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. Here is a useful timeline in relation to the application process, but please remember that processing times will differ for everybody and you should apply as early as possible, and some embassies do not accept applications after a certain date.
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.
All students from outside the EU/EEA, whether you require a visa or not, are subject to ordinary immigration processes at the port of entry or airport.
Here’s what will happen
- You will get a stamp on your passport for one or three months - we’ll talk about this below.
- You may be asked for additional documentation, so have the following (printed copies) to hand:
- Passport (with your visa if you require one)
- UCD offer letter
- Evidence of tuition fees paid, scholarship details or US Financial Aid
- Evidence of private medical health insurance.
- You’re through immigration control!
Open a Bank Account
Students staying for two semesters or more must open an Irish bank account on arrival in Ireland. There is a branch of the bank AIB located on the Belfield Campus, and information on opening an account with them is available online. Other banks will have similar options for students.
Registering with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS)
All students from outside the EU/EEA, whether you require a visa or not, must register with INIS after they have registered with UCD and before the expiry date stamped on their passport by immigration officials at the airport. You must attend an appointment in the INIS offices which are located in Dublin City Centre at 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.
You must book an appointment in advance using the online system.
Upon registration, you will be issued with an Irish Residence Permit (IRP). If you are talking to past students, the IRP was previously known as the ‘GNIB card’, and they may refer to it in this way.
Biometric data (fingerprinting) is part of this registration process.
Your IRP checklist
- Valid passport (showing entry visa if applicable)
- Evidence of financial support; e.g., current Irish bank statement showing your name and balance of at least €3000*, or a letter from your sponsoring body confirming financial status. Single semester students must have €500 for each month of their stay in Ireland. They are not required to open an Irish bank account.
- A Certificate of Attendance, available for download through your SISWeb account.
- Evidence of private medical insurance
- A credit/debit card for payment of €300 registration fee (or Bank Giro obtainable from INIS office)
On successful completion of your INIS registration, you will be issued with an IRP card. 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. If you do not receive the card within 10 working days, contact INIS at email@example.com with you full name, registration number (if available), nationality and date of birth.
Your IRP card is valid for one year (unless you are a single semester student). It must be renewed each year by the expiry date and pay a renewal fee of €300 every year. You must have private health insurance each year and if you are from a visa-required country, and wish to travel outside of Ireland, you must renew your re-entry visa every year (and pay the fee).
As immigration regulations can change, you should keep up to date by visiting www.inis.gov.ie.
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. INIS require that, if you have health insurance from your own country it must cover you up to €25,000 for in-hospital treatment.
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. For more information on this insurance please visit the Study and Protect website http://www.studyandprotect.com/
More comprehensive plans are available from one of the three main private health insurance companies in Ireland: VHI, AVIVA 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 for AVIVA’s service you need to have a PPS number. Also note that medical cover does not normally begin immediately with VHI or AVIVA. There is usually a ‘waiting period’ of six months.
Health insurance must be purchased from within Ireland after the first year - this requirement is applicable to any student renewing their IRP card.
Third Level Graduate Programme - Stamp 1G
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.