Studying in Ireland requirements
The requirements for studying in Ireland vary depending on your circumstances. In most cases, you will be required to show proof of your educational level, your English language skills, proof of acceptance on your chosen course, minimum level of finances to support yourself (at least €7,000) as well as other requirements specified by your university.
Ireland is a very popular destination for students, with thousands of international students currently studying here.
Irish universities are highly regarded, ranking in the top 3% of educational institutes worldwide.
Education is free in Ireland for all Irish citizens and those who are EU citizens up to secondary school level.
For an Irish citizen, university courses generally cost at least €3,000 but there is often financial assistance available for students.
However, non-EU, non-EEA or Swiss international students can expect to pay significantly higher tuition fees, with international undergraduate fees starting at €9,750.
For the exact fees, you should consult the website of your chosen university.
This guide will outline everything you should know if you intend to study in Ireland.
Irish student visa requirements
If you are an international student from outside the EU who wishes to come to study in Ireland, you will need to apply for a student visa in most cases.
There are a significant number of eligibility criteria that you must meet to be able to apply for a student visa.
What are the student visa requirements?
The Ireland student visa entry requirements include the following:
D Study Visa (longer than three months)
- A letter of acceptance from an eligible Irish educational institute
- A passport valid for at least 12 months after the proposed date of arrival
- Valid English language certificate showing the appropriate level of language skills
- Evidence of financial maintenance to support yourself during the course (minimum of €7,000)
- Proof that you have adequate medical insurance
- A letter confirming that you will leave Ireland at the end of your course
- Evidence of your academic ability to complete your course
C Study Visas are for courses lasting less than three months. The requirements include:
- Confirmation that you will leave Ireland at the expiry of your visa
- Proof of onward travel from Ireland
- Evidence of adequate funds to sustain you during your time in Ireland
- Confirmation that you will not travel to the UK from Ireland without a valid UK visa
- Having an eligible immigration and criminal history that does not preclude you from being unable to get a visa
Applying for a student visa
It can be difficult to apply for any visa. The Irish student visa application process includes the following steps:
Apply for a course at your chosen university and submit the relevant information and supporting documents to demonstrate why you are an eligible applicant
Go to the Ireland student visa online application page and read the instructions carefully, making sure you have all the required documents
Submit a signed summary of your application form, passport and colour photographs
Pay the student visa fee and submit the required documents (Irish student visas cost €60 for single entry and €100 for multiple entries)
Wait for a decision to be made on your application. If you have been approved, you may book your journey to Ireland
Once you arrive in Ireland, you should make an appointment with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) and pay the €300 fee to be issued a residence permit
What do students need to know about Ireland?
As a modern, multicultural country with a high standard of living and plenty of opportunities, the number of international students coming to study in Ireland has increased significantly since 2013.
The most widely spoken language is the English language, but many people can speak the country’s native language, Irish.
The country is part of the European Union and the currency is the Euro. Although Britain has left the EU, an arrangement remains in place that allows Irish citizens to live and work in the UK without restriction (and vice versa for British citizens). This is known as the Common Travel Agreement.
Universities in Ireland
There is a wide selection of universities, technical institutes, and medical colleges in Ireland to cater for all academic interests.
Some of the top universities in Ireland include:
- Trinity College Dublin (TCD)
- University College Dublin (UCD)
- NUI Galway
- University College Cork (UCC)
- Dublin City University (DCU)
- University of Limerick
- Maynooth University
- Technological University Dublin
- Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
- Waterford Institute of Technology
Each university has its own entry requirements and eligibility criteria, and if you are interested in applying for a course to study in Ireland, it’s recommended to allow plenty of time for the application and visa process.
Dublin is the capital city of Ireland, with almost two million residents, and the majority of the large universities are in the city (Trinity, UCD, DCU, TU Dublin, RCSI).
However, Dublin can be quite expensive to live and study in. Maynooth University, for example, is a highly regarded institution that is located less than 40 minutes by train from Dublin city centre.
One of the most difficult parts of coming to study in Ireland may be finding appropriate accommodation.
Unfortunately, accommodation can be very expensive, with even Irish students struggling to find a place to stay during term-time.
However, your university should be able to assist you with finding accommodation. One option is for on-campus accommodation.
These can be more expensive than privately-rented properties, but they offer the convenience of living on campus, as well as the opportunity to live with other students, and potentially practice your English language skills (depending on who you live with).
Another option is living with a host family. In most places, you will have a comfortable room with a desk for studying, as well as potentially having your meals cooked and clothes washed included in the price.
How to apply to an Irish university
Irish, UK, and EU students wishing to apply to study in Ireland should use the Central Applications Office (CAO) system to submit their interest in a course.
This system allows for fairness in the application process, depending on the students results.
Non-EU and non-EEA students should apply directly to their chosen institute and follow the application process as outlined.
Types of courses
The Irish educational system is similar to the UK system and is internationally regarded. There are degree, postgraduate degree and doctoral courses available for international students. In the vast majority of cases, these will be taught in the English language.
The Education in Ireland website provides an overview of the types of courses that you can study in Ireland at degree level. Courses last between three to four years in most cases.
Similarly, master’s degrees in Ireland last for one or two years. These courses will usually include some taught modules as well as a research dissertation in your final year.
You should explore the course and university requirements before making your choice on a course.
PhD courses typically last between three to four years and many courses will require an upper class (2:1) grade on a master’s degree for acceptance.
All universities have special supports for international students coming to study in Ireland. This could include support with English language learning, accommodation assistance, educational tutoring or mentoring, and buddy systems to help you settle in and make the most out of your Irish student experience.
We can offer direct assistance to you if you need support with your application or any part of the process. If you are an international student from Africa, or an international student from India wishing to study in Ireland, contact us to see how we can assist you with your student visa application.
Student life in Ireland
Ireland is a beautiful country to live in, and although it can be expensive, student life offers plenty of opportunities and excitement.
The average living cost for a student on a monthly basis is approximately €680. You can expect your rent to cost at least between €400 and €800 monthly.
Dublin is the most expensive place to live in Ireland, so if you choose to live outside the city, you may be able to save some money.
Medical insurance can cost around €100 annually, but this may be subject to an increase if new regulations are announced.
Some of the other Ireland student living costs that you can expect include the following:
|Cost||Monthly (€)||Annual (€)|
|Rent (outside Dublin)||€499||€4,491|
|Books and study materials||€74||€666|
|Clothes and medical items||€39||€351|
|Social life/ otther costs||€37.50||€337.50|
Source: TU Dublin Student Cost of Living Guide 2020/ 2021. Please note these costs may change
How can IAS help me?
If you are applying for a student visa, you may benefit from support from an experienced immigration lawyer who can guide you through the process. You can apply for an Irish student visa independently if you wish.
Your chosen university may be able to assist you with some of the information you need to submit a student visa application.
Some international students prefer to work with a dedicated immigration lawyer who can take the stress out of the process and work with them every step of the way.
If you are interested in staying in Ireland after your studies, our helpful article outlines everything you need to know.
Some of the support we provide includes:
- Assessment of your eligibility for your chosen student visa
- Full support with your application and complete it on your behalf
- Advice and support when you come to Ireland and register with immigration officials
Similarly, if your student visa application is rejected, we can assist in appealing the decision and outlining any options available to you. Call us today on (+353) 061 518 025 for a confidential discussion about how we can assist you.
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