Visas and Immigration

Study Visas

Students from EU and EEA member states do not require a visa to study in Ireland.

Students from Non EU member states are required to comply with Irish Visa and Immigration regulations.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain and maintain a valid passport and Study Visa* to enter Ireland for study purposes.

Visa Exempted Countries

Citizens of some countries do not require a visa to enter Ireland, but must still register their presence in the Irish State with the Garda National Immigration Bureau after arrival in Ireland. Citizens from countries not appearing on this list are required to obtain a Study Visa to study in Ireland.

Please refer to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for the most up-to-date list of countries. 

Study Visa – Application Requirements and Guidelines

Study visa applications should contain the following documents. Please note the following list is not exhaustive and applications should be supported by all information considered relevant. You should submit any additional documents that you feel will assist the Visa Officer in making a decision on your application.


You must make your visa application on-line using the AVATS on-line facility, this Online Visa Application Facility is available worldwide and must be used by all applicants for an Irish Visa.


  • Passport, valid for 12 months. Include 2 photocopies of the passport bio page. If you have held a previous passport, you must submit your previous passport with your application. 
  • Signed summary of your online application form.
  • 2 passport sized colour photos taken in the past six months that meet specifications.
  • A signed letter of application outlining the nature and duration of your proposed stay in Ireland and must include your full contact details. 
  • Original or notarised copy of applicant's family hukou with English translation.

Please contact your nearest Irish Embassy for information about applications fees by clicking here.


A Letter of Acceptance from the Irish university, college or school, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time education, involving a minimum of 15 hours organised daytime tuition each week:

  1. This letter must name you (the applicant) and verify the title/ duration of the course.
  2. It should also confirm the amount of fees payable for your course, and that this amount has been paid. (If availing of  the “education bond” facility please refer to further details below.)
  • Evidence that you have the academic ability to follow your chosen course - You must provide evidence that you have attained the necessary level of academic achievement required to follow your chosen course. Such evidence will include – exam results, qualifications obtained and certificates proving your Level of English.
  • You must submit all exam results obtained, along with your qualification certificates - If you have graduated from senior middle school, you must supply your original graduation certificate. If you have graduated from a 3rd level course then you need only supply your most recent graduation certificate.
  • If you are currently studying, an original letter from your current place of study. This letter should include a contact name, address and phone number for the school, details of your course and its duration.
  • Gaps in your educational history - You must provide information to account for any gaps between your last period of full time education and your application to study in Ireland. If any such gap in education has been filled by periods of employment, you must give full details of your employment history.


You must satisfy the Visa Officer that you can afford to complete your study plan. You must provide evidence that you have access to sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees and cost of living expenses. You must show you have sufficient funds to support your stay in Ireland without recourse to public funds, or the reliance on casual employment.  In order to provide evidence of access to sufficient finances you should submit:

  • A detailed statement of your and/or your sponsors' bank account(s) covering a six-month period immediately prior to your visa application, and showing sufficient funds to cover your costs. Evidence of savings or deposits held by you or your sponsor for a six-month period can also be submitted as evidence of finances.
  • Please supply letters from your sponsor’s employer. The letter’s should be on company headed paper with the company's address and contact details. The letters should include the following:
    • Place of employment
    • Address of work unit / company
    • Type of business
    • Position held
    • Length of employment in this company
    • Annual salary including bonus
    • Contact phone number for employer

Note: The estimated cost of living in Ireland for a student for one academic year is €10,000. You must demonstrate that you or your sponsor has ready access to an amount of at least €10,000 for each year of your studies, in addition to the course fees for each of those years. Where NON-EEA Students are studying for a period of less than 6 months the non-EEA Student must have access to €500 per month of the stay or €3,000 whichever is the lesser.

You must list each person sponsoring you, and give clear details of their relationship to you. Notarised certificate confirming kinship should be provided. All evidence provided must be clearly identifiable as to whom it relates. Give clear details of the financial support they will be giving you for the duration of your stay in Ireland. Their bank account must show a good credit record for a minimum of six months immediately prior to making your application.

