Exam Visa to Ireland
The Irish Exam Visa grants successful applicants the opportunity to undertake an exam within the Republic of Ireland for up to 3 months.
It is important to note that this route is for a temporary short-stay only, and will only be open to those who intend on sitting an exam in the State that is related to their current employment or course of study.
Although the Exam Visa is an arm of the Short Stay C Visa, it comes with its own unique set of eligibility criteria and a long checklist of evidence that needs to be submitted. Compared to many other visa categories, the Exam Visa appears particularly difficult to obtain. The Immigration Advice Service can help you build a portfolio of evidence to support your claim.
How can IAS help me?
Preparing for an exam can be a stressful time as it is, let alone bringing visa complications into the mix. If you are worried about your exam deadline too, allow the Immigration Advice Service to ease the burden of the visa paperwork for you. Ring us as soon as possible on (+353) 061 518 025 to be assigned an immigration lawyer who will guide you throughout your entire application.
What is the Exam Visa?
Since the Exam Visa is a branch from the Short Stay C Visa category, applicants are granted no longer than 3 months to remain in the Republic of Ireland. Those who wish to stay in the State for longer than this might be better suited to a Long Stay D Visa instead.
In addition, Exam Visa permission only grants visitors the opportunity to undertake an exam that is necessary for their current job or course of study. The Minister of Justice and Equality reserves discretion to refuse your application if he or she doesn’t see your exam as a necessity. The Exam Visa does not grant overseas visitors to take an exam that falls outside of the boundaries of ‘work’ or ‘study’, nor does it allow applicants to work while in the State in any capacity, regardless of whether the work is voluntary, observatory, paid or unpaid.
All applicants must leave the Republic of Ireland upon completion of their examination and before the visa expires. Those wishing to take up a job in the State as a result of success in their exam must leave the country and then re-apply for an Employment Permit via the Department of Enterprise and Innovation. By overstaying the permission granted on your visa, you will be considered to be committing immigration fraud which will jeopardise any application to enter or remain in Ireland in the future.
If you are already studying in the State under a Student Visa, you will not need to apply for any immigration permission to take your exams.
How to apply for an Exam Visa
To apply for an Exam Visa into Ireland, applicants must ensure that they are seeking entry permission prior to entering into the State.
For this reason, it is integral to avoid booking any travel tickets or finding suitable accommodation arrangements in case the visa application is rejected by the immigration officer.
As for the application itself, the Exam Visa is a type of Short-Term C Visa. This means that when you come to apply for this visa, you should state that the reason of your travel is ‘exam’ which must be backed up with the name of the exam you intend on sitting.
However, the actual application itself entails some hefty document submission on your behalf and stacks of evidence to verify your identity, nationality, intent and ‘good character’ including written affidavits, travel tickets and savings to fund your trip.
You must also pay for your visa which can cost €60 for a single-entry visa or €100 for a multiple entry visa. This fee will not be refunded in the event that your visa is refused, stressing the necessity for an immigration lawyer to help you with your Exam Visa application.
Ring us today on (+353) 061 518 025 so we can start with your Exam Visa application today.
Which documents need to be submitted?
The many documents you need to submit in your Exam Visa application start with a detailed application letter. In this letter you must state:
- Your reason in coming to Ireland
- The dates you intend on arriving and then leaving the State
- The name and addresses of any family members you may have who live in Ireland
- An estimate of the total cost of your visit in Euros (including any expenses that may be funded by a third-party)
- Your intent to leave Ireland before your immigration permission expires
- Your name and the date at the time of writing the letter
You must also declare that you will obey the conditions of your entry permission and pledge that you will not rely on public services or visit or apply to any hospital – either public or private – to gain work experience. Even observing in an Irish hospital is considered a breach of your visa. You must stress that you will not become a burden on the State whatsoever in your visit.
