International Students, craving to study in Ireland needs to acquire the Ireland Student VISA and a residence permit, before they study in the Country.
This article entails the application rule of thumbs, for an Irish Student VISA and the necessary documents for its application.
Ireland Student VISA
The Irish Student VISA is a long stay VISA, mainly for Foreign students that wants to complete a full-time Academic program, in any Accredited Educational Institution in Ireland.
The stay is longer than 3 months.
Before you Apply for the VISA, there are things you need to do first;
- Check and confirm if your Country needs a VISA to enter Ireland
- Find out if you are eligible for the Irish Student VISA
- Gather the Required documents for Application
Confirm If Your Country Needs A VISA To Enter Ireland.
It is important to confirm if you are a citizen of an Irish VISA-free Country.
Almost everyone, who’s course will last for more than 90 days, are to get the VISA. For stays of less than 90 days, you will need an Irish short stay VISA.
However, there are some Countries that are exempted from using a VISA to enter Ireland. If you are from an EU/EEA member state or from Switzerland, you do not have to apply for an Ireland student VISA, nor request permission to enter from Border Control. That’s because EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals enjoy free movement to other EU/EEA member states for any Tourism, Study or Work-related purposes.
Anyone who is not from an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland, has to ask for permission to enter from the Immigration Officers at Ireland Border Control.
However, not everyone has to apply for the Ireland Student VISA, to be allowed to travel in the first place.
Some Countries have been exempted from applying the Ireland VISAs, so their citizens only have to request entrance permission from Border Control after they arrive.
Find Out If You Are Eligible For The Irish Student VISA
You have to verify your eligibility status.
You will able to apply for the VISA if you have done the following:
- You have been accepted and are enrolled in an Irish Educational Institution.
- You are pursuing a full-time, day-time course which is on the Interim List of Eligible Programs (ILEP).
- The ILEP is a mechanism which the Irish Government uses to measure which programs are acceptable for International students to pursue.
- You have paid the course fees.
- If your course fee is up to €6,000, then the fee must be paid fully.
- If the fee is higher than €6,000, then you are required to have paid at least this amount before applying for the Ireland Student VISA.
Gather The Required Documents For Application
You make sure the following documents are ready before you Apply for the VISA:
- The signed and dated application form summary, which you print after completing the online application.
- Two passport-sized pictures, in line with the Ireland photo requirements.
- Your original passport.
- Copies of any previous passports.
- Employment details.
- Proof of accommodation.
- Details of any previous VISAs you were refused.
- A self-addressed, pre-paid envelope where the Irish Authorities can return your passport and other original Documents.
- Proof that you can support yourself for the duration of your studies.
- A minimum of €7,000 per year is required in addition to your course fee.
- Alternatively, if you have a sponsor in Ireland who will be supporting you, they must be able to prove they are financially capable of funding your stay.
- You and your sponsor (if you have one) have to submit the following documents:
- Bank statements, written on headed paper, from the last six months, which:
- Show all the transactions made on the account.
- Show the name, address, Account Number and Account type of the owner (you or your sponsor, respectively)
- Explanations regarding any large or irregular transactions.
- An Application Letter written by you, in which:
- You state your reason for traveling to Ireland and include your complete contact information.
- Detail any family members you have in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU, whether you are staying with them or not.
- Pledge not to become a burden in the Country and to follow the requirements and conditions of the Ireland Student VISA.
- If you are pursuing a course which does not relate to your previous Education history, give an explanation why.
- An official Letter of Acceptance from the Irish Educational Institution, which:
- States that you are enrolled in the School in a full-time course, and you will follow at least 15 weekly hours of organized daytime tuition.
- Gives details about the course you are enrolled in.
- States if you have paid the full tuition fee, or if not, how much you have paid.
- States whether they are paying for your medical insurance.
- Proof you are academically qualified to pursue the course you are enrolled in, such as:
- Your diploma/certificate/other qualifications.
- Exam results.
- School transcripts.
- Proof you have paid the College’s tuition fees.
- Include a copy of the Electronic Transfer of Funds (ETF) to the Irish Bank of your School. The document must clearly include your and your School’s names, addresses, and Bank details.
- As stated above, if your tuition is below €6,000, you must pay the full fee before applying for the Irish student VISA. If your tuition is over €6,000, you must pay at least that amount before you can apply for the VISA.
- Proof you meet the English language requirements:
- You must prove that you can follow and participate in the course you are enrolled in.
- You must show evidence through an English language certificate, such as TOEFL or IELTS, which has been issued within the last two years. For example, the Ireland student VISA IELTS requirements are a minimum score of 0.
- Additionally, if your course is in Irish, you must show you meet the Irish language requirements.
- If submitting a savings account, include a letter from the Bank ensuring that you/your sponsor are allowed to take out money from the Account.
- Proof you have obtained medical insurance.
- If your School has included you on a Group Insurance Scheme, they must indicate so in their Letter of Acceptance.
- If you are getting medical insurance privately, you must make sure it covers at least €25,000 for cases of accidents, disease, and hospitalization.
- You can be covered by travel medical insurance in your first year, but after that ends, you must get private medical insurance in Ireland.
- Proof of the reason why you took a break before pursuing your studies, if applicable.
- For example, if you pause your studies for a year in order to work, give your employment details.
Take Note Of The Following:
All the documents you submit have to be in English. If they are not, they have to be translated by an official translator and notarized.
All the documents you submit have to be originals, and not photocopies. Only submit copies of the documents if it is specified.
Before you can submit your Student VISA application, you must first be enrolled in an Irish Educational Institution, pay the necessary fees, and enter an English language test to prove you meet the language requirements.
How To Apply For The Irish Student VISA
You will have to finish the online application at the Irish VISA application facility first, before you submit your documents.
When applying online, you have to fill in an application form via AVATS. You will receive a summary of the form, which you have to print after completing the application form.
You will also be informed about where you can submit the required documents. Keep in mind that, there is no determined location since it changes based on the Country you are from.
The processing time for the VISA might take 8 weeks. When once you get your VISA, you can travel to Ireland.
Arriving Ireland at the Border
Once you land at the Airport/Seaport, you have to go through Border Control, where the Immigration Officer decides whether to grant you permission to enter the Country.
You have to show proof that you are eligible to enter Ireland.
Take with you, an acceptance letter, proof of financial means, medical insurance, along with your passport, VISA, and copies of other documents you submitted for your Ireland Student VISA application.
Getting Your Residence Permit
If the immigration officers at Border Control decide to allow you entrance, they will put a stamp on your passport. The stamp states the number of days you are allowed to stay in Ireland.
You must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), before those days run out.
The GNIB will give you an Ireland residence permit/GNIB card, which allows you to stay in Ireland long-term.
You will receive the Ireland Stamp 2 or 2A, which is the stamp awarded to full-time International Students.
Other Relevant Points To Note
- You can renew your residence permit yearly, or twice yearly for a maximum of seven or eight years. The expiry date for your residence permit is stated on your residence permit card.
- If you are in Ireland as an International, full-time Student, and you receive a Stamp 2 or 2A, you can work in Ireland without having to obtain a separate work permit.
- After you graduate in an Irish Educational Institution, you may be eligible to apply for the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme. This Scheme allows recent graduates to remain in Ireland for an additional year, so they can look for work or apply for an Ireland work permit. If you find a job in Ireland and receive an Irish work permit, you may be eligible for permanent residency after five years, in some cases, after two years.