Ireland Student Visa Guide

Student Visa Process to Study in Ireland

Ireland, like many other countries, requires international students to have a valid student visa to pursue any kind of education or higher education. Eligible international students will be asked to follow a defined Student Visa application process to study in Ireland. The Irish Government recently launched a new website that outlines the Irish Visa application process all international students need to complete to pursue higher education in the country.

However, this restriction applies to only a few international students from a few countries, which also includes India. Indian students wishing to pursue higher education from one of the study abroad destinations, i.e. Ireland, will have to apply for an Ireland Student Visa. The Irish Student Visa process is pretty straightforward and can be completed online through the new website or the Irish Embassy in New Delhi, India.

Outlined on this page, aspiring students can find all the necessary information regarding student visas, their application process and other important details.

Types of Student Visa

For students choosing to study in Ireland, there are a total of two types of Study Visas in Ireland that they are required to apply to. Depending on the duration of the course chosen, students will have to choose between either of the two visas, i.e. “Short Stay ‘C’ Visa” or “Long Stay ‘D’ Visa. The major differences between the two Ireland Student Visas are as follows:

  • Short Stay ‘C’ Visa: The Short Stay or ‘C’ Visa is applicable for visa-requiring international students who will be pursuing a short-term course that will be completed within 90 days. The Short Stay Visa is valid for 90 days and those applying for the visa should understand that they will be required to leave the state within those 90 days.

  • Long Stay ‘D’ Visa: Long Stay or ‘D’ Visa is applicable for those who will be studying at one of the top universities in Ireland for more than 90 days. However, there are other requirements that students will have to meet such as registering with the registration office either in Dublin or at a local Garda station outside of Dublin. Students will be asked to extend their immigration permission before the landing stamp expires.

Note: Students are advised to wait till their visa applications have been processed and approved before taking any further actions such as booking their flights, hotel rooms or other accommodations.

How to Apply for an Ireland Student Visa

With digitalisation and the “do-it-online” model being adopted all around the world, Indian students wishing to study in Ireland can access the Irish Student Visa application form online, and complete the same online as well. However, the entire process will include a combination of both online and in-person visa application processes. Here are the steps on how to apply for an Ireland Student Visa.

  • Complete the online application process, which can be found on the newest website launched by the Irish Government.

  • Once the application form has been completed, the online system will generate a summary application form.

  • The Summary Application Form will contain all the information and further steps that you will need to complete to advance your application process and receive your Student Visa. The summary will also include the directions on how to submit the supporting documents needed for the student visa.

  • You will then be required to take a printout of the summary application form and subsequently, sign and date the summary. Next, candidates must submit the summary application form with the supporting documents, as per the instructions given in the summary form.

Note: Indian students aspiring to study in Ireland and receive the Irish student visa are required to submit their Biometrics, such as fingerprints. The fingerprints will be captured at the nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC).

Documents Required for Ireland Student Visa

As is the case with any visa application process, students aspiring to study in Ireland and apply for an Irish Student Visa need to provide a certain set of documents required for a student visa to study in the country. Here is the list of documents that the applicants must provide for the Visa Officer to consider the visa application.

  • Two Coloured Passport - Size Photographs not older than 6 months.

    • Size - 45-50mm in height and 35-38mm in width

    • Paper Quality - Should be on photographic paper, with the backside of the photograph being white and unglazed.

    • Image Quality - Photo should be taken in colour, against a plain white or light grey background, be in sharp focus and correctly exposed, with a good colour balance, natural flesh tones and no red-eye. The photograph should also have good contrast between your facial features, and the background while also ensuring that there is no glare or shadows in the photo or the background.

    • Pose - Head must be centred in the image, looking directly at the camera, displaying your full face. You should not tilt or turn your head in any direction.=

    • Expression - The photo must be taken in a neutral expression where you are not frowning, squinting, smiling or making any other expressions. Your eyes should not be covered by hair and must be open with your mouth closed.

    • Glasses - You should not be wearing any sunglasses or tinted glasses. If you are prescribed glasses, then your eyes should be visible in the photograph.

    • Head or Hair Covering - Apart from religious reasons, you should not cover your head by wearing a cap, hat or headband.

    • Finalising the Photo - You are required to write the Name of the Applicant, Visa Application/Transaction Number in Block Capitals.

    • You should then place the photographs in the same envelope as the application form. You should not staple or attach the photographs to the form.

