If you are planning to study in Ireland for 3 months or more you may need to apply for a student visa prior to your arrival, depending on your nationality.
A list of countries which require an entry visa for Ireland (“visa required countries“) can be found here.
Visa required nationals will need to apply for a student visa prior to their arrival in Ireland. Non-EEA Nationals who are not visa required (i.e., do not need an entry visa, such as Brazilians and Mexicans), do not need to apply for a student visa prior to arrival. Instead, they must register as students with their local immigration office within the first 90 days of their arrival.
If you would like your visa on time, you should probably apply at least 8 weeks before you intend to travel. If you are a citizen of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) you do not need a student visa to study in Ireland.
When making an application, if you are a visa required national, you must:
- Complete the online application form
- Check the Irish Embassy details where your documentation is to be sent
- Provide a passport sized photo
- Ensure your passport is valid for 12 months
- Pay the application fee
- Provide a signed letter of application which explains why you require the visa
- A Letter of Acceptance from the Irish university, college or school, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time education, involving a minimum of 15 hours of organised daytime tuition each week.
This letter must name you (the applicant) and verify the title/duration of the course. It should also confirm the amount of fees payable for your course, and that this amount has been paid. If the college has taken out medical insurance on your behalf, details of this must be contained in this letter of acceptance. If it is not arranged by the college, you must organise this yourself and provide evidence with your application.
EEA nationals are exempt from the Immigration Acts, and therefore do not need to produce any documentation relating to study/work etc. All that is required is the production of an identity document, such as a passport. Once this is completed, they must be given entry. EU citizens do not receive any immigration stamps and are not required to register with the INIS.
Outside the EU/EEA but Non-VISA Required
When you enter the State you will be issued with an Irish Residence Permit (Previously known as an GNIB Card). The IRP is a Certificate of Registration that is required for those who are non-EAA nationals and are planning to study in Ireland for more than 90 days. If you fall into this category, you must register once you are in the country and will be given the certificate and a student stamp in your passport. The IRP will cost 300 euros and paid at your local immigration registration office. To attain the certificate and stamp, you must be able to provide the following information:
- Your passport
- Your medical insurance policy
- An acceptance letter outlining the offer for full-time study from an educational institution
- A letter stating that you have paid your fees (or at least half that years fees, depending on the course of study, such as a Master’s Degree)
- Your student ID card (if you have one)
- Proof that you have at least 3,000 euros in an Irish bank account (or 500 euros per month if you are staying for shorter periods than 6 months) OR a bank statement from your home country showing that you can access the same amount
Apply for a Work Permit in Ireland
EU and EEA students are allowed to work in Ireland without any restrictions, whether they take up full-time or part-time work.
Work Entitlements of Non-EEA Students:
Non-EEA/EU students can only work full-time during the months of June, July, August and September and from 15 December to 15 January inclusive. Part-time work may be undertaken outside of these periods.
Enjoy your Stay!
The visa process can be quite a stressful and complex process. You can take comfort in the fact that the process is nowhere near as stressful as the next few years of study will be, particularly the Christmas and summer exams, enjoy them while you can. Oh, and welcome to Ireland.
Hope this helps and remember – Always read the fine print.