Your sponsor (s) will need to show that the amount of financial support they will be giving you is available AND that they have enough funds to maintain themselves and other family members.

Savings records should be consistent with the income of the applicant and his/ her sponsor. Any inconsistencies must be explained.

Any lump sum lodgements made during the immediate three months prior to your application must be fully explained, with supporting evidence provided. For example, if such a lump sum lodgement has come from the proceeds of a sale of property or encashment of Savings Certificates, Fixed Rate Deposit accounts, or any similar type sources, then clear evidence of this must be provided.

If your sponsor is involved in business, evidence of this must be provided, such as a Business License/ Certificate of Registration from the authorities in your country.

All bank statements should include the name of the account holder, and the account number. Handwritten entries or details on bank statements will not be accepted. Any documents not in English must accompanied by an  translation. Bank statements and letters must show and include full contact details of the bank – name, full address of branch where account is held, telephone number (landline, not mobile), e-mail and website addresses (where available). Where this information is not normally available on a bank statement, it should be accompanied by a letter from the bank, on official bank stationery, giving these details. Where a bank statement or a letter from the bank is submitted giving only a mobile phone number, post box number as address, or an email address of Yahoo, Hotmail etc, this will not be considered as evidence of finances, and may in fact raise an issue of credibility over the whole application.

Alternative Evidence of Finance – Degree Programme Students

A pilot programme has now been introduced that would allow degree programme students to provide an alternative to bank statements as a method of proof of finances.  The alternative method is an "education bond" with a minimum value of €7,000.  The bond must be lodged to an approved student fees payment service (e.g. the electronic fee payment service offered by EduStep [formerly International Student Payments Service, ISPS])*

The bond must be held continuously from the initial visa application through to the time the student registers in Ireland with the immigration authorities.  This is to ensure that the necessary funds exist and are reserved for the personal use of the student.  The bond will be cashable when the student arrives in Ireland or if for any reason the visa is refused or the student decides not to take up their place in the college.

A receipt showing that a bond has been paid by the applicant will generally be accepted by INIS as evidence of finances.  However, the applicant should be aware that they may also be asked to provide additional evidence of finances if that is considered necessary.  Upon their arrival in the State the funds will be released to the student.

You can find out more information about the Education Bond here

NOTE : Students who participate in a bond payment scheme should note that this is a contractual arrangement between them and the bond service provider.  INIS is not a party to any contract entered into between a student and a bond service provider.  Students who are enrolled on the type of courses listed below are not obliged to participate in a bond payment system, and may prefer to provide the normal evidence of finances as set out above.

Types of Courses and Colleges eligible for participation in the Student Bond System

Degree programme courses are defined as courses which lead to an award of

  • Ordinary Bachelor Degree
  • Honours Bachelor Degree
  • Higher Diploma (after completion of an Honours Bachelor Degree)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (after completion of an Honours Bachelor Degree)
  • Masters Degree
  • Doctoral degree

 The ‘award’ as set out above must be made by one of the following types of awarding body:

 A recognised Irish awarding body i.e.

  • Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Higher Education and Training Awards Council
  • Institutes of Technology with delegated authority to make awards
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • Universities
  • Other bodies that have statutory powers under Irish law to make awards

Certain ‘awards’ offered by international universities which satisfy the above definition will also be regarded as Degree Programme courses. See document Internationalisation Register New Arrangements to Apply from 01 January 2011. Section 1 A (ii) and (iii) for further information available at

* The Department of Justice and Equality is at all times willing to consider proposals from other providers of student fee payment services to have their services accepted for visa purposes


Evidence that fees have been paid prior to the visa application being submitted to the Visa Office must be provided. These applications should contain either:

1.      a copy of an Electronic Transfer of Funds from the applicant to the Irish Bank of the college, showing details of beneficiary's name, address, bank details and the same details for sender and a copy of a letter/receipt from the Irish College confirming that the fees has been received, or

2.      a valid receipt showing that the course fees have been lodged to an approved student fees payment service.  (e.g. the electronic fee payment service offered by EduStep [formerly International Student Payments Service, ISPS] )

Where the course fees are less than €6,000, fees must be paid in full to the college. Where the course fees are in excess of €6,000, you must pay at least this amount.If you are applying from India you must pay 50% of the programme fees. This minimum amount is an Immigration requirement. 

