Travelling to Ireland for study
Citizens of certain countries who wish to pursue a course of study in Ireland must apply for a visa to enter Ireland before they travel here. Information on those who do not need an entry visa is available in our document: Visa requirements for entering Ireland.
Since 1 January 2011 there are changes to the immigration system for non-EEA students. If you are a non-EEA national coming to study in Ireland you must be enrolled in a full-time course under the Degree Programme (pdf) or the Language and Non-Degree Programme (pdf). There are details of transitional arrangements for students already in Ireland who are affected by these changes (pdf). You can find out more in our document on the immigration rules for non-EEA students. There is information for non-EEA nationals applying for a short-stay C visa to accompany or join an EU citizen family member in Ireland on the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service (INIS) website.
Visa applicants must apply online for their visa – see ‘How to apply’. If you wish to study in Ireland for less than 3 months you should apply for a ‘C study visa’. If your course lasts longer than 3 months, you should apply for a ‘D study visa’. Generally speaking, the duration of a ‘C study visa’, 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. Further information on how to apply to extend a student visa is under ‘How to apply’ below.
You will need to provide the following with your visa application. (Please remember, original documents are required and must be in English or accompanied by a notarised translation):
• Letter of acceptance from a recognised school/college/university in Ireland confirming that you have been accepted on a course of study. This course of study must be full-time (lasting an academic year) and have a minimum of 15 hours per week study time.
• Evidence of your academic ability to pursue the chosen course through the English language (unless it is an English language course).
• Evidence that the fees for the course have been paid in full.
• Evidence that you have enough funds (€7,000) to maintain yourself for the initial part of your stay.
• Evidence that you or a sponsor have access to at least €7,000 for each subsequent year of your studies, in addition to the course fees for each of those years.
• Evidence that you have private medical insurance
• An explanation of any gaps in your educational history
• Confirmation that you intend to return to your country of permanent residence when you leave Ireland.
Remember, the granting of a student visa to study in Ireland does not confer the automatic right of anyone to join or visit you in Ireland (whether they are a relative or not).
If I don’t need an entry visa to enter Ireland, do I need a student visa to study?
No. If you do not require an entry visa to enter Ireland, you do not require a student visa to study in Ireland. However, all non-EEA nationals, including those with visas, must obtain permission to enter the State by reporting to an Immigration Officer at the port of entry. (The members of the EEA are the 28 countries of the European Union (EU), together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein)
You should have all documentation relating to your studies on your person when coming through immigration. In other words, you should have your letter of offer of a place at the school, or educational institution ready for inspection at immigration. You can read more in our document on permission to land in Ireland.
Permission to remain
Students from a non-EEA country who intend studying in Ireland for a period of more than 3 months must register, after they arrive, with the local immigration officer for the district in which they are living (Garda National Immigration Bureau if living in Dublin). Their passport will be endorsed with the conditions and period of time for which they have permission to remain. Since 1 April 2011 they must have €3,000 when they first register. Information on what documentation students require when applying for permission is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).
From September 2008 non-EEA students coming to Ireland for the first time may not get permission to remain in Ireland if they have their children with them, or intend their children to join them later on. There is more information about the children of non-EEA students on the INIS website (pdf).
You can find out how to register in our document on Registration of non-EEA nationals in Ireland.
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