  • Current Passport and a Full Copy of all previous passports - The current passport should remain valid for the next 12 months after the proposed date of arrival in Ireland.

  • Proof of being enrolled in a privately-funded course - Candidates should submit a letter of acceptance from an Irish College or University. The letter should contain the following information:

    • Confirmation of being accepted and enrolled in full-time education, consisting of 15 hours of organised daytime tuition in a week;

    • Details of the course the candidate is enrolled in;

    • The fees payable for the course by the candidate;

    • The fees paid for the course by the candidate (Fees less than 6,000 euros should be paid in full and in advance. However, students are required to pay 6,000 euros if the course fee is more than the above-stated amount.);

    • If applicable, mention if the college has taken out medical insurance on behalf of the student.

  • Submit evidence accounting for any gaps in the candidate’s educational history. This should include all periods of time up to the submission of the application to study in Ireland. Candidates should also submit full details of their employment if they were employed during the gap years.

  • Proof of Payment of College Fees - Students should provide proof of the payment of their college fees by submitting a copy of the Electronic Transfer of Funds with the beneficiary’s name, address, bank details, with the same details of the sender mentioned as well. 

Or

A valid receipt proving the complete payment of college fees by the student to an approved student fees payment service. For instance, the electronic fee payment service offered by Pay to Study, also known as the International Student Payments Service (ISPS).

  • Academic Transcripts - International students will be required to provide proof of their ability to follow the chosen course through submission of previous exam results and qualifications.

  • English Proficiency Test Scores - Visa applicants are required to meet the basic English proficiency requirements for the visa. It should be noted that the English proficiency requirements defined by the university or college they have enrolled in may be different from the requirements specified for the Visa. However, all applicants are required to meet the English Proficiency requirements for an Irish Student Visa.

  • All international students aspiring to pursue higher education in Ireland must ensure and provide proof of financial support proving that they have sufficient funds to help them live and study in Ireland for at least one academic year.

  • Private Medical Insurance Document - The international students travelling to and studying in Ireland are required to proof of private medical insurance. While some colleges in Ireland offer to do this for the students, in other cases, students will be required to pay for private medical insurance. The proof of private medical insurance should be provided with the visa application form.

  • Previous Visa Refusals - Candidates are required to provide any visa refusals by any country that they may have had in the past. The Original letter issued to the candidate by the relevant authorities must be submitted with the visa applications. Those failing to provide the same will be rejected and refused to receive any visa.

Note: All the documents submitted with the Ireland Student Visa application must be originals and students should keep copies of the originals with them. Documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates will be returned, however, other documents such as bank statements, or letters of invitation will not be returned. If there are any documents that the applicants wish to receive back, they are advised to provide a list of the documents needed with the application.

English Proficiency Requirements for International Students

The medium of language used for educational purposes in Ireland, commonly, is English. Therefore, all those choosing to study in one of the top universities in Ireland must meet the English Proficiency requirements for an Ireland Student Visa that international students need to satisfy.

Test Provider

2nd Level Education (or Preparatory English Course)

All Other Courses

Cambridge English Language Assessments (CELA)

Pass in Preliminary English Test

Pass in:

  • First Certificate in English

  • Cambridge English: Advanced

  • Cambridge English: Proficiency

  • Business English Certificate (Higher or Vantage)

Duolingo English Test

55

75

English Test for Academic and Professional Purposes (ETAPP)

B1

B2

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic

4.0

5.0

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

30

30

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • 47 in TOEFL iBT

  • 19 in Revised Paper-Delivered Test

  • 61 in TOEFL iBT

  • 22 in Revised Paper-Delivered Test

Note:

The 2nd level education courses should only be taken in one of the private, fee-paying colleges. For those requiring a preparatory course before beginning their main course, then they will have to follow certain rules.

  • The English preparatory course should not be more than 6 months and the students should submit a study plan with the application form, that should outline the duration and dates of the preparatory course along with the dates and details of the main course of study.

  • The preparatory course fees and the main course fees of the first year should be paid in full to the college with the proof submitted along with the visa application form.

Ireland Student Visa Financial Requirements

Similar to many other countries across the world, students are required to provide proof of minimum financial support that can help them survive, live and stay in the country without having to get a job or availing any state benefits. As per Irish Government regulations, there are certain financial requirements for those applying for an Ireland Student Visa, which has been outlined below.

