A mobility project consists of all the sets of mobility flows for which a higher education institution from a Programme Country (or several higher education institutions in case of a consortium) requests funding in the application form. The applicant applies for all the sets of mobility flows with different Partner Countries under the same application (see question 27 for a description of the possible mobility flows).
The mobility project must comprise one or more of the following activities:
- Student mobility for studies to/from Partner Countries;
- Staff mobility for teaching to/from Partner Countries;
- Staff mobility for training to/from Partner Countries.
A mobility project can last 16 or 24 months.
Note: Student mobility for traineeships (work placements) is not foreseen in the 2015 Call.
The start date for all mobility projects is 1st June. The duration is 16 or 24 months.
Note: The duration of the project is different from the duration of the activity/ies within a project. The start date and end dates of the activities can vary; the only principle is that the start date and end date of all activities foreseen by the project must fall within the start date and end date of the project (i.e. eligibility period).
No, the duration of the mobility project is not flexible. Page 37 of the Programme Guide specifies that the duration of the project is “16 or 24 months”, not “between 16 and 24 months”.
FAQ January 2015 11
Yes, it is possible to reduce or extend the duration of the mobility project, as long as it is within the fixed options indicated in the Erasmus+ Programme Guide (i.e. changing from 16 to 24 months and vice-versa). However, these changes are subject to an amendment request from the beneficiary and should be authorised by the National Agency.
There are twelve possible mobility flows with Partner Countries: Incoming Out-going
See question 3 for eligible and ineligible countries.
Furthermore, out-going student mobility to Latin America, Asia, Central Asia and South Africa is limited to PhD candidates (i.e. 3rd cycle studies). There are no restrictions regarding incoming mobility from those countries/regions. Higher education institutions from Programme Countries who apply for excluded mobility flows will see the ineligible flows rejected (but not the whole application).
Note: In some Programme Countries, outgoing mobility of short, 1st and 2nd cycle students to the above-mentioned regions/countries will be possible. Please consult your National Agency’s website.
The start date of the mobility period is the first day the student is present at the receiving institution. For example, this could be the start date of the first course/first day at work, a welcoming event organised by the receiving institution, or language and intercultural courses; this may include attending language courses organised or provided by other organisations than the receiving institution if the sending institution considers it as a relevant part of the mobility period abroad.
The end date of the mobility period is the last day the student is present at the receiving institution and not the actual date of departure. This is, for example, the end of exams period, courses or mandatory sitting period.
Yes, Erasmus+ enables students to study or train abroad more than once as Erasmus students as long as the minimum duration for each activity (e.g. 3 months for studies) and a total maximum of 12 months per study cycle is respected. However, higher education institutions could give lower priority to students who have already benefited from a mobility period in the same study cycle (under the LLP-Erasmus programme, Erasmus Mundus or Erasmus+).
Note: Students who follow long cycle or one-cycle study programmes, such as Medicine, can be mobile for up to 24 months during their studies.
The selection of students – as well as the procedure for awarding them a grant – must be fair, transparent, coherent and documented, and shall be made available to all parties involved in the selection process. Possible selection criteria are the academic performance of the candidate, previous mobility experience, motivation, experience in the receiving country (i.e. return to country of origin) etc.
In case of international credit mobility, the first criterion for selecting students must be academic merit, but with equivalent academic level, preference should be assigned to students from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
The budget for international mobility is limited and competition is expected to be high. The higher education institutions in Programme Countries will therefore be asked to answer four questions for every set of mobility flows with a given Partner Country. This is done in the “Quality Questions” of the application form. Experts will then assess each set of mobility flows according to the following criteria:
- Relevance of the strategy (max. 30 points)
- Quality of the cooperation arrangements (max. 30 points)
- Quality of the activity design and implementation (max. 20 points)
- Impact and dissemination (max. 20 points)
To be considered for funding, proposals must score at least 70 points. Furthermore, they must score a minimum of 50% for each criterion (e.g. 15 points for “relevance of the strategy”).
One or more experts will assess each mobility project, looking at four quality questions (see question 32) for each set of mobility flows with a given Partner Country. Only the best sets of mobility flows will be selected for funding.
Please see page 40 of the Erasmus+ Programme Guide for more information on award criteria.
Yes. The application form containing the description of the project will be annexed to the grant agreement between the National Agency and the higher education institution from the Programme Country and is therefore legally binding.
Yes, but only upon approval of the National Agency. In addition, the new higher education institution has to be established in the same Partner Country, since the quality assessment and subsequent selection of projects are based on the answers given in relation to a specific Partner Country. The Programme Country higher education institution has to sign an inter-institutional agreement with the new partner.
