Visa Information


Immigration Regulations:

If you are an EU citizen, there are no visa requirements when entering Ireland.

If you are not an EU citizen please contact your nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate to find out whether or not you require an entry visa or you may enquire from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Those who do not have an Irish diplomatic mission in their home country should download a visa application form well in advance of their departure  

Please note that, it is possible for international students who require a visa and are residing in certain countries to apply directly to the Department of Foreign Affairs online. A full list of these countries and the link to the online application form is available at

Please note that, although applications may be made through the Department of Foreign Affairs, the decision on visa applications will be made by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

 Important: Apply for your visa well in advance and allow six to eight weeks for your application to be processed if you are applying from abroad.
In their application students will be asked to supply the following information:

Valid passport:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the expected completion of your studies in Ireland. If you hold any previous passport, you should also submit this with your application.

Note: The primary purpose for a student to be in the State is to study. It is not permissible for a student to come to Ireland to undertake a part-time course, or a distance learning course.

Evidence of Course:

  • A letter of Acceptance from the college, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time education, involving a minimum of 15 hours organised daytime study each week.
  • This letter should specify the course you will be studying. The course that you are going to pursue must be included in the Internationalisation Register administered by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI)
  • It should confirm the amount of fees payable for your course, and that this amount has been paid.
  • If the college has taken out medical insurance on your behalf, details of this must be contained in this letter of acceptance.

Note: The primary purpose for a student to be in the State is to study. It is not permissible for a student to come to Ireland to undertake a part-time course, or a distance learning course.

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 this level of English

Level of English: 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 IELTS test, and provide the original certificate with your visa application.
  • Other acceptable certificates will be those from an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or Cambridge or ETAPP
  • 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.
  • Any certificate must have been issued within 2 years of the expected commencement date of your course.
  •  The recommended band scores are :
    • IELTS minimum score of 5
    • TOEFL minimum score of:
      • 173 (Computer-based)
      • 61 (Internet-based)
      • 500 (Paper-based)
    • Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE) or higher
    • ETAPP – Minimum grade of B2

NOTE: This is for immigration purposes only if the English language requirement of the university is higher than the scores above, you must meet the university requirements. (Students applying solely for an English Language course are currently exempt from this requirement).


  • The processing times for Student Visa Applications vary depending on the volumen of applications lodged, and the time it takes for an application to reach the Visa section in Dublin from the Embassy in which it was lodged
  • You should allow as much time as possible when applying for a visa but a minimum time of 8 weeks is recommended.
  • Visa decisions are published weekly on You can check a decision by entering the Visa Reference Number.

Right of Appeal

If you are refused a visa you may appeal this decision within 2 months
Appeals must be submitted in writing to:
The Visa Appeals Officer,
Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform
13-14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2

  • If you applied to the Visa Office in Abuja, Beijing, Cairo, London, Moscow or New Delhi, you should submit your appeal to the relevant office.
  • Your appeal should fully address all the reasons for which your application was refused. Any additional supporting documentation should be submitted with your appeal for consideration.
  • You must quote your Visa Reference Number on your appeal, along with your name and nationality. There is no fee payable for appealing a visa refusal decision.
  • There will be no appeal allowed if you are found to have given false or misleading information in any part of your application, or submitted false, forged or fraudulent documentation.

Re-Entry Visa

  • The initial visa issued to you will be valid for a single entry to the State
  • If you have a valid reason for leaving the State for a short period of time you must apply, in advance of making any arrangements, to the Department of Foreign Affairs, for a re-entry visa.
  • You must be able to prove you will be continuing with your studies on your return to the State
  • Before a re-entry visa can be issued, you must be registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau
  • For information on how and where you can apply for a Re-Entry visa please see link to ‘Re-entry Visas’ on
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa (where relevant) for the country you intend travelling to
  • Note: A visa must be obtained from the UK authorities prior to travelling to Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland consists of Counties Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone)

Study Visa Renewal

You are responsible for renewing your GNIB registration card each time it expires. It will usually expire at the end of your academic year, and must be renewed for the coming academic year of your course. To renew your GNIB registration card, you will need a letter from the collegel with details of your course and your course attendance over the past year. Note that if your attendance is low, you may not be given permission to stay for the next year of your course.