Visas and Immigration
Some, but not all, students will require an entry visa for Ireland. All students from outside the EU/EEA must comply with Irish immigration requirements, which can be different for every country. Information for your country should be sourced in the following ways:
You can check the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) website to see if you require a visa.
Information on how to apply for your student visa can be found on www.inis.gov.ie (please ensure you read the ‘Student visa guidelines’ document carefully before applying for your visa).
An excellent and comprehensive guide to applying for your visa can be found here.
You may need to liaise with the Irish Embassy or Consulate for your country during the visa process. Visit Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for these details.
We strongly recommend you start your visa application as early as possible in order to avoid delays and ensure you arrive in UCD in time for orientation. Visa processing times will differ for everybody, so you should apply as early as possible. Some embassies do not accept applications after a certain date. Below is a useful timeline in relation to the visa application process.
The Irish student Immigration System Explained
Watch Student Immigration Support Officer, Lara Morais, explain the Irish immigration system for international students
Your Immigration Timeline
Upon accepting your offer (within three months of your travel date)
Do your research - visit the INIS website and find the Irish Embassy or Consulate details for your country.
Gather all documentation you need, as outlined on the Irish Embassy or Consulate website for your country. Documentation requirements differ from country to country - make sure you read all requirements.
Before Applying Online
Check the Irish Embassy or Consulate website for your country to see where your documentation should be sent and for any additional instructions.
June: three months from your date of travel to Ireland (if possible)
Apply for your visa online using the AVATS Online Application Facility.
Pay the visa application fee
Check the status of your visa on the INIS website. Advise UCD of your visa application number through the Incoming Student Portal.
The Embassy or Consulate who you have liaised with will affix a visa to your passport.
You can appeal within two months, but as this would affect your date of arrival in UCD, you would need to seek advice on a final acceptable arrival date from your course director/administrator.
Visa & Immigration Guidelines
- Two colour passport sized photographs not more than 6 months old (your name and visa application reference number must be printed clearly on the back). It is important that you follow these specifications.
- Your current passport and a full copy of any previous passports (your current passport must be valid for at least 12 months after your proposed date of arrival in Ireland).
- Evidence from UCD that you have been accepted on a full-time course of study.
- A signed letter of application.
- Evidence of tuition fees paid. If course fees are less than €6,000, fees must be paid in full. If course fees are in excess of €6,000, at least this amount must be paid. This minimum amount of €6,000 is an immigration requirement. We recommend using PayToStudy, which includes a receipt for visa purposes. If using a direct payment method (bank transfer) you should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a receipt providing them with your name, course, and student or application number. This can take up to 10 working days. More details on how to pay can be found here.
- Private health insurance - affordable medical expenses insurance policies, which satisfy the INIS requirements, can be purchased online from www.odon.ie/ucd and from www.halligan.ie/ucd. You must have a minimum coverage of €25,000 for in-hospital treatment in an Irish hospital.
- Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself while in Ireland (for example bank account statements for six months previously, evidence of access to €7,000, sponsorship letter). INIS allows you to lodge an amount of €7,000 to an ‘education bond’. See INIS website for all financial requirements for study visas..
- Evidence of language proficiency. INIS requires IELTS of 5, but UCD course requirements are higher. Please refer to the UCD English language requirements and specific programme requirements.
- Any other documents as requested by INIS or the Irish Embassy or Consulate through which you are applying.
- Make sure you keep copies of all documents submitted.
Entry to Ireland, for any non-EU citizen, visa or non-visa required, is determined by the Immigration Officer at border control and is based on the documentation presented at the time of arrival.
All relevant factors are taken into account, including but not limited to, the purpose of the stay and your ability to support yourself during your stay in Ireland.
Each application for entry to Ireland is assessed on its own merits. Therefore, we advise all our students coming from outside the EU to carry any relevant documentation with them for presentation to the Immigration Officer on arrival in Ireland.
When you land in Ireland, we recommend that you have the following documentation with you:
- Passport (with your valid entry visa if you require one).
- UCD Offer Letter available in SISweb.
- Evidence of private medical health insurance with detailed coverage information.
- Evidence of tuition fees paid, scholarship or sponsorship details or US Financial Aid if applicable.
- Evidence that you have access to at least €3,000. Please find more information here.
- Accommodation details.
All documents presented should be originals and, if in a language other than English, accompanied by translation.
On approval, you will get a temporary immigration permission valid for up to 90 days stamped in your passport. You must register with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) within the timeframe stamped on your passport in order to obtain an Irish Residency Permit (IRP) card which provides permission to remain in Ireland beyond the date stamped on your passport.
Please be aware that it is not possible to change to student status if you receive a tourist immigration stamp on arrival.
First time registration with Immigration Service Delivery (ISD)
All students from outside the EU/EEA, whether you require a visa or not, must register with ISD after they have registered with UCD and before the expiry date stamped on their passport by immigration officials at the airport.
