Ireland visa information
Before you travel
1. Do I need a visa to study in Ireland?
- Students from the EU/EEA do not require a student visa to study in Ireland.
- Students from a country not listed below require a visa prior to arrival.
|Andorra||Antigua and Barbuda||Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Argentina||Australia||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Hong Kong (SAR)*||Iceland||Samoa|
|Liechtenstein||Macao (SAR)||South Korea|
|Maldives||Mauritius||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Mexico||Monaco||United States of America|
*Students from Hong Kong should consult the website of the Irish Naturalization and Immigration website for full details
- Students who do not require an entry visa to enter Ireland (that is, if they are an EU/EEA national or from a country listed above) do not need to apply for a student visa before traveling, but should still have all documentation relating to their studies on their person when coming through immigration. In other words, they should carry their offer letter and receipt from the school ready for inspection at immigration. Later they must bring this documentation to the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) when they receive their visa locally.
2. How do I apply for a Student Visa before coming to Ireland?
- Since early 2008, application for visas from supported countries can be made online at: https://www.visas.inis.gov.ie/avats. This website also contains comprehensive guide to completing a visa application in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Turkish and Urdu. The list of supported countries is growing but by November 2008 included:
|Antigua and Barbuda||Djibouti||Japan||Russia Federation|
|Argentina||Dominica||Jordan||Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Armenia||Dominican Republic||Kazakhstan||Saint Lucia|
|Austria||Ecuador||Kiribati||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Bangladesh||Equatorial Guinea||Lebanon||Sao Tome and Principe|
|Belarus||Falkland Islands (Malvinas)||Liechtenstein||Seychelles|
|Belize||Faroe Islands||Luxembourg||Sierra Leone|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Gambia||Malta||Sudan|
|Cameroon||Great Britain and Northern Ireland**||Micronesia||Syrian Arab Republic|
|Central African Republic||Guyana||Montserrat||Tuvalu|
|Chile||Honduras||Nauru||Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Comoros||Hong Kong (SAR)||The Netherlands||Ukraine|
|Congo (Brazzaville)||Iceland||Antilles||United States of America|
|Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||India||Nepal||Minor Outlying Islands of Uruguay|
|Czech Republic|| ||Nigeria||Virgin Islands (British)|
| || ||Norway||Virgin Islands (U.S.)|
| || ||Palau||Yemen|
| || ||Paraguay|| |
| || ||People's Republic of China|| |
| || ||Pitcairn|| |
| || ||Poland|| |
| || ||Portugal|| |
- Applications forms from unsupported countries can be downloaded from the following link New Visa Application Form and sent to the Irish embassy or consulate in or accredited to the country in which you normally live.
- If there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in your country, send your visa application to your nearest Irish embassy or consulate or to the Visa Office, Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.
3. The application
- The following information outlines the minimum documentation you must submit with your application. Please read carefully.
- The Application Form should be submitted along with ALL supporting documentation. Original documents are required and must be in ENGLISH or accompanied by a notarised translation of same. All documents must be clearly legible. The Visa Officer will need to easily identify what they are and to whom they refer.
- From the 14th July, 2008, all student visa applications should contain a copy of an Electronic Transfer of Funds from the applicant to the bank of the college, showing details of beneficiary's name, address, bank details and the same details for sender. The GNIB expects that the fees would be returned if the visa is refused.
- Any unsigned declarations, false information, forged or fraudulent documentation will result in the refusal of your application and no appeal will be permitted.
- The onus is on you, the applicant, to satisfy the Visa Officer that a visa should be granted.
- The granting of a Student Visa does not entitle you to have any person, whether related to you or not, to join or visit you in Ireland.
- In applying for a Student Visa you must be able to show that:
- You are enrolled on a privately funded course involving at least 15 hours of organised daytime tuition each week
- You have paid the full fees to the college
- You have immediate access to at least €7,000. This is the estimated cost of living in Ireland for a student for one academic year.
- You must also demonstrate that you or your sponsor has ready access to an amount of at least €7,000 for each subsequent year of your studies, in addition to the course fees for each of those years.
- You have private medical insurance.
- You can account for any gaps in your educational history.
- Your intention is to return to your country of permanent residence following completion of your studies in Ireland
- There now follows an explanation of what will be accepted as evidence for the above requirements. Please ensure you read this carefully and submit ALL documents with your application. Again, it is important that these are original, clearly legible documents, in English, or accompanied by a notarised translation.
- They should clearly indicate what they are and to whom they refer.
4. What evidence do I need for my application?
- Evidence of Course
- A Letter of Acceptance from the college, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time education, involving a minimum of 15 hours organised daytime tuition each week
- This letter should specify the course you will be studying.
- 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.
NOTE: The educational and other credentials of a college will be taken into consideration by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in reaching a decision on a visa application. Recognition by the Department of Education and Science through ACELS meets these criteria in the case of English language schools.
Please refer to the list of courses recognised by the Department of Education and Science on its website: www.education.ie.
- Evidence of Finances
You must show you have sufficient funds to support your stay in Ireland without recourse to public funds, or the reliance on casual employment.
