In Blog, Irish Universities

Studying abroad in Ireland is a once in a lifetime experience that can undoubtedly propel your career. In this very welcoming country, you will find excellent universities, a multicultural environment, and the best pints of Guinness! And to make sure you enjoy this experience without any hassle with immigration, we have prepared a complete guide on the Irish student visa application process for 2022.

Who needs to apply for a visa to study abroad in Ireland?

Although not everyone needs to apply for an entry visa (before arriving in the State), if you are coming to Ireland to undertake a course of study for more than three months, as is the case of Foundation Programmes, you must register at the immigration office after your arrival and get an Irish Residence Permit (IRP). Be aware that all non-EEA nationals, including those with preclearance visas, must obtain permission to enter Ireland by reporting to an Immigration Officer at the port of entry.

You do not need an entry visa to enter Ireland if you:

  • Are a citizen of the EU or the EEA (the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein)
  • Hold a travel document issued by an EEA member country. The travel document must have been issued under Article 28 of the Geneva Convention 1951 (refugees) or the New York Convention of 1951 (stateless persons).
  • Have a residence card issued by an EEA country because you are the family member of an EEA citizen.
  • Are a citizen of the countries listed below:
Antigua & BarbudaHong Kong (Special Admin. Region)San Marino
BahamasKiribatiSolomon Islands
BarbadosLesothoSouth Africa
BelizeMacau (Special Admin. Region)South Korea
BotswanaMalaysiaSwaziland (Eswatini)
CanadaNauruTrinidad & Tobago
ChileNew ZealandTuvalu
Costa RicaNicaraguaUkraine
DominicaPanamaUnited Arab Emirates
El SalvadorParaguayUnited Kingdom & Colonies
FijiSaint Kitts & NevisUnited States of America
GrenadaSaint LuciaUruguay
GuatemalaSaint Vincent & the GrenadinesVanuatu
GuyanaVatican City

You are a visa-required national and must apply for an entry visa before travelling to Ireland if you are not a citizen of any of the countries listed above. In this case, you need to apply for an entry visa through the Irish online system AVATS.

The Immigration Office allows you to apply for an entry visa up to 3 months before the date you are travelling to Ireland. Since the Office has been taking a long time to process visa applications, we strongly recommend applying as early as possible. It is also important to note that if you are visiting another country before coming to Ireland, you must have the relevant visa for that country in your passport before applying for an Irish visa.

How to apply for a visa to study abroad in Ireland

Visa Required Nationals

All applications to study abroad in Ireland must be completed through the online system, AVATS, on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), where you will provide information regarding the type of visa you are applying for (Long Stay), the purpose of travel, passport type and number, the dates you intend to travel, and other personal information. At the end of your application, you will be directed to a Declaration that must be read and agreed upon the submission.
After completing the online application process, print a physical copy of the summary form and follow the instructions on how to submit your supporting documentation. You must print, sign and date the summary form and submit it with your supporting documents. The Department of Immigration may ask you to provide your Biometrics information as part of the application process.

Non-EEA nationals who do not require an entry Visa

All non-EEA nationals must obtain permission to enter Ireland by reporting to an Immigration Officer at the port of entry. If you do not require preclearance, you will be asked to present your documents at the port of entry. The documents you should present to the Immigration Officer are the same as those listed below for the Irish Residence Permit application.

Tip: At the airport, keep all your documentation together in a folder to make it easier.

What documents do I need for my Irish Residence Permit application?

After arriving in Ireland, you must book an appointment with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) by calling freephone 1800 741741. Operators are available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m (Dublin time), Monday to Friday. Before you book an appointment with the GNIB to get your Irish Residence Permit (IRP) to study abroad in Ireland, make sure you gather all the documentation required:

  • Letter of Acceptance from the Irish educational institution (official document provided by the institution)
  • Your current passport
  • Proof of scholarship funding (if appropriate)
  • Proof that you have paid any college/university fees
  • Proof that you can support yourself for the duration of your studies (you must have access to €3,000 at first registration in addition to your course fees)
  • Private Medical Insurance (all non-EEA students)

Since all documents accompanying your application must be originals, keep copies of these documents with you. The Immigration Office will return original documents like your passport and certificates but will not return others such as letters of invitation and bank statements.
You will also be required to pay a registration fee of €300 per person to get your Irish Residence Permit (IRP). Every time you register, this fee must be paid – first-time registrations and renewals.

How long does it take for the immigration to process my visa?

The applications are processed in date order and can vary depending on the time of the year. Usually, a decision is made within 8 eight weeks, but it may take longer during high volume periods. You can check the date of the applications currently being processed on the Department of Justice’s Visa Decisions page if the office in Dublin is processing your application.
One important tip when you are planning your study abroad in Ireland is to wait until you know the outcome of your application for you to buy travel tickets.

Need any support? The DIFC team are here to help!

Once your visa application is approved and you receive your IRP card, you will be all set and ready to enjoy your study abroad experience in Ireland with DIFC. We understand that leaving your home country and adapting to a new culture can be overwhelming sometimes; that is why DIFC provide Student Support services and care that begin while you are still in your home country and continues throughout your studies with us. Are you ready to pursue your dreams and propel your career? Let’s chat!

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