  • International Students should have immediate access to at least 7,000 euros, the estimated cost of living in Ireland for one academic year.

  • Students must also provide proof of immediate access to a minimum of 7,000 euros for each consecutive year of their studies. This should be in addition to the course fees for those consecutive years as well.

  • For those enrolled in a course of 6 months or less, they will be required to provide proof of 500 euros for each month or 3,000 euros, whichever is less.

Financial Documents Needed for Ireland Student Visa

As outlined above, students need to provide proof of their financial stability for at least one academic year and their subsequent years in relation to the course duration. Here are some of the financial documents that can help your financial sustainability for an Ireland student visa.

  • An up-to-date bank statement, proving the inflow and outflow of the account over a period of 6 months. This documentation should be submitted whether the course fees are being paid by the student or by a sponsor.

  • Bank Statements must be printed on headed paper. In case the original bank statements are not available, internet printouts will be accepted provided all the pages have been notarised by the bank with a letter from the bank confirming its authenticity accompanying the statements. (Note: Handwritten entries or details on the bank statements are strictly not accepted.)

  • The candidate’s name, address, account type and number should be visible on the bank statements.

  • Candidates are required to explain any large or irregular deposits being lodged in the account such as student loans, sale of property, savings certificates or any other similar source types.

  • Those students sending bank statements from a savings or deposit account must also provide a letter from the bank confirming their ability to take out money from the account.

  • Candidates can not provide credit cards as evidence of finances.

Conditions to Receive Immigration Permission

As exciting it may be to apply for an Irish Student Visa, all applicants are required to read through the conditions associated with an Irish Student Visa, before beginning their application process. It is crucial to ensure that you meet all the Student Visa Requirements outlined by the Government of Ireland. If you are applying to study for more than 90 days in Ireland, then you will have to apply for the Long Stay ‘D’ Visa for international students in Ireland, which includes a few guidelines and conditions before any candidate is considered eligible. Here are a few outlined conditions to the Irish Long Stay ‘D’ Visa for international students and the steps needed to receive the immigration permission that allows students to stay and study an approved degree programme in Ireland.

Registration in State for International Students with an Irish Student Visa

Once students have received their Long Stay ‘D’ Visa, all international students enrolled in a degree programme in one of the top universities in Ireland are required to register in the State with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). The Irish Government has outlined a few conditions that all Non-EEA students must satisfy for them to receive their Immigration Permission to stay and study the entire duration of their degree programme in Ireland.

  • Candidates should be enrolled in a privately funded “Degree Programme” course that has been included in the Internationalisation Register administered by the NQAI.

  • They will need to provide the Letter of Acceptance offered by an Irish University which will act as proof that they have been accepted into a full-time, day-time programme.

  • Students will also be required to have paid the course fees. If the course fee is below 6,000 euros, they will be asked to pay the entire amount in advance. If the course fee is over 6,000 euros, students will be required to pay at least 6,000 euros in advance.

  • They will also be required to provide proof of 3,000 euros from an Irish bank account at the time of registration, proving that they will be able to support themselves while they are in Ireland without a job or availing in State benefits.

  • At the time of registration, students will be asked to have private medical insurance. Subsequently, they will be required to provide proof of insurance for the previous registration period, which can be given through letters of renewal. (Note: Travel Insurance will not be accepted.)

Once you have successfully registered with the GNIB, you will be provided with an Immigration Permission, allowing you to pursue higher studies in the state for 12 months, after which you will be required to re-register for the next 12 months.

As per the ‘New Immigration Regime for Full-time Non-EEA Students’ that was published in 2010, students will be able to renew their registration for ears. Therefore, students are advised to complete their studies within this timeframe. However, it should be noted that every time you register, you will have to pay a registration fee of 150 euros.

Conditions to Re-Register for Immigration Permission

Students who have enrolled in a degree programme that is registered in the Internationalisation Register administered by the NQAI will be required to re-register with the GNIB after every 12 months, which is the maximum duration for the validity of the immigration permission. However, students are required to meet the conditions to re-register for immigration permission for international students in Ireland.

  • They must be enrolled and engaged in a full-time day-time programme or course at or above an NFQ Level 7.

  • They should display verifiable academic progress.

  • The course fee for the course at the select Irish university should be paid.

  • Students are required to provide proof of holding valid medical insurance for the previous registration period by way of a Letter of Renewal.

