Checklist for Ireland Student Visa
Travelling to Ireland on a Student Visa will give you fantastic educational opportunities and many people have benefitted from living and studying in Ireland.
If you are from the EU, you can study in Ireland without the need to apply for a visa, however, if you are a national of a non-EEA country, you must be granted a Student Visa in order to study here.
As part of the visa application, you will need to submit a number of documents with your application form to prove your eligibility.
The application process can be divided into a number of stages and it is important to follow the application process as outlined by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) which is overseen by the Department of Justice.
The visa that you apply for will depend on how long you wish to spend studying in Ireland. The two study visas include those designed for three months’ study or less and study visas for periods of longer than three months.
You must apply for a full-time course that lasts for at least a full academic year and ensure that your weekly study time lasts at least 15 hours per week.
What documents do you need for the Student Visa?
There are a number of documents you will need to submit as part of your Student Visa application. As with all visa applications, some of the information you provide will depend on your personal circumstances.
Your Student Visa document checklist includes:
- Letter of Acceptance from an approved educational institute confirming your acceptance on an eligible course
- Evidence of minimum English language skills in order to complete the course (e.g., IELTS results)
- Evidence you have the academic ability to complete your course (e.g., by submitting exam results of prior qualifications)
- Proof that you have fully paid the course fees (by submitting a copy of an Electronic Transfer of Funds or valid receipt) to the organisation
- Proof that you have adequate funds of at least €7,000 to financially maintain yourself for your initial stay
- Evidence that you (or your sponsor) can access at least €7,000 for each year of your course and pay each years’ course fees in full
- Proof of holding private medical insurance
- A letter outlining your educational history in which you explain any gaps
- Proof that you have commitments to your home country and intend to return home when the visa expires
- Certified translations of any documents in a language other than Irish or English
- Two colour passport-sized photographs less than 6 months old
- Your current passport and copies of all previous passports
- Signed letter of application
- Details of any previous visa refusal (where relevant)
- Police clearance certificate (where relevant)
Application process checklist
The application process can be complex and each stage must be followed within the given deadlines to maximise your chances of a successful application. Before applying, ensure that you meet all the Student Visa requirements.
The first stage is completing the online application through AVATS (Irish visa application site), and the second relates to submitting the documents.
- Apply for your place at an approved educational institute (which must be listed on the Interim List for Eligible Programmes)
- Receive confirmation that you have been accepted to the programme and have obtained your Letter of Acceptance
- Apply for the visa three months before you intend to travel and ensure that you have gathered all the necessary documents
- Submit your application online from the country in which you are a legal resident
- Send your passport and documents for processing
- Pay the associated fees
- Wait for your application to be assessed and receive confirmation that you can travel to Ireland (if your application is refused, you may be entitled to appeal the refusal)
- Book your trip to Ireland and ensure that you have all the relevant documents in your possession when travelling
- Meet with an immigration officer when you arrive at the Irish border and outlined how you have been granted permission to enter and for what purposes (if accepted, you will receive a stamp in your passport)
- Register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) following your arrival. You will receive Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A
Depending on your circumstances, there may be additional steps that you are required to complete in order to come and study in Ireland.
Everything you need to know about working on a Student Visa
If you are granted a visa to study in Ireland, you may be entitled to undertake some forms of work without needing to apply for a separate work permit.
If you hold a Stamp 2 permission, you are eligible to work up to 40 hours per week in June, July, August, and September and between 15th December and 15th January.
For the rest of the year, you may only work for a maximum of 20 hours per week.
To work with a Student Visa, the following must apply to your situation:
- You are registered with GNIB
- You are enrolled on an approved programme with a recognised award/ qualification
- You are attending a full-time programme of education
- You are undertaking a minimum of 15 hours study during the week
- You are receiving tuition between 8am and 6pm for a minimum of 25 weeks per year
- Your programme lasts at least one year
If the above conditions are met, you may apply for a Personal Public Services Number (PPS Number). In general, you must also have an Irish bank account in order for your wage to be paid.
There are also opportunities to undertake internships in Ireland while studying if the programme meets eligibility requirements. These include:
- The internship/ work placement does not take up more than 50% of the programme duration
- Work placements that are normally a formal element of the course programme should contribute to the final grade
- The placement should be relevant to the educational programme
Can I stay in Ireland after my Student Visa expires?
You may be able to apply for a work permit to work in Ireland once you have completed your course of study.
In most cases, post-study routes are not open to language students or non-degree programme students.
People who are eligible for the third level graduate scheme are as follows:
- Graduates have been notified in writing by their educational institute that they have achieved the appropriate award as a result of their course of study
- Individuals who can provide evidence of their final award
- Graduates holding a valid Stamp 2 student immigration permission
- The applicant has not exceeded the seven-year limit on their stay
- This is the first time the graduate has applied for this programme
- The applicant can demonstrate good character
In most cases, students must have graduated with a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree to be eligible for the scheme.
It is important to note that the immigration arrangements for English language students are different to the students in other academic courses.
Successful applicants to the scheme may be allowed to stay in Ireland for up to 24 months following graduation, working up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.
Following this time, graduates must have a work permit, permission to stay through another course of study, or permission through another scheme if they wish to remain in Ireland.
IAS can help with Irish employment visa and permits for graduate students who wish to remain in Ireland. Alternatively, if you are interested in the internship visa, get in touch with one of our immigration lawyers for an immediate discussion about your needs.
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There are routes to Irish citizenship following a Student Visa. The primary requirement for becoming an Irish citizen is having spent at least five years living legally in Ireland and one year of continuous reckonable residence.
The time that you spend in Ireland as a student cannot be counted towards the time required for citizenship, however, if you apply to stay in Ireland under an eligible visa category, this time can be used to count towards citizenship.
For example, when your Student Visa has expired, it may be possible to apply under the Critical Skills Employment Permit. The route towards citizenship is much faster with this permit.
In most cases, non-EEA family members will not be allowed to join their parent or spouse while the individual is studying in Ireland. It may be possible for the family members to apply on a separate visa for permission to come to Ireland.
There are some exceptions to this, and if you have any questions about your eligibility, contact IAS for a discussion on your case.
There is no set time for a Student Visa application to be processed. In general, it may take up to eight weeks to receive a decision. You should ensure that you have submitted all the relevant information with your application to prevent delays.
You can apply for your Student Visa up to three months in advance of your intended travel date.