Study Ireland FAQ
If you are from outside the EEA, you will firstly have to establish if you are required to obtain a visa before travelling to Ireland. A list of countries whose citizens do not require visas (Schedule 1) is available on the websites of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). For all other countries, a visa will be required.
What do I need to do if I am a student from a non-visa required country?
You should bring your acceptance letter from your school or university. You may need to show this at immigration at your point of entry in Ireland. You will also need to register soon after arrival in Ireland if staying for more than 90 days.
What if I am a student from a visa required country?
You must apply for your student visa before you come to Ireland. Online visa application is now required. Completing the form through the Internet generates a unique reference number which can also be used to track the application. At the end of the online application, you will receive a summary of the supporting documentation required, the fee payable and where it should be submitted to (often the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate).
Online application has been extended during 2009 so that all countries should now appear on the supported countries list. However, if your country is not listed, you should contact your nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate for advice. If there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence, or in case of difficulty, you may also contact the Visa Section at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) – +353 1 6167700 or email@example.com
What documents will be required to support my visa application?
You should refer to the full INIS guidelines on Student Visas and any information provided when you apply online.
The following information summarises some of the key requirements.
- A letter of acceptance from a recognised college or university confirming that you have been accepted on a full-time course of study (at least 15 hours per week). English Language Schools are recognised by Advisory Council for English Language Schools (ACELS) and all other colleges are recognised by the Department of Education and Science
- Evidence that full fees have been paid (although it is not expected that you pay more than EUR 7,000 before visa approval).
- Evidence that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while studying in Ireland. As a student you will not have recourse to State funds and the Irish government requires that you be able to show that you – or your sponsor – have immediate access to at least EUR 7,000, the estimated cost of living in Ireland for a student for one academic year – for each year of your course.
- Evidence of private medical insurance for courses of less than 1 year. (Non-EU students who will be resident in Ireland for a minimum of one year are eligible for public hospital treatment under the same conditions as an Irish citizen)
- A passport valid for at least 6 months after the completion of your course
IMPORTANT!! When applying for your student entry visa, you will need to show that you have sufficient funds to cover the entire period of your course, without having to rely on income from a part-time job.
All applicants for student visas (other than English Language courses) must also have undertaken an English language exam.
The following English Language exams are recognised by the Department of Justice:
- Cambridge certificate in English
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- Test of Interactive English (TIE)
- or equivalent
Do I need to register when I arrive?
If you are a citizen of a non-EU/EAA country and will be staying in Ireland to study for more than 90 days, you will have to register at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) soon after you arrive in Ireland. You will need to bring the following:
- Your Passport
- Your Student ID card (your university or college will provide you with one when you register as a full-time student)
- A letter from the Registrar’s office of your school/university stating that you are a registered student and stating the start date and completion date of your course
- A bank statement showing that you have EUR 1,000 or more in your bank account
- A EUR 150 fee (credit/debit card or bank giro available at INIS offices – no cash accepted)
Visit the GNIB section of the Garda website for up-to-date information on opening times, office locations and methods of payment.
What do I do about my visa if I want to leave for a short while?
The visa issued to you allows you to enter the Republic of Ireland once. If you want to leave for a short while and then return – including visiting Northern Ireland – you must apply for a re-entry visa before making travel plans. Online application is not possible – you must print and complete an application form and provide supporting documentation (by post or in person). A single entry visa costs EUR 60; a multi entry visa costs EUR 100 (with some exemptions for family members of EEA/Swiss nationals). Payment is accepted by bank draft or postal order only – payable to The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. When applying, you should follow the INIS guidelines for re-entry visas and all instructions on the application form.
The INIS office at 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 is open for visa processing from 8.30am-2.30pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).
My student visa is due to expire. How do I renew it?
You will need to provide the GNIB with a 6 month working bank statement showing funds of EUR 1,000 or more (this is to show that your bank account has been active in the previous 6 months). You will also have to pay a fee of EUR 100.
If your college records show that you have less than 85% attendance at in your course you will only be granted a 3 month extension on your visa. This extension is provided in order to give you the chance to get your attendance above 85%. If you manage to do this successfully you will be granted a visa for the remainder of the academic year. If this is the case you will have to pay another EUR 100 at this stage.
Where can I get further information?
More information is available from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service www.inis.gov.ie