Higher education institutions from Programme Countries have to apply to their National Agency for an amendment, and explain how working with this new partner is still in line with the application that was funded.
If the National Agency agrees to the amendment, it will be granted via an exchange of letters. The National Agency may refuse the request on the grounds that it substantially alters the intent of the original proposal which was selected for funding. In this case no amendment is granted.
The higher education institution from the Programme Country must request an amendment of the grant agreement to its National Agency before the exchange of participants with the Partner Country institution starts.
National Agencies will monitor, during the implementation of the project and before the end of the grant agreement (16 or 24 months), if the Partner Country higher education institutions mentioned in the Mobility Tool+ are the same as those originally mentioned in the application form.
If the amendment is not done before the end of the grant agreement, the funds associated with the new Partner higher education institutions are forfeit.
The inter-institutional agreement is a document that contains the principles of the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE), to which higher education institutions from Partner Countries adhere, as they do not hold an ECHE. The template for the inter-institutional agreement can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/education/opportunities/higher-education/quality-framework_en.htm#inter-institutional_agreements
Inter-institutional agreements need to be signed before the start of the mobility period and higher education institutions are strongly encouraged to discuss the content of the agreements already at the time of application. Inter-institutional agreements need to be available during monitoring visits.
The main principle is that each mobility flow between higher education institutions, whatever their location (in a Programme or in a Partner Country), must be covered by an inter-institutional agreement.
If the mobility flows are organised between a Programme Country higher education institution (or a consortium) and several higher education institutions located in the same Partner Country (i.e. an Italian university and two Moroccan ones), the parties involved are free to sign a bilateral inter-institutional agreement or a multilateral one, as long as the minimum requirements set in the agreement template are fulfilled (see question 39).
Only central university authorities (i.e. the legal representative as defined in the Participant Identification Code (PIC)) can officially apply for international credit mobility and sign related documents, not individual faculties.
Yes, higher education institutions from Partner Countries have to use ECTS or equivalent mechanisms. It is essential that mobility periods are recognised by both parties, as stipulated in the inter-institutional agreement and in the learning agreement.
The higher education institution from the Programme Country will be responsible for managing the funds allocated by the National Agency. To do so, it will sign a grant agreement with the National Agency and a grant agreement with the participant (for student/staff mobility), regardless if incoming or out-going. The higher education institution from the Programme Country manages all the expenses related to the mobility.
The higher education institution from the Programme Country receives the organisational support on behalf of the partnership. The organisational support should be shared by the partners concerned on a mutually acceptable basis decided upon by the participating institutions and preferably set in the inter-institutional agreement.
As explained on page 44 of the Erasmus+ Programme Guide, the organisational support is a contribution to any cost incurred by the institutions in relation to activities in support of student and staff mobility, to ensure the full implementation of the principles of the ECHE. The first example provided are organisational arrangements with partner institutions, including visits to potential partners, to agree on the terms of the inter-institutional agreements for the selection, preparation, reception and integration of mobile participants; and to keep these inter-institutional agreements updated.
For students: Within 30 calendar days following the signature of the grant agreement by the student and the higher education institution from the Programme Country, and no later than the start date of the mobility period, or upon receipt of the confirmation of arrival.
For staff: Within 30 calendar days following the signature of the agreement by both parties, and no later than the start date of the mobility period.
The modalities for payment will be laid down in the grant agreement between the higher education institution and the student/staff.
In international credit mobility, it is not possible for higher education institutions to split the duration of the mobility into a period covered by a grant and a period covered by a “zero-grant” (i.e. a student going on mobility without receiving an Erasmus mobility grant). The individual support, as decided prior to the start of the mobility, has to remain the same throughout the whole duration of the mobility.
A student can however decide to extend his/her mobility period under the zero-grant status once the original mobility period has or is about to expire, if both sending and receiving institutions agree. The Grant Agreement and the Learning Agreement will have to be amended accordingly.
No. The amounts of the individual support (i.e. monthly allowance for students and per diem for staff) and travel support (i.e. top-up amounts to cover travel costs from/to Partner Countries) are fixed (see pages 48 and 50 of the Erasmus+ Programme Guide for detailed amounts). They remain fixed for the whole duration of the mobility and a percentage cannot be applied.
Students and staff may receive, besides the EU-grant or in replacement of the EU-grant (in case of zero-EU grant mobile participants) a national, regional and/or local grant provided by a public or private donor. This type of grant provided by other sources of funding than the EU budget is not subject to the amounts and min/max ranges set out in the Erasmus+ Programme Guide.
The top-up grant has to be written down in a separate grant agreement (outside of the Erasmus+ grant agreement between the Programme Country higher education institution and the participant).
