The ambition to acquire the best possible education is admirable indeed. And it is a direct path to a successful career in whatever field you choose. Why am I saying this? Ireland is a great choice if you are looking for quality studies, but not only that. It will be a place where you will find it rather easy to fit in as a foreigner because the hospitality and the friendly nature of the locals are world-renowned. But I bet you know all of this already, because you are trying to find more information about the Ireland study visa, and you have come to the right place!
I have written this article to save you some time in figuring out how to get Ireland visa. You will get to know that and way more. I will present some info on how much is Ireland visa fee, the most important steps in the Ireland visa process, and other aspects that will help with your Ireland visa application. So shall we cut to the chase? Here goes some basic information before we dive into the details of Ireland study visa in particular.
What are Ireland visa types?
Let’s start with a short introduction to the Ireland visa policy. The system is quite simple, and there are just three categories of Ireland visa types with easy distinction parameters. There is a transit visa, a short-stay visa (or the C type visa), and the long-stay, or so-called D type visas. Along with employment, volunteer, family reunion, researcher, minister/religion visas, this is also the category where your Ireland study visa would fit in. The short-stay visas would permit a stay of up to 90 days. But the D type - for as long as your purpose of stay mentioned in the application is valid. For example, until your studies finish or your job contract runs out.
What are Ireland visa free countries?
Ireland is a country that welcomes people from all over the world, which is why about half of the world’s nations belong to the list of Ireland visa free countries. These nationals can enter Ireland for up to 90 days for different purposes but employment. Nevertheless, the list of the allowed nationals for a visa-free long-term stay is much shorter. You should check the conditions applicable to your particular case with the official websites or diplomatic missions.
A common misconception is that you can apply for an Ireland Schengen visa or the other way around - enter Ireland with a Schengen visa. Let me clarify this one right away. Even though Ireland belongs to the European Union, it is not a part of the Schengen agreement. Unfortunately, it means that there is no such thing as an Ireland Schengen visa. For you, as a traveller, it just means that you can not rely on free movement across the Irish borders if you get either of two - the Schengen visa or the Irish visa. It might be slightly more liberal for the ones holding long-stay visas but check again with the institution that granted your visa.
How to get Ireland visa for students?
Generally, the process is quite standard. You should apply for Ireland visa in an embassy, consulate, or visa centre in the country of your residence. If such an institution is lacking, research the Foreign Affairs information and understand which of the closest diplomatic missions will be able to hand out this document for you. Unfortunately, at the moment, there is no e-Visa service available. But with the help of a request number, you can check Ireland visa status online from the comfort of your home.
What are Ireland visa requirements for students?
Unfortunately for you, the requirements are quite robust, and it makes much sense. The officials have to be sure of the legitimacy of your stay, and they will want to make sure you will not abuse the privilege of residing in this wonderful country.
The first and the most important requirement is that you have to be accepted to an educational institution in Ireland to be considered for obtaining an Ireland study visa. If this is true, then you will need to gather some documents to prove your eligibility. Here is the checklist:
- a passport that is valid for at least 12 months after your proposed date of arrival in Ireland;
- a recent passport-size two photos;
- a filled application form that explains your intentions;
- a letter from an Irish university, college, or school that confirms that you have been enrolled for a full-time course in this institution;
- proof that you’ve paid your tuition fees in full (or a minimum of 6 000 EUR paid if they exceed this sum);
- health insurance that matches the conditions on the intended visa;
- evidence that you will be able to sustain your finances during the stay. It means a scholarship proof, letter from your sponsor, or financial means that account for at least 7 000 EUR per year of study. No short-term employment or government funds can be considered for this entry;
- evidence of your academic abilities to follow the chosen course, including proof of English language proficiency (usually a certificate from the IELTS test);
- a proof of Ireland visa fee payment (if it applies to your case).
Nationals from China, India, Nigeria, Russia, United Arab Emirates, or the United Kingdom may be asked for further documentation. One of the best pieces of advice is to use the help of a student consultant within the educational institution you intend to study at. They will help with all the intricate details to make sure you don’t miss a thing in your application for the foolish reason of not knowing better. This is one of the smartest strategies to ensure a successful Ireland visa application outcome!
How much is Ireland visa fee for students?
The Ireland visa fee is quite democratic if you take into consideration that you will be spending extended time in the country. There are two different prices depending on your need to enter the country one or several times. A single-entry student visa will cost you 60 EUR, but a multiple-entry one will come at 100 EUR. Take into consideration that fees might differ slightly, but in most cases, you can count on this amount.
There are a few groups of applicants that don't need to pay any fee. For example, if you are a non-EU spouse of an EU citizen or are a long-term legal resident of the UK or the Schengen zone. It just means that you will still need to apply for a visa, but the fee will be waived. If you are still not sure if the fee applies to you or not, my best advice would be to contact the embassy, consulate, or visa office to clarify this detail.
How long will it take to get an answer to my submitted Ireland visa application?
Usually, you can expect to have a clear answer about your visa within 4-8 weeks after applying. Sometimes it takes longer, which is why everyone is advised to apply up to 3 months before your arrival date in Ireland. This way, you can be sure that there is enough time to process your information, and you won't be left stressing about your Ireland visa status in the last few days before departing. Leaving enough time to make some adjustments to your plans is always a smart idea.
Can I do an internship with my Ireland student visa?
Let me give you some good news. The answer is quite obvious. An integral part of the studies is also practical learning, i.e. an internship. This is why you are allowed to have a work placement that is strongly related to the theme of your studies and count towards obtaining your degree or diploma. This is the first requirement, and the second one - such an internship should take up no more than 50% of your study duration. For example, if your program lasts one year, then the internship should last less than 6 months.
Can I stay in Ireland to work after my studies have finished?
The answer is not unanimous. Not everyone that goes through an educational program in Ireland is allowed to stay longer to seek employment afterwards. But if you studied in one of the higher education institutions, you may be granted an additional year to your visa to find a job. For postgraduates, it is up to 2 years. If this might be of interest to you, just do some more research about Irish Government's Third Level Graduate Scheme, or talk to your consultant in the school/university you have chosen to study.
That’s it from me today. I hope that the Ireland visa policy didn’t leave you confused, and if it did - at least you got a steady base for further investigation into the topic. After all, the most important thing was my intention for your Ireland visa process to go smoothly, and you can call yourself a lucky Irish student in no time! Meanwhile, get yourself ready before you apply for Ireland visa because knowing what to expect is already half of the success.