In principle any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, can participate in Horizon 2020. Depending on the procedure for participation, applicants from third countries are divided into two groups:
- Automatically eligible for funding - the associated countries and the countries explicitly listed as being automatically eligible
- Not automatically eligible for funding - though they may still be funded in exceptional cases.
The conditions of particular work programmes may restrict the participation in Horizon 2020, or parts thereof, of legal entities established in third countries where conditions for the participation of legal entities from Member States, or of their affiliated entities established in a third country, in the third country's research and innovation programmes are considered to be prejudicial to the European Union's interests (Article 7.2 of the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation).
Furthermore, some calls for proposals could require participation of legal entities established in third countries in order to be eligible.