Citizens of certain countries who wish to pursue a course of study in Ireland must apply for a visa to enter Ireland before they travel here. Information on those who do not need an entry visa is available in our document: Visa requirements for entering Ireland.
Since 1 January 2011 there are changes to the immigration system for non-EEA students. If you are a non-EEA national coming to study in Ireland you must be enrolled in a full-time course under the Degree Programme (pdf) or the Language and Non-Degree Programme (pdf). There are details of transitional arrangements for students already in Ireland who are affected by these changes (pdf). You can find out more in our document on the immigration rules for non-EEA students. There is information for non-EEA nationals applying for a short-stay C visa to accompany or join an EU citizen family member in Ireland on the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service (INIS) website.
Visa applicants must apply online for their visa - see 'How to apply'. If you wish to study in Ireland for less than 3 months you should apply for a 'C study visa'. If your course lasts longer than 3 months, you should apply for a 'D study visa'. Generally speaking, the duration of a 'C study visa', is not extended once you have arrived in Ireland. Extensions will be granted in exceptional cases only. It's very important, therefore, to make sure you know the duration of your course before you apply for a visa. Further information on how to apply to extend a student visa is under 'How to apply' below.
You will need to provide the following with your visa application. (Please remember, original documents are required and must be in English or accompanied by a notarised translation):
Remember, the granting of a student visa to study in Ireland does not confer the automatic right of anyone to join or visit you in Ireland (whether they are a relative or not).
You will find more detailed information on the exact requirements for a student visa on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice and Equality.
No. If you do not require an entry visa to enter Ireland, you do not require a student visa to study in Ireland. However, all non-EEA nationals, including those with visas, must obtain permission to enter the State by reporting to an Immigration Officer at the port of entry. (The members of the EEA are the 28 countries of the European Union (EU), together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein)
You should have all documentation relating to your studies on your person when coming through immigration. In other words, you should have your letter of offer of a place at the school, or educational institution ready for inspection at immigration. You can read more in our document on permission to land in Ireland.
Students from a non-EEA country who intend studying in Ireland for a period of more than 3 months must register, after they arrive, with the local immigration officer for the district in which they are living (Garda National Immigration Bureau if living in Dublin). Their passport will be endorsed with the conditions and period of time for which they have permission to remain. Since 1 April 2011 they must have €3,000 when they first register. Information on what documentation students require when applying for permission is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).
From September 2008 non-EEA students coming to Ireland for the first time may not get permission to remain in Ireland if they have their children with them, or intend their children to join them later on. There is more information about the children of non-EEA students on the INIS website (pdf).
You can find out how to register in our document on Registration of non-EEA nationals in Ireland.
If you are attending a course on the Internationalisation Register under one of the above programmes you will have stamp number 2 endorsed on your passport when you register with your local immigration officer. You will be allowed to take up casual employment of up to 20 hours part-time work per week in term time or up to 40 hours per week during normal college vacation periods. The stamp will be valid until you have finished your course of study and your entitlement to take up employment ceases when your permission to remain expires.
If you are not attending such a course, you will not be entitled to take up part-time work or engage in any business or profession. You will get stamp number 2A on your passport. This stamp gives you permission to remain until you have finished your course.
You can read information on employment rights of part-time workers in Ireland here.
The visa issued to you allows you to enter the State once. If you have wish to leave for a short while and then return you must apply for a re-entry visa. (See 'How to apply' below for information on how to apply for a re-entry visa.)
It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa (if required) for the country you intend travelling to. Please note that you must obtain a visa from the UK authorities before travelling to Northern Ireland (Counties Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone). Information on applying for a visa to visit the UK if you are currently in Ireland is available on the UK Border Agency website.
Information on those who do not need a visa to visit Ireland is available in our document: Visa requirements for entering Ireland. You do not require a visa if you are from an EU/EEA member state.
Standard non-refundable visa application processing fees are:
Single-journey visa: €60
Multiple-journey visa: €100
Certain applicants are not required to pay a fee. They include non-EU Spouses of EU citizens. In addition, applicants from some countries are not required to pay a fee. As this changes from time to time, you should check with your local Irish embassy or consulate, or with the Visa Office - see 'Where to apply'.
The online visa application facility is now available worldwide and you must apply for a visa online. There is information on how to complete an online application in English (pdf) as well as in Arabic (pdf), Chinese (pdf), Russian (pdf), French (pdf), Turkish (pdf) and Urdu (pdf).
The Irish Government has started collecting biometric data from certain visa applicants. Since March 2010 all visa applicants aged 6 years and over residing in Nigeria must provide fingerprints. You can find information about biometric data in this list of frequently asked questions on the INIS website.
The local immigration officer in your area (Garda National Immigration Bureau if in Dublin) can advise you on any application forms you will need to complete to extend your student visa. Your application to extend your visa should contain the following information:
Before applying for a re-entry visa you must register with the local immigration officer for the district in which you are staying. You can read more about registration in our document on Registration of non-EEA nationals in Ireland.
Sent your completed Re-Entry Visa Application Form (pdf), along with all required documentation, by registered post to the Re-entry Visa Processing Office - see 'Where to apply' below. You can also apply in person for a re-entry visa at the address below within certain hours. You will need to have a completed application form and all required documentation with you.
Apply for your re-entry visa well in advance of your proposed dates of travel. Postal applications for re-entry visas will be processed within 4 days of receipt and your re-entry visa will be returned to you by registered post.
There is more information on applying for a re-entry visa, as well as information on photographic requirements on the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service website.
Department of Justice and Equality
Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service
13/14 Burgh Quay
Opening Hours:8.30am - 2:30pm Mon-Fri (excluding public holidays)
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.