Registration is mandatory and must be done in due time. If you reside in Dublin, you must book an appointment in advance using the online system and attend the Burgh Quay Office which is located in Dublin City Centre. If you are residing outside Dublin, you will be registering with Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).
Please be aware that your biometric data such as fingerprints and photo will be collected as part of your registration process.
You must have the following when you go to register:
- Your passport
- Certificate of Attendance (All students can access an electronic Certificate of Attendance online via SISWeb)
- Proof that you have paid at least €6000 in course fees (an online copy of your Fee Receipt (known as a Fee Statement) is available through SISWeb)
- Proof of scholarship funding (if relevant)
- Proof that you have private medical insurance
- If you did not need a visa to come to Ireland, you must also prove that you can support yourself financially while you are in the country. You can do this by showing you have direct access to:
- €3,000, if you are staying for more than 6 months
- €500 per month or €3,000 (in total) if you are staying 6 months or less
- Please see further information about evidence of finances here
- A credit/debit card for payment of €300 registration fee (or Bank Giro obtainable from INIS office)
You can check all requirements for first time registration on the ISD official website. If any of the documents are missing, your application will be rejected.
On successful completion of your ISD registration, you will be issued with an Irish Residency Permit (IRP) card which is your registration certificate. This will be sent to you by post/mail within 10 working days. This is valid for one year, or for single semester students, until the end of their course. Your IRP is a very important document and you must carry it with you at all times.
If you do not receive the card within 10 working days, contact ISD at email@example.com with your full name, registration number (if available), nationality and date of birth.
A new online Registration Renewal system is currently in place for Dublin-based students. This means all Dublin-based students looking to renew their registration will no longer have to book an appointment and attend the registration office in person. If you live outside Dublin you should contact your local immigration office to arrange a time to register.
Prepare to renew online by registering through the INIS Online renewal application portal.
Please see the documents you must upload to the portal for the renewal of registration:
- Copy of Biometric page of your current valid passport(s)
- Copy of your current Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or 'IRP card'
- Proof that you are enrolled on a course of full time education (Certificate of Attendance available in SiSWeb).
- Proof that you have paid UCD fees (you must be able to show you have paid at least €6,000. An online copy of your Fee Receipt (known as a Fee Statement) is available through SISWeb. This receipt is an accurate and official reflection of your fee account.
- To access your Fee Statement in SISWeb, navigate to Registration, Fees and Assessment > Programme Fees and Payments > Generate Statement.
- Proof of scholarship funding (if applicable)
- Proof that you have private medical insurance (you cannot use travel insurance)
A €300 fee applies to all renewals and this is paid online at the time of application.
Please make sure you have your correct address in SiSweb as it will be printed in your documents. Your new IRP card will be posted to the address you provide.
Because of the regulations of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Bureau (INIS) students from outside the EU / EEA must obtain private health insurance (please see Health Insurers in Ireland below). UCD does not arrange health insurance for students.
Students from EU Member States in possession of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are entitled to public health services in Ireland. The EHIC card is available from the health authorities in your home country. For further information and information on your entitlements to healthcare while in Ireland, please see the European Health Insurance Card website.
Non-EU students must obtain private health insurance. You can purchase insurance in your home country; however, you will need to ensure that it is valid in Ireland and in any other countries you plan to travel to. There are different levels of private health insurance available. Students are advised to read their policy documents carefully. Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) requires that, if you have health insurance from your own country it must cover you up to €25,000 for in-hospital treatment.
If you are coming to Ireland to study on an academic course of one year or less, basic medical expenses insurance is available for approximately €160 from Study and Protect. This insurance policy will satisfy the visa/immigration requirement for private health insurance and can be obtained before students arrive in Ireland.
If you are coming to Ireland to study on an academic course of more than one year, you are deemed ‘ordinary resident’ from the moment you arrive in Ireland, and therefore require more comprehensive health insurance.
Further details on health insurance plans available to students are available via the Study and Protect website: https://www.studyandprotect.com/Student-Medical.aspx
Comprehensive plans are also available from one of the three main private health insurance companies in Ireland: VHI, Irish Life or Laya Healthcare. Please note that in order to apply for a policy from one of these companies you will need to provide an address in Ireland and you may also require a PPS number. We recommend that you check the waiting periods on these policies. Further information on health insurance in Ireland is available through the Health Insurance Authority website.
Health insurance must be purchased from within Ireland after the first year - this requirement is applicable to any student renewing their IRP card.
Stayback Visa - Stamp 1G
Ireland's stayback visa, also known as the Third Level Graduate Programme, allows non-EU/EEA students, who have graduated from Irish higher education institutions, to remain in Ireland to seek employment. You must have graduated after 1 January 2017 with a Level 8 or above degree to qualify.