- If you are being sponsored by another person or persons, you must list each person and give clear details of their relationship to you. All evidence provided must be clearly identifiable as to whom it relates
- Give clear details of the financial support they will be giving you for the duration of your stay in Ireland
- Their bank account must show a good credit record for a minimum of six months immediately prior to making your application
- As you will be required to have a minimum of €7,000 available to you during the first year of your studies, your sponsor will need to show that this amount is available to support you AND that they have enough funds to maintain themselves and other family members
- Any lump sum lodgements made during the immediate three months prior to your application must be fully explained, with supporting evidence provided
- For example - if such a lump sum lodgement has come from the proceeds of a sale of property or encashment of Savings Certificates, Fixed Rate Deposit accounts, or any similar type sources, then clear evidence of this must be provided
- Where no evidence is provided your application will be refused
- You must also demonstrate that you or your sponsor will have ready access to an amount of at least €7,000 for each subsequent year of your studies, in addition to the course fees for each of those years
- Evidence accepted will include a letter from your sponsor’s employer confirming employment details, plus 4 recent payslips. This letter should include contact details for the employer, including name, address, and phone number (landline, not mobile)
- If your sponsor is involved in business, evidence of this must be provided, such as a Certificate of Registration from the authorities in your country
- All financial documentation should clearly indicate what it is and to whom it relates
- All bank statements should include the name and address of the account holder and the account number
- They should also include full contact details of the bank – name, full address of branch where account is held, telephone number (landline, not mobile), e-mail and website addresses (where available)
- Where this information is not normally available on a bank statement, it should be accompanied by a letter from the bank, on official bank stationery, giving these details. Where a bank statement or a letter from the bank is submitted giving only a mobile phone number, post box number as address, or an email address of Yahoo, Hotmail etc., this will not be considered as evidence of finances, and may in fact raise an issue of credibility over the whole application.
- The statement should cover a six-month period immediately prior to your application, and show all transactions that have taken place during this time
- Handwritten entries or details on bank statements will not be accepted
- Any documents not in English must be translated
- Medical Insurance
- Private medical insurance cover is required
- Your college may arrange this on your behalf. If so, details of this must be included in your Letter of Acceptance from the college
- If it is not arranged by the college, you must organise this yourself and provide evidence with your application
- Educational and Employment History
- You must provide full details of your previous education on the application form
- You must submit all exam results obtained, along with your qualification certificates
- You must provide information to account for any gaps between your last period of full time education and your application to study in Ireland
- If any such gap in education has been filled by periods of employment, you must give full details of your employment history
- If your employment history or educational background have no obvious connection to the course you now wish to pursue, you must give a full explanation of why you are now embarking on a change of career
- Immigration History
- You must provide full details of all visa applications you have made for any country, including Ireland
- If you have ever been refused a visa for any country, you must submit the original letter of refusal that issued to you by the Authorities of that State
- If you have ever been in Ireland before, whether legally or illegally, you must give details of your time here
- Failure to disclose any of the above details will result in your current application being refused
- Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the expected completion of your studies in Ireland
- If you hold any previous passport, you should also submit this with your application
- The processing times for Student Visa Applications vary depending on the volume of applications lodged, and the time it takes for an application to reach the Visa section in Dublin from the Embassy in which it was lodged
- You should allow as much time as possible when applying for a visa but a minimum time of 8 weeks is recommended
- The Visa Section will endeavour to have your application assessed as soon as possible
- Visa decisions are published weekly on our website, on the page called – Visa Decisions
You can check a decision by entering the Visa Reference Number that issues to you
- Right of Appeal
- If you are refused a visa you may appeal this decision within 2 months
- Appeals must be submitted in writing to:
The Visa Appeals Officer,
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform,
13-14 Burgh Quay,
- If you applied to the Visa Office in Beijing, Moscow or New Delhi, you should submit your appeal to the relevant office
- Your appeal should fully address all the reasons for which your application was refused. Any additional supporting documentation should be submitted with your appeal for consideration
- You must quote your Visa Reference Number on your appeal, along with your name and nationality
- There is no fee payable for appealing a visa refusal decision
- There will be no appeal allowed if you are found to have given false or misleading information in any part of your application, or submitted false, forged or fraudulent documentation.
B. AFTER ARRIVING IN IRELAND
- If your application for a visa has been approved, the Embassy to which you applied will affix a visa to your passport
- The dates entered on your visa indicate the dates between which you may seek to enter the State
- It is important to note that a visa is a form of pre-entry clearance to the State only, and does not guarantee that you will be permitted to enter or remain in the State
- Immigration Officers at the point of entry are entitled to question any person on arrival. If they are not satisfied with the bona-fides of any person, or their reasons for wishing to enter the State, they have the right to deny entry to any such person, despite the fact they hold a valid visa
- It is recommended that you have supporting documentation related to your course of study with you to present to the Immigration Officer on disembarkation from your flight
- Once you arrive at the school you will need to carry out the following steps:
- Get a letter from the reception to allow opening of a bank account.