Fees paid to the college are a matter between the student and the college.  However, in the event of the visa application being refused the college should refund the fee (less any small administration charge) within a reasonable period.


Except in the case of an application which is solely for an English language course, you must show that you have the capacity to fully partake in your chosen course through the medium of English and satisfy the Visa Officer in this regard.

It is recommended that all applicants, regardless of nationality or educational background, undertake the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) English language test, and provide original certificate with your visa with application. Other acceptable certificates will be those from an internationally recognised test such as PTE Academic or Cambridge English Language Assessment. Any certificate must have been issued within 2 years of the expected commencement date of your course. Failure to provide such a certificate may result in delays in processing your application, and possible refusal of same. Submission of false or fraudulent certificates with your application will result in it being refused, and no appeal will be permitted.

Short-term Preparatory English Language Courses

If you have been accepted on a specific course of studies, but you need, or are required, to complete a preparatory course of English prior to commencing your main course, the following requirements apply:

  • English language course must be short term, and not exceed a maximum duration of 6 months
  • You must submit a detailed study plan, including the duration and dates of your preliminary English course, and details and dates of your main course of study
  • Fees for both the English preparatory course AND the first year of your main course must be paid in full to the college 

Students Under 18 Years of Age

Applicants who have not completed formal 2nd Level Education - if you are applying for a course of 2nd level educational studies, the requirements outlined above for the preparatory English also apply.

Any person who wishes to pursue a 2nd Level Education in Ireland must be enrolled at a private fee-paying school or college.

In addition to the requirements outlined above, which apply to all students, applicants aged under 18 years must submit:

  • English Language Requirement: IELTS – minimum overall band score of 4.
  • Birth Certificate.
  • Parental consent from both parents (where applicable) is required. Signed parental consents must be accompanied by copies of the consenting parents' passports or national identity cards showing the bearer signature.
  • Where only one parent has total custody, a Court Order bestowing sole custody of this child must be shown.
  • Details of the person in whose care the minor shall be must be provided with the application.

The provisions of Part IVB of the Children Act 2001 will apply when examining such applications – see website:

The granting of a visa to a person under the age of 18 years for the purpose of study does not give any entitlement to any other family member to accompany or join the student in the State. 


If you have been refused a visa for any other country, details of this must be given. Submit the original letter issued to you by the authorities of that country. Concealment of visa refusals will result in your Irish visa application being refused - You must provide full details of all visa applications you have made for any country, including Ireland. If you have ever been in Ireland before, whether legally or illegally, you must give details of your time there. Failure to disclose any of these details will result in your current application being refused.

You must provide details of any members of your family who are currently in Ireland or any other EU State.

The educational and other credentials of a college will be taken into consideration by the Department of Justice and Equality in reaching a decision on a visa application. Recognition by the Department of Education and Skills through ACELS meets these criteria in the case of English language schools. Please refer to the list of courses recognised by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland on its website:

Students who intend staying in Ireland for more than 90 days are required to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).  In addition to course fees, the student must have access to €3,000 at first registration with GNIB or where Non-EEA Students are studying for a period of less than 6 months they must have access to €500 per month of stay or €3,000, whichever is the lesser.

Please keep copies of all documents submitted with your application. Original documents such as saving deposit certificates, marriage/birth certificates will be returned to you. However, bank statements, letters of invitation etc will not be returned.

Please note that any document submitted in another language other than English , must be accompanied by an English translation.

You are required to provide a copy of all original documents

The provision of all the documentation listed in no way guarantees that a visa will be granted. Please do not purchase travel tickets prior to a decision being made on the visa application.  Doing so may lead to unnecessary additional costs in circumstances where a visa is not granted.

Before you complete your visa application please thoroughly read the information contained in General Information for all Visa types.