Providing proof of exam and registration to Ireland
In addition to the written statement that must be submitted in your application, applicants must also write a detailed description of the exam that they intend on attending while in Ireland. This is to satisfy the immigration officer that your exam suits the eligibility criteria for an Exam Visa, such as undertaking an exam essential for work or for study purposes.
This second submission must detail why the exam is necessary for you and then why it is necessary that you sit this exam in Ireland rather than your home country. Most commonly, people go to take an exam in Ireland to fulfil a medical course, professional accreditation or distance learning course – but if you plan on taking a different exam, you should check if it is covered by the Exam Visa.
You must also provide a receipt that proves you have registered and paid for the exam in question.
Within your application, you must also submit 2 passport-sized coloured photographs of yourself which are signed on the back alongside your original passport.
Accommodation and travel requirements
It cannot be stressed enough that the biggest hurdle applicants face during this visa route is satisfying the immigration officer. Applicants must convince the Irish State that they intend on leaving the Republic of Ireland once their visa permission expires.
To achieve this, applicants must go into detail about where they intend on staying while taking their exam, how they intend on getting to Ireland and when they are scheduled to leave.
Plane, train or other transport tickets with a return date can satisfactorily tick this box. However, applicants must also include a written description of their hotel, hostel, AirBnB, campsite, guesthouse or B&B with the address and booking dates of each place which can be backed-up with printed evidence of their reservation confirmation.
Staying with a family member or friend is naturally harder to prove in this respect. The applicant will need to ask their host to send a letter of consent to having you stay with them. Their letter must include:
- Their full name and address in Ireland
- The dates planned for the visitor
- Financial costs if they intend on contributing to the applicant’s cost of visit such as living expenses or airline tickets
Providing proof of returning home
The reason why the immigration officer takes your accommodation and travel intentions so seriously is to ensure you will return home at the end of your visit in Ireland and that you won’t overstay once your visa expires. Failure to leave at the end of your visit is against the law and you may find yourself liable to fines or even incarceration in a detention centre.
Compelling reasons to return home usually include employment, study, family or social commitments. Evidence of your commitments can range from payslips from your employer to a detailed letter from your boss. Alternatively, your school, college or university can vouch for you by detailing the course you are studying and how many years or semesters you have left of your course.
If you live with your family, proving that you intend on returning back to them could include a description of your familial situation, such as if you are married or co-habiting and/or if you have any children/dependents that require your care. You may need to submit your children’s and/or partner’s birth certificate.
Owning a property is another compelling reason to return home. You should write a description of your residence and provide proof of its ongoing maintenance such as your monthly payments in accordance with your tenancy/rental agreement.
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In addition to the documents that you must submit, you must also detail your finance plan to prove that you have enough money to support yourself when in Ireland.
You must include an up-to-date bank statement which must be original and on headed bank paper that shows your name, address, account number, account type and money paid in and out of the account across a six-month period.
If someone else, such as your employer, is paying for your visit then you will need to provide the third party’s full name, address, contact number, email address and website. You must also include your own bank statement as per above and provide evidence of the relationship between yourself and the third party with copies of letters, emails, photographs etc.
Visa decisions are granted in the order that they are received. Generally speaking, Short Term C Visas should take no longer than 8 weeks to process.
However, if you fail to submit even one document or you have accidentally left out any crucial information, this may jeopardise your entire case.
If your application is approved, you should receive your Irish visa to be placed in a blank page of your passport.
If you have been rejected for an Exam Visa, you will receive a ‘letter of refusal’ that explains why your application was unsuccessful. In this event, you should contact your IAS immigration lawyer straight away to launch an appeal against the decision of your case.
Only in the most exceptional circumstances can you apply to extend your permission in Ireland and normally this will only be granted if there was an unforeseen event or circumstance that compels your need to stay.
Failing your exam is not generally considered to be an emergency. Therefore, an extension will not be granted to attend another exam once your visa expires.
This means you may need to leave Ireland, register for an exam re-sit and reapply for your Exam Visa all over again.