Visa process and Requirements
Student from non-EU countries listed on INIS site are required to have a visa to study in Ireland . Some non EU countries are exempted from visa requirements. A full list of countries exempt from needing a visa can be found at Citizens Information - Visa Requirements for Entering Ireland.
The student immigration process is divided into two categories, based on whether you are applying for a degree programme offered by a higher education institution or you intend to pursue an English-language or non-degree course.
If you do need a visa to study in the Ireland you should apply for this online at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). If your course will take less than three months to complete you should apply for a 'C study visa'. If you enter the Ireland on a ‘C’ visa you cannot have your permission to remain in the Ireland extended. You must leave and re-apply from outside the Ireland if you want to return.
If your course lasts longer than three months, you should apply for a 'D study visa'.
Student can make visa application online . In their application students will be asked to supply the following information:
1. Valid passport: 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.
- Photographs : 2 colour passport photographs
3. 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 study each week.
- This letter should specify the course you will be studying. The course that you are going to pursue must be included in the Internationalisation Register administered by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI)
- It should 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.
4. Ability to Follow Your Chosen Course: You must provide evidence that you have attained the necessary level of academic achievement required to follow your chosen course. Such evidence will include – exam results, qualifications obtained and certificates proving this level of English .
5. Level of English: The submission of an approved English language test is compulsory for all student visas. Failure to submit a test will result in your application being refused - the Visa Officer has no discretion on this requirement. Click on English Test for further information. Educational Institutions in Ireland cannot waive this requirement for the purpose of a visa application.
The recommended band scores are :
- IELTS minimum score of 5
- TOEFL minimum score of:
- 173 (Computer-based)
- 61 (Internet-based)
- 500 (Paper-based)
- Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE) or higher
- ETAPP – Minimum grade of B2
NOTE: This is for immigration purposes only if the English language requirement of the university is higher than the scores above, you must meet the university requirements. (Students applying solely for an English Language course are currently exempt from this requirement).
- Evidence of Payment of Fees
Evidence that all fees have been paid prior to the visa application being submitted. These applications should contain either
- A copy of an Electronic Transfer of Funds from the applicant to the Irish Bank of the college, showing details of the beneficiary's name, address, bank details and the same details for sender and a copy of a letter/receipt from the Irish college confirming that the fee has bee received or
- A valid receipt showing that the course fees have been lodged to an approved student fees payment service i.e. Edustep .
- Where the course fees are less than €6000 fees must be paid in full to the college. Where the course fees are in excess of €6000, you must pay at least this amount. The minimum amount is an Immigration requirement. However, the college you wish to attend may require full payment of fees.
- If you are applying from China, India, Nigeria, Russia, United Arab Emirates or the United Kingdom, please also check the Irish Embassy website for details of further documentation which may be required.
8. Evidence of Finances :
Currently, students from Visa required countries are required to demonstrate that they have access to €7,000 as part of their Visa application. In order to provide evidence of access to sufficient finances you will need:
- A detailed statement of your bank account covering a six-month period immediately prior to your visa application, and showing sufficient funds to cover your costs.
- Produce official confirmation that you are in receipt of a scholarship
- verification of private medical insurance;
- Police clearance certificate ( if applicable)
- Ensure the student questionnaire is completed in full and submitted with the student application - Questionnaire To Accompany Study Visa Applications ( for Indian Student) . It will also confirm that you intend to return to your home country after leaving Ireland.
- an explanation of any gaps in your educational history.
Note for Indian student : Student applications received in the Visa Office less than 3 weeks prior to the course start date (not extension date) will be returned unprocessed. Note it could take 2/3 working days for VFS to deliver the application to the Visa Office. The onus is on each applicant to ensure this timeframe is met, no exceptions will be made.
- 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.
- Visa decisions are published weekly on www.justice.ie You can check a decision by entering the Visa Reference Number.
Registration with Garda :
Non-EU students hoping to come to Ireland to study for more than 90 days have to, by law, register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) i.e. Police Clearance Certificate from Irish Police. Before being registered as a student on a degree programme (this applies to those who require a visa and those who don't), you must:
- Have a valid passport
- A valid student ID card
- Have a letter of acceptance from the higher education institution, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a programme of full-time day-time education.
- Prove that fees have been paid to your preferred higher education institution. Where your fees are below €6,000, the full amount of the fees must be paid in advance. Where your fees exceed €6,000, then at least this amount must be paid in advance.
- Provide a bank statement, from an Irish bank, showing that you have €3,000 (€ 7000 for visa required country students ) at first registration in order to support yourself while in Ireland. This is to ensure you don't go into business, get a job or avail of any state benefits to cover your costs of living here.
- Show you have private medical insurance at the time of registration.
- Registration fee of €300 (payment by bank giro or credit card)
Successful candidates will be given a certificate of registration allowing them to study here. This registration lasts for one year and must be renewed each year.
Study Visa Renewal
You are responsible for renewing your GNIB registration card each time it expires. It will usually expire at the end of your academic year, and must be renewed for the coming academic year of your course. To renew your GNIB registration card, you will need a letter from the college with details of your course and your course attendance over the past year. Note that if your attendance is low, you may not be given permission to stay for the next year of your course.
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 & Law Reform
13-14 Burgh Quay
- If you applied to the Visa Office in Abuja, Beijing, Cairo, London, 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.
- 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, to the Department of Foreign Affairs, 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 link to ‘Re-entry Visas’ on www.justice.ie
- It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa (where relevant) for the country you intend travelling to
A single journey visa costs €60 and will be valid for one entry to the State up to a maximum of 90 days from the date of issue.
A multi journey visa costs €100 and will be valid for multiple entries to the State up to a maximum of 5 years from the date of issue.
A transit visa costs €25.