USEFUL LINKS A government website which has useful information relating to the Irish education system, third level institutions, courses, learning English and further links. The Advisory Council for English Language Schools established under the auspices of the Irish Department of Education & Science to control standards in EFL schools. Contains the official list of schools and organisations recognised by the Department of Education & Science. This site will help you to find government organisations or information by providing links, indices of recent publications and a search engine that searches all government sites. There is also general information about Ireland .

Immigration Registration - your IRP (Irish Residence Permit)

A study visa provides pre-clearance to enter Ireland as a student.  Immigration registration grants leave to remain in Ireland for a defined period of time.  All non-EU students intending to remain in Ireland for more than 90 days must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau to obtain their IRP.

In general Non-EEA Students studying in Ireland for a period of less than 90 days are not required to register with the Immigration Authorities. However if directed to register by immigration officials at the point of entry to the State, such students will be required to demonstrate evidence of finance on the same basis as Non-EEA students studying for a period of less than 6 months.

The Galway GNIB office is located at Western Regional Headquarters,  Dublin Rd, Renmore, Galway H91 F62K. The telephone number is 091  337140.  The GNIB in Galway provides an immigration registration service.   After registration students will receive an immigration certificate of registration (Registration Card).  A fee of €300 will be charged in respect of the registration certificate.

For immigration registration students require:

  • Passport
  • Current University of Galway student identity card
  • Proof of comprehensive medical insurance
  • Student registration form. Each student must update their term address in Galway and supply a printout to GNIB.  Changes of address must be notified to the GNIB within 7 days of changing address.
  • PhD students (only) must obtain a letter from the International Office which includes start and finish date.
  • Students from a non-visa required country must demonstrate access to sufficient funds to support themselves during their period of study in Ireland.  Evidence of financial support is an original bank statement which shows student’s name and bank balance. 
  • Students in receipt of funding from University of Galway should provide a letter from their Discipline confirming their funding. Documentation should be originals; photocopies are not accepted. 

Funding Requirements for Non-EEA Students at First Registration from 1 April 2011

Non-EU/EEA Students studying for a period of less than 6 months

€500 per month of stay or €3,000 which ever is the lesser

Non-EU/EEA Students studying for a period equal to or greater than 6 months up to 1 year


Non-EU/EEA Students studying in Ireland where the second registration takes place at a time exceeding 1 year

Such students are generally not required to produce bank accounts at second or subsequent registrations unless they are requested to do so by a Supervisor

  • Personal credit/debit card for payment of immigration fee of €300.  If a student does not have a credit card, he/she will be issued with a bank giro form by the Immigration Officer and requested to return with the completed bank giro form, confirming payment of the fee.   Payment may be made at the student’s bank on campus. 
  • Proof of comprehensive medical insurance which must include hospitalisation cover. You must provide the original policy document in English and the policy document should state your name.  Your policy should clearly state the precise start and finish dates of the insurance cover.   You should therefore ensure that you are covered for the full length of time you are in Ireland i.e. either for the academic year or the semester as appropriate.    If you have an insurance card for your policy you should bring it with you to the GNIB office. 
  • Under immigration rules, all non-EU students must notify the GNIB of any changes to their registration details, including a change of address, change of course or withdrawal from a course, within 7 days.  The telephone number is Tel: +353 (0)91 337140

NB:  Only original documentation should be presented to the GNIB. Photocopied or faxed documents are not acceptable.

Re-Entry Visas

Renewing Immigration Registration

Students must renew their immigration registration annually by the date provided on their Garda National Immigration Bureau registration card. It is each student’s responsibility to ensure they maintain their GNIB registration.  The International Affairs Office will provide you with a letter on request to renew GNIB registration provided you are registered as a student of the University and have paid your annual tuition fee.

Working in Ireland

In relation to non EU/EEA students only students attending a full time course of education of at least one year’s duration leading to qualifications recognized by the Minister for Education and Science will be permitted to take up casual employment.  Access to employment is denied to all other students. Casual employment is defined as up to a maximum of 20 hours part time work per week, or full time work during normal college vacation periods. Such work should not interfere with your course attendance, as failure to provide evidence of a satisfactory attendance record will result in refusal of any extension to your permission to remain in the State.  The entitlement to casual employment will cease on completion of your college course.  The stamp placed in your passport by GNIB will indicate whether or not you are permitted to take up casual employment.  A Stamp 2 confers the right to work.  If you are in doubt about this you should check with GNIB before you accept any job offer. Any breach of your visa conditions will lead to a review of your case and possible removal from the State.  A complete list of approved courses can be found on the Internationalisation Register.

