Applying for a Visa to Study in Ireland

Applying for a Visa to Study in Ireland

If you are planning to come to Ireland to study, one of the most important things to get sorted as soon as possible is your long-term student visa. Ireland has become one of the most attractive student destinations in Europe thanks to some of the best universities in the EU and a world-renowned student lifestyle.

Applying for your student visa isn’t overly complicated, but there are a lot of boxes to check along the way to make sure you have everything you need before you apply and before you arrive in the Emerald Isle.

When & How to Apply

As with most applications, it takes a little bit of time. But thankfully you can apply for your study visa up to 3 months before you are due to travel from Ireland, and we certainly recommend getting started on your application as soon as possible.

The visa application process can only be started online only and is completed through the Irish Department of Justice website.

  • After completing the online application, the system will give you a recap of all of your details.
  • Follow the instructions on this summary application form, it will guide you through uploading all of the supporting documents you will need to get your visa application accepted.
  • You also need to print his summary form and submit it with the rest of your supporting documents.


Depending on the country you are travelling from, you will need to pay an administration fee to process your application. (This can’t be refunded even if your application is refused or withdrawn).

There is also a list of nationalities and certain criteria (such as family members of Irish citizens) that are exempt from visa fees – you can see the full list of exemptions available here.

If you meet none of these criteria, The fees for visas are:

  • Single entry: €60
  • Multi entry: €100
  • Transit: €25

This is just the cost of processing the application through the Irish Department of Justice, you may also have to pay additional fees through your local visa office, embassy or consulate depending on where you travel from.

How Long Does It Take?

Visa applications are processed in order, meaning it can get quite busy the later you leave it to apply. We suggest that you try to get your visa as soon as you have secured your course. But in general, they say you should get a response within 8 weeks.

It can be tempting to take some shortcuts and leave out things you feel are not 100% necessary. But you absolutely need to ensure your application ticks all the boxes. Missing documentation can result in longer wait times, so be sure to double-check before sending.

Once sent, you can check in with the website of the office, embassy or consulate that is handling your application. All applications being processed by the Visa Office in Dublin can be seen on their Visa Decisions page.

Supporting Documentation

So, you’re now up to date on everything you need to know before finalising your application. It’s time for the exciting stuff – supporting documentation.

These documents are key to your application as they provide insight into your personal situation and the country from which you are applying. Another important factor is that all documents provided at this stage must be original copies. If you are providing a document that is not in either English or Irish, which is very likely, you will need to provide a translation that contains:

  • Confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • The date of the translation
  • The translator’s full name and signature, and
  • The translator’s contact details.

Any State-issued documents provided from outside of the European Economic Area or Switzerland must also be attested/apostilled as genuine by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the State that they were issued (this must also be translated to English or Irish if necessary).

Any letters from a business, company or organisation it should be on official headed paper and also contain a full postal address, name of contact, their position in the organisation, telephone number (landline), website, and email address.

In terms of what’s required, it will mostly be your application, proof of studies and a bit more. You can find the full list of supporting documentation on the Irish Immigration website.

The Policy on Non-EEA Nationals entering Ireland covers everything you need in detail, but here’s the essentials:

  • You must be entering the state to engage in full-time study of a course that is within The Degree Programme, in other words, a course that Level 7 or higher on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications.
  • Any college fees of €6,000 or under must be paid to your chosen college before arrival. Anything higher must have at least €6,000 paid in advance upon arrival.
  • You must have private medical insurance either individually or operated through a college group scheme. 
  • You can change course to an equal or greater level while in Ireland. But not during your first year of study and you cannot change to a part-time course.

Registering with Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB)

Registering with the GNIB is essentially how you gain permission to enter and stay in Ireland. This registration must be done in person once you arrive, so it will naturally be sometime after your visa application. However you should arrange your appointment before arrival (it can take a loooooong time to secure an appointment).

You must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) to prove:

  • Enrolment in a privately funded course in the Degree Programme.
  • A letter of acceptance from your chosen college, confirming you have accepted and are enrolled in full-time education.
  • A bank statement from an Irish bank showing you have €3,000 to support yourself without aid.
  • You have private medical insurance.

Booking an appointment with Garda National Immigration Bureau can be pretty challenging and can only be attended in person. This means the appointment will have to be after you arrive in Ireland and complete your registration with your third level institution.

Obviously, these appointments can be very in-demand around the time you will be arriving as plenty of students will be entering the country around the same time as you. We recommend booking your appointment in advance at Appointments are only available to book from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm (GMT/UTC+0), so you will need to try and book at these specific times. Book either by phone 1800 741741 or e-mail [email protected].

If you have booked your appointment, it will be in the Immigration Service Delivery office, located in Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

There are definitely a lot of documents needed throughout the process, but we promise it will all be worth it in the end! Once you have your course and your student visa sorted, you can begin looking for accommodation in Dublin. Our blog ‘Why Choose Private Student Accommodation?’ weighs up some of the options around Dublin and gives some insight into what to expect from different types of accommodation.

If you have any questions about staying in Ireland or booking a stay here at Point Campus, you can always get in touch with our team on Facebook or Instagram and we will try and help out however we can.

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