Full-time study visa in Ireland
by Pawel Zosik
Do I need a visa to study in Ireland?
Citizens of EU (European Union) or EEA (European Economic Area) countries do not need a study visa in Ireland.
Citizens of Schedule 1 countries are entitled to stay in Ireland for 90 days. Therefore, if you are a Schedule 1 country citizen and you enrol on a course that runs for less than 90 days, you won't need to apply for a study visa.
Students who are not from an EU or EEA state and who want to stay in Ireland to study for more than 90 days will need to apply for a study visa. This also applies to citizens of Schedule 1 countries.
What courses will allow me to apply for a study visa
In order to apply for a study visa you must apply for a full-time course. Here you have a choice between a higher education programme or a language school. The rules are slightly different in each case.
Higher education programmes
Since 1 June 2015, you have to enrol on a programme leading up to at least Level 7 of the National Framework of Qualifications (equivalent of Bachelor's degree) in order to be eligible to apply for a student visa.
The maximum time you can spend studying in Ireland is 7 years. There are exceptions to this limit for Ph.D students, medicine students and, for instance, in case of an illness.
It is very important to carefully choose your language school. Your language course has to be provided by an institution that the Irish Government monitors and recognises.
Since 21 January 2016, the immigration permission to attend a 25-week English-language course is reduced from 12 months to 8 months. You are effectively required to enrol on a 6 months course in order to get an 8 months visa. The two remaining months are considered holidays and you can spend them as you like. You are allowed to enrol on a maximum of three courses one after another. This gives you 24 months as the maximum time you can stay in Ireland on a study visa for the purpose of studying English.
Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP)
Irish government maintains and publishes a list of institutions and courses that entitle you to apply for a student visa.
The ILEP list is available via the link.
Student Visa checklist
- A Letter of Acceptance from the college or language school, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time education.
- Receipt for payment of college fees. You must pay any fees up to the amount of €6,000 in advance. If your fees are more than €6,000, you must pay at least €6,000 in advance.
- You must have access to €3,000 in your bank account at first registration in addition to your course fees.
- All students are required to have private medical insurance, either personally or through a group scheme operated by your college, at time of registration.