Irish Tax

It might appear daunting but sorting out your Irish tax position can easily be dealt with by understanding the basics.  The following videos provide an overview of the key issues which will help you understand and determine your Irish tax position and include the practical steps to get your Irish tax affairs in order.
These videos are only available to current University of Galway staff and students, please log in to your student or staff email in order to be able to view these videos.
You can watch these videos here.

Graduate Permit Scheme

The Graduate Permit Scheme was established to allow legally resident non-EEA/EU third level graduates to remain in Ireland for the purpose of seeking employment and applying for a Green Card or Work Permit.  A non-EEA/EU student who has, on or after 1 January, 2007, acquired a primary, masters or doctorate degree from an Irish third level educational institution will be permitted to apply for the Scheme. The student at the time of application must hold a current Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

A person, the holder of a Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau, legally resident in the State who acquired their qualification on or after the 1 January, 2007 shall be permitted to apply for this Scheme.

An application for permission to remain under this Scheme may be made at the applicant’s local Garda National Immigration Bureau, or, if living in the Dublin area, to the Garda National Immigration Bureau, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

Documents required when making an application

  • An original letter issued by the International Affairs Office stating that the applicant has completed the course of study satisfactorily and the qualification gained. 
  • Current passport.
  • Final examination transcript
  • Current Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

    More information

Family Reunification

Generally speaking, non-EEA students do not have the right to family reunification.  However, INIS prepared to recognise the value of some flexibility to the above policy and accordingly certain exemptions are facilitated.  As a general principle all non-EEA students coming to Ireland should satisfy themselves of what means are required to support themselves before they travel. It is equally logical to seek to ensure that dependants of students who might give rise to significant State expenditure should only be admitted in limited circumstances and where on balance it is in the State's best interest for this to take place.

In this context and subject to the exemptions set out below, students will continue to have no rights of family reunification. Partners and spouses will be considered as applicants in their own right but cannot advance their application for entry or residence on the basis of their relationship to another student. Students will not be permitted to be accompanied or joined by children other than those born during their stay. Students will be informed of these conditions and also asked to confirm that they do not intend to be joined by dependents of any kind.

Exemptions from the above policy will be allowed where;

(a) The student is pursuing a course at PhD level10 (NFQ 10). In these cases the student will be required to progress academically (verified by letter from academic supervisor) and to complete their doctorate within 4 years; or

(b) The student is a participant in an academic programme agreed between the Irish State and another state whereby the student and dependents are sufficiently well funded in respect of all expenses in Ireland, or where any such agreement provides an exemption; or

(c) The student can demonstrate private means on an annual basis at a level that clearly allows them to support themselves and their family without recourse to public funds and without engaging in employment and where children are accompanying the parent has paid an immigration levy set by the Government as a means of recovering the costs of the child’s education; or

(d) The child is on a short visit to their parent(s) who can show special circumstances and can guarantee that the child will return home at the end of their holiday. Failure to comply with this condition could result in the termination of the parent’s own permission on the basis that they had breached their immigration conditions.

In the case of points (b) and (c) above prospective students will be required to show that sufficient funding is guaranteed and in place to provide for both themselves and in respect of any family members accompanying the student.

Permission to remain in the State for students will generally continue to be conditional on their ensuring that no claims for social welfare benefits are made on their own behalf or on behalf of any dependents accompanying them. Students will also continue to require private medical insurance. Breach of these fundamental conditions may render the student and any accompanying dependents liable to have their immigration permission terminated regardless of their course of study.

(Extract from the Student Guidelines - New Immigration Regime for Full Time non-EEA Students)

Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service – Student Notices Website

The INIS provides a Student Notices website where valuable information pertaining to the immigration rules for students can be accessed.

Information available on this website includes:

Accountancy Students: 

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