- Open the bank account with Bank of Ireland, College Green, Dublin 2 (Five minutes by foot from school) with a minimum balance of €1000. The bank statement, which is for immigration purposes, is issued immediately.
- Return to school to get an immigration letter stating course duration, type, insurance, and ACELS code.
- The school simultaneously delivers a copy of the letter to the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).
- Wait one week before presenting at the GNIB office in Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 (10-minute walk from the school) with passport, bank statement and €150.
- If you are staying for less than 25 weeks you should receive a student visa in your passport. If you are staying for 25 weeks or more, you should receive a student visa with permission to work part time.
- If you are staying in accommodation organized by the school, you may request letter to apply for a Personal Public Number (PPS) number to be sent to the address of your accommodation. It takes one week
1. Can I work in Ireland during my studies in Ireland?
- Citizens from countries outside the EU/EEA (that is, the 27 EU member states and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) who are registered as full-time students with the Garda Síochána are permitted to work part-time in Ireland (up to a maximum of 20 hours a week and full-time during vacation periods) to support themselves. Read more information on employment rights of part-time workers in Ireland here.
- Full-time courses are courses of at least one year's duration. The academic year is considered to be 25 weeks (rather than 52 weeks) so courses of this length will qualify for inclusion on the register.
- Only students attending a full time course of education of at least one year’s duration leading to qualifications recognised by the Minister for Education and Science will be permitted to take up casual employment Access to employment is denied to all other students
- Casual employment is defined as up to a maximum of 20 hours part time work per week, or full time work during normal college vacation periods. Such work should not interfere with your course attendance, as failure to provide evidence of a satisfactory attendance record will result in refusal of any extension to your permission to remain.
- The entitlement to casual employment will cease on completion of your college course.
- The stamp placed in your passport by GNIB will indicate whether or not you are permitted to take up casual employment
- If you are in doubt about this you should check with GNIB before you accept any job offer.
- Any breach of your visa conditions will lead to a review of your case and possible removal from the State
2. How do I apply to extend my student visa?
- If you wish to study in Ireland for less than three months you should apply for a 'C study visa'. If your course lasts longer than three months, you should apply for a 'D study visa'.
- If you hold a 'C study visa' and wish to extend the period of your stay in Ireland, you should visit the GNIB office on Burgh Quay (10 minute walk from the school) You may also be requested to apply in writing for your visa extension to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INIS). Generally speaking, the duration of a 'C study visa', (that is, a three-month visa for study in Ireland) is not extended once you have arrived in Ireland. Extensions will be granted in exceptional cases only. It's very important therefore to make sure you know the duration of your course before you apply for a visa.
- Your application to extend your visa should contain the following information:
- Details of and proof of payment of course/study fees
- Details of the course of study
- Information on where you will live
- Evidence that you are self-sufficient
- Copy of your passport with your original study visa
- Visa reference number and your nationality
- Details of attendance if this is a further education course.
3. Attendance at Course
- You have been granted a Study Visa on the basis that you will attend school/college to partake in a course which involves at least 15 hours of organised daytime tuition each week.
- It will be necessary for you to show evidence of your attendance record to the Garda National Immigration Bureau when seeking to have your permission to remain in the State extended.
- If you do not show a satisfactory attendance rate at your course you will not be entitled to remain in the State. It is expected that students will be able to demonstrate an attendance rate of 80% or higher at their chosen course of study to which the visa relates.
4. Registration and Permission to Remain
- If you intend staying in Ireland for more than 90 days, it is a requirement that you register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) either at 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2, or the Immigration Officer in area in which you are residing. There is a charge of €150 each time you register
- Extensions of your permission to remain in the State to pursue your studies will only be granted if the Immigration Officer is satisfied with matters such as your level of attendance at your course, evidence of your accommodation, finances and medical insurance
- Permission to remain in the State is not usually granted for a period of more than a total of 18 months unless the student is attending a full time course of at least one year’s duration leading to qualifications recognised by the Minister for Education and Science – see website www.education.ie
5. Re-entry Visas
- The initial visa issued to you will be valid for a single entry to the State
- If you have a valid reason for leaving the State for a short period of time you must apply, in advance of making any arrangements, for a Re-entry visa.
- You must be able to prove you will be continuing with your studies on your return to the State
- Before a re-entry visa can be issued, you must be registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau
- For information on how and where you can apply for a Re-entry visa please see Re-entry Visas
- It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa (where relevant) for the country you intend travelling to NOTE: A visa must be obtained from the UK authorities prior to travelling to Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland consists of Counties Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone)
6. Students Under 18 Years of Age
- Any person who wishes to pursue a course of study in Ireland must be enrolled at a private fee-paying school or college
- The requirements outlined above will apply for all students
- Parental consent from both parents(where applicable) is required
- The granting of a visa to a person under the age of 18 years for the purpose of study does not give any entitlement to any other family member to accompany or join the student in the State
- Details of the person in whose care the minor shall be must be provided with the application
- The provisions of Part IVB of the Children Act 2001 will apply when examining such applications.
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