According to the Erasmus+ Programme Guide, a higher education institution may apply for grants via two different channels: either i) directly to the National Agency as an individual higher education institution, or ii) via a consortium of which it is a member. The higher education institution is responsible for preventing double funding of a participant when the two channels are used simultaneously, i.e. it cannot finance the same mobility twice.
No. The single application form for the accreditation of higher education mobility consortia takes into account both intra-EU and international activities. It can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/discover/guide/2015/documents/accreditation-higher-education-mobility_en.pdf
If a new partner is added to a consortium, the request for amendment should be sent to the National Agency. The National Agency assesses the implications of this change on the consortium, checks if the eligibility criteria are fulfilled etc. If this does not have an impact on the overall scope and quality of the consortium, there is no need for a new accreditation.
In order to have a mobility project running, a national mobility consortium needs to have submitted two successful applications: one for the accreditation (multiannual – valid for 3 years) and one for the funding (annual).
The accreditation form goes into detail about the objectives and added value of the consortium, the foreseen mobility activity types, the management etc. If a consortium later on decides to deviate from what is explained in this accreditation form, the National Agency will ask the consortium to update the accreditation form by editing the relevant parts. This does not require a new application for accreditation – the National Agency can decide that a request for an amendment (e.g. via email) is sufficient. Only if the National Agency considers the changes to be so radical that the overall scope and quality of the consortium is at risk, will it ask for a new application for accreditation.
The accreditation form explicitly asks the consortium to specify if mobility to/from Partner Countries is foreseen (section: Description of the Consortium). If a consortium has received accreditation in 2014 without mentioning its intentions to organise mobility activities to/from Partner Countries in the accreditation form, but would like to apply for funding in 2015, the National Agency will ask for an update as described above.
Like other applicants, the consortium will be required to submit a detailed proposal for their mobility project with Partner Countries.
Teaching assignments can come in various forms and take place as seminars, lectures and tutorials, for example. Actual teaching in this context should require the teacher to be physically present with the students.
Although e-mail tutoring or any other forms of distance learning as well as preparation are highly encouraged, they do not count in the minimum number of 8 hours of teaching.
Apart from this, higher education institutions have the flexibility to judge themselves which types of teaching should be funded by assessing the added value of the content proposed in the mobility agreement in terms of quality and impact on their internationalisation and modernisation strategy.
The minimum number of teaching hours for an incomplete week, if the mobility lasts longer than one week, should be proportional to the duration of that week. For instance, if a teacher stays at a receiving institution for one week + 2 days, he/she should teach for 8 hours + approximately 3 hours, which gives 11 hours in total.
No. The OLS will not be applicable for international mobility (neither incoming nor out-going) in the 2015 Call.
This is up to the higher education institutions to decide. Additional courses cannot be obligatory and should not take precedence over the courses counting towards the student’s degree. Recognition of ECTS credits or similar is not compulsory for those additional courses, unless otherwise agreed. However, the courses should be registered in an annex to the Learning Agreement so that the student, the sending and the receiving institution confirm before the mobility that those courses will be taken but will not count towards the degree, even if they are successfully completed by the student. When they sign their inter-institutional agreements, the higher education institutions decide which subject areas are open to mobilities. Ultimately, when the individual learning agreements are signed, the three parties decide which courses can be taken abroad and how they will be recognised.
No, a higher education institution from a Programme Country will not lose its Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) if the higher education institution from a Partner Country does not fulfil its obligations (e.g. recognise the mobility of its students/staff). However, the issue of recognition is an important point in the selection procedure and is covered under point 3: Quality of project design and implementation of the application form.
It is up to the higher education institution from the Partner Country to decide what the needs are in terms of insurance, which vary from country to country. The European Commission does not provide any central insurance scheme.
The Programme Country higher education institution is responsible for reporting all the mobility flows in the Mobility Tool+, as it is the institution that manages the funds on behalf of the partnership.
Yes, in order to report on their mobility period students from Partner Countries need to fill out the participant report through the EU-survey tool. The payment of the grant follows the same rules as for intra-European mobility.
No, the Erasmus+ programme does not fund mobilities between branch campuses of the same higher education institution, regardless of where they are located (in Europe or beyond).
However, participants from branch campuses are eligible for international credit mobility as long as they respect the following two criteria: They cannot carry out mobility activities
(1) in the country of the sending institution, or
(2) in the country where they have their accommodation during their studies (see p.38 of the Erasmus+ Programme Guide).
These conditions apply to all Erasmus+ participants. In the case of branch campuses, the country of the sending institution is the country where the parent institution is located. The country of accommodation would (in most cases) be the country where the branch campus is located.