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Study Visas Ireland

If you wish to study in Ireland, you must enrol in a full-time course listed on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP).  Here, you will find information about how to apply for the visa you need to travel to Ireland to study.

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Non-EU citizens who want to live in Ireland to further their education can apply for a right of residence in the State once they have satisfied certain criteria. In order to be considered for permission to remain in the State on student conditions, you must first be enrolled in a full-time course on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). In general, courses on the ILEP are limited to higher education programmes and English language courses. International Students are limited in the number of English Language Courses they can undertake.

You will need to have:

  • A letter of enrolment

  • Paid your fees.

  • Depending on your nationality, you may also apply for a visa. If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you will also have to register a visa.

Before and After you Arrive

In the sections below we will explain what you have to do before you come to Ireland and what you need to do after you arrive in the country.

What do I need to do before arriving?

If you are a visa required national you must apply for a visa before travelling to Ireland. You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to Ireland. If you need to apply for a visa, you should do this as soon as possible after accepting a place for your studies. You can find out more on how to apply for coming for less or more than 90 days below.

Less than 90 days:

If you are staying less than 90 days and are visa required, you must apply for a ‘Short Stay ‘C’ visa’, you can apply here. More information on how to apply for a ‘Short Stay ‘C’ visa’.

More than 90 days:

If you are staying for more than 90 days and are visa required, you must apply for a ‘Long Stay ‘D’ visa’, you can apply here. More information on how to apply for a ‘Long Stay ‘D’ visa’.

What do I need to do after arriving?

When you arrive in Ireland you must show your passport, permit, visa and all other required documentation to the immigration officer at the airport or other port of entry. The immigration officer will then decide if you are allowed to enter the country. Even if you have a valid visa for Ireland, you could be refused entry by the immigration officer if they are not satisfied with your documents or explanations.

Registration Office:

If you arrive with a long stay ‘D’ visa and wish to stay longer than 3 months, you must visit the registration office in Dublin or at a local Garda station outside of Dublin, before your landing stamp expires to extend your immigration permission and register your details.

If you are refused permission to enter the state:

If you are refused permission to enter the state, you will be returned to where you left from.

Applying for the Student Visa

The application process for an Ireland student visa is divided into two parts: the online application and the submission of documents.

You must fill in an application form and prepare the necessary documents when applying online. After completing the application form, you will receive a summary of the form, which you have to print. You will also be informed about where you can submit the required documents. There is no determined location since it changes based on the country you are from.

The processing time for an Ireland student visa is around eight weeks. For different reasons, such as the time of year or if you have any missing documents, your application process will be delayed, so plan accordingly.

If your visa is refused, you can make a visa refusal appeal.

What are my study visa options?

Depending on the duration of your study you will either have to apply for a short stay visa or a long stay visa before coming to Ireland. If you are staying longer than 90 days you will also have to register after arriving in Ireland. You can find out more below.

Short ‘C’ visit (study) visa

If you wish to attend a short course of study of 90 days or less and if you are from a visa required country you will need to apply for a short stay ‘C’ visit (Study) visa. You must make your visa application from the country where you are ordinarily resident, i.e. the country where you live. Requests to make a visa application from any other country (e.g. a country that you are visiting while on holiday) will not be accepted.

Long term study visa

You can apply for a study visa if you are planning to come to Ireland to undertake a course of study for more than three months. We ask that you read the Policy on Non-EEA Nationals studying in Ireland. Make sure that you meet the policy requirements before you submit your visa application. You can apply for a study visa up to three months before your travel date to Ireland.

If you are visiting another State before travelling to Ireland, you must have the relevant visa for that State in your passport before applying for an Irish visa.

What are my study options?

In this section you will find the options available to you for studying in Ireland. You have the option to attend a third-level course at a university or other third-level institution, a language course, a fee paying private primary or secondary school or a short-term course.

A third-level course or a language course:

If you want to study in Ireland for longer than 90 days, you must choose a course from the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). The following types of course are listed:

  • English Language programmes lasting at least 25 weeks

  • Higher Education programmes from level 6 to 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications

  • Professional Awards

  • Foundation programmes.

A range of education providers offers these programmes.

A short-term course:

If you want to do a short-term study course (for example – less than 90 days to learn the English or Irish language, or for cultural studies) in Ireland and are from a visa required country you will be regarded as a visitor and have to apply for a Short Stay visa (also called C Visa).

All students have to enrol and pay for their course of study (in full) before travelling to Ireland. If you are visa required, you must apply for a Short Stay Visit (Tourist) visa to study in Ireland. You will not be allowed to come to Ireland without a visa.

Prepare for border control. You will need to prove that you have a valid reason for entering Ireland (for example, study) to an immigration officer at border control. To do so you will need your passport, visa (if required) and several other documents. If you cannot satisfy the immigration officer of your reasons for travelling, you will not be allowed to travel into Ireland.

A fee paying private primary or secondary school:

If you want your child to attend a primary or secondary school in Ireland, you must:

  • Register the child in a private fee paying school

  • Pay the appropriate school fees before their arrival in Ireland.

You can find out more about the requirements below:

  • If your child is applying for a visa to attend school in Ireland for second level education, they must be enrolled in a fee paying school

  • We will refuse applications if a child is to attend a school

    • That does not appear on the website of the Department of Education and Skills

    • Where that school is a non-fee paying one.

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If you are a non-EEA national coming to study in Ireland you must be enrolled in a full-time course or programme on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP).

In order to be granted student permission in Ireland, you must enrol on a full-time day time programme. Part-time or distance learning courses do not qualify for student permission.

Check the ILEP to find out if the programme is listed. Student permission will only be granted if you have enrolled on and started a programme listed on the ILEP.

The ILEP includes the following types of programmes or courses:

  • English language programmes

  • Higher education programmes

  • Professional awards

  • Foundation programmes

Students are advised to research the provider and programme before enrolling. The ILEP does not guarantee the quality of the provider, however, providers listed on the ILEP must meet certain criteria and standards. Providers must have learner protection for enrolled non-EEA students and cannot accept fees in cash. Before making any purchase, students should assess what is on offer, the reputation of the institution and its facilities and be aware the lowest price may not necessarily be the best deal. A provider must list all costs in advance, including exam fees.

If you come to Ireland to study a degree, you will be granted an immigration permission for a specific programme offered at an approved higher education provider. Only in very exceptional circumstances will you be allowed to change programme during the first year of your studies.

You must provide an academic report from the provider, including detailed exam results. You will also have to provide an enrolment letter for the new degree programme you wish to undertake that outlines why the new provider believes you are suitable to enrol in this course, taking into consideration you have not completed your original programme.

Students may not transfer from a degree to a language programme. Students may not change from a Masters programme to a degree course.

Suppose you have been unable to sit exams because of circumstances beyond your control, such as an accident or illness supported by medical evidence. In that case, you may be able to extend your permission for four months to allow you to take the exams.

If you can demonstrate that your exam results were sufficiently close to the pass mark or you passed most of your other modules, your case will also be considered.

An extend permission to retake a full year’s tuition will not be considered.

If you are studying a programme that is removed from the ILEP, you will be allowed to complete it as long as you comply with the conditions of your immigration permission.

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