Conditions of Being Considered a Degree Program Student in Ireland

While you need to prove that you are enrolled in a degree programme at the beginning of the course, you will be required to prove yourself as being a degree programme student in Ireland.

What is considered a Degree Program in Ireland?

All candidates applying for the student visa must first ensure that they have been accepted to a degree programme, i.e. a full-time, day-time academic course leading to a major award or equivalent at or above Level 7 of the National Framework of Qualifications. Here are the different levels of the National Framework of Qualifications that students applying for a Long Stay visa should be enrolled in:

  • NFQ Level 7 - Bachelors Degree of 3 Years

  • NFQ Level 8 - Honours Bachelors Degree of 3-4 Years

  • NFQ Level 8 - Higher Diploma of 1 Year

  • NFQ Level 9 - Postgraduate Diploma of 1 Year

  • NFQ Level 9 - Master’s Degree of 1-2 Years

  • NFQ Level 10 - Doctoral Degree of approx. 4 years.

Additionally, students will also be required to ensure that the course they have enrolled in is registered in the International Register of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI).

Outlined below are the conditions that you need to be considered a degree programme student in Ireland.

  • International students are required to demonstrate that they are progressing academically to the next academic year. This is necessary to maintain immigration permission.

  • The course fees should be paid in full to the college or university by the students.

  • Students should ensure that they are not availing any State benefits.

  • They will be required to plan their educational programme to fit in the 7-year time frame associated with maximum years of study one can avail of under a valid Irish Student Visa.

  • Students are also required to provide proof of maintaining private medical insurance for the previous registration period. This can be done through a letter of renewal of insurance.

  • Students on a student visa will not be allowed to change from a Degree programme to a language course or a Non-Degree programme.

Ireland Student Visa Processing Times

The visa processing time for an Ireland student visa depends on several parameters, which may also include the current global situation. In a bid to avoid unwanted expenses incurred by the students, the Irish government advises students to avoid booking flights or hotels before they hear anything from the Ireland Visa office regarding their visa status.

As per official notifications, the authorities process student visa applications of international students aspiring to study in Ireland in the order of their dates. The Ireland student visa processing times vary between countries, visa offices, embassies or consulates. The processing times may be slow especially during high volume periods during any given particular year. However, students can expect their Ireland student visa applications to be processed within 8 weeks of submitting their forms.

There are several reasons why the student visa for international students in Ireland may get delayed. Some of the reasons have been outlined below:

  • Lack of necessary documentation, requiring the candidates to return to the Visa Application Centre and submitting the necessary documents.

  • Verification of the supporting documents has also been known to be one of the common reasons why a delay is caused in the processing of the Irish student visa applications.

  • Personal circumstances such as a criminal conviction can also cause delays in the processing times as well.

Note: If you wish to know more about the processing of your application, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Delhi, or any other consulate nearest to you and request an update.

FAQs

Q. When should I apply for an Ireland student Visa?

A. Those aspiring to study in Ireland are advised to begin their visa application process 3 months before they are required to be in Ireland.

Q. Can international students access State Benefits?

A. No, all non-EEA students are denied permission to avail of any state benefits, irrespective of their eligibility status. One of the criteria of receiving immigration permission is that the student is able to support themselves without having to get a job or availing any state benefits.

Q. Do international students need a separate visa to work while studying in Ireland?

A. Students permitted to stay and study in Ireland with an immigration Stamp 2 and enrolled with education providers listed in the internationalisation register, can work without having to apply for a separate visa

Q. Can international students extend their stay as a student?

A. International students are allowed to stay in the country for a maximum aggregate time of 7 years, as a student.

Q. Will my visa be cancelled if I change courses?

No, International students are allowed to change their courses without affecting their visa standing. However, they should ensure that they are changing their course to a programme at either the same NFQ Level or higher. Students are not allowed to change their degree to a non-degree or a language course.

Q. Can I change my course to a part-time course?

A. No, international students, as per their contract or student visa, are not allowed to change their course to a part-time course. International students are granted immigration permission on the grounds that they are enrolled in a full-time daytime course in Ireland.

Q. How long does it take for an Ireland Student Visa application to be processed?

A. Usually, an Ireland student visa application is processed within 8 weeks of being submitted. However, several factors including lack of necessary documentation, document verification, high volume periods can slow down visa processing times for an Ireland student visa.

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