Visa & Immigration
Studying in Ireland
Citizens of the EU, The European Economic Area, and Switzerland can freely enter and study in Ireland and other member states without needing a special visa. However, if you are a citizen of a non-member country, you will require a visa.
Citizens of select countries are exempted from any visa requirements. The list of countries that are exempt from visa requirements can be viewed on the websites of the Department of Foreign Affairs or the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). However, citizens from all other countries require a valid visa to enter Ireland.
Applicants from Non-Visa Required Countries:
For non-visa required countries, students need an acceptance letter from the school or university they wish to attend. This letter will be required at the immigration desk at the point of entry, and if you are staying in Ireland for more than 90 days, you will need to register yourself with the immigration authorities.
Applicants from Visa Required Countries:
In this scenario, you must first apply for a student visa through the Online Visa Application available on the INIS website. Once the application is submitted, you will be issued a unique reference number that you can use to track it. The online application will display a list of the documentation required, the applicable fees, and the details of the closest Irish Embassy or Consulate for their submission.
The list of documentation required can vary by country, so you should refer to the list provided during the online application, as well as the INIS guidelines on Student Visas.
However, the following documents are usually required:
- An acceptance letter from a recognized educational institution in Ireland, stating the full-time (15 hours a week) study program you are registered for
- Evidence of fees payment, up to €7,000
- Evidence of maintenance funds to ensure you won’t need support, and that your sponsor has immediate access to €7,000 to support your cost of living in Ireland for one academic year, and for each recurring year of your course
- Private medical insurance for students in Ireland for courses shorter than 1 year. For longer courses, students will be eligible for treatment in public hospitals like Irish citizens
- A passport valid for at least 6 months after the completion of your course
English Language Proficiency:
Aside from visa applicants registering for English Language courses, all overseas students must have undertaken one of the following English Language tests:
- 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)
Student Visa Registration:
All overseas students with a visa must register at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) once they arrive in Ireland, if they are registered for a course longer than 90 days. The requirements of the registration are as under:
- Your Passport
- Your Student ID card, as provided by your educational institute
- A letter from your institute’s registrar’s office that mentions what course you are registered for, and its starting and ending dates
- A bank statement showing that you have at least €1,000 in your account
- A credit/debit card or bank giro/check to pay the €150 fee
Student Visa Extensions
Student visas can be extended for up to one more year, but you will need to provide a 6-month bank statement showing activity, as well as at least €1,000 in funds. You will also have to pay a €100 fee for the extension.
If your college attendance is less than 85%, you will be granted a 3-month extension to improve your attendance records. If you can improve your attendance to over 85% in this time, your visa will be extended for the remainder of the academic year, at which point you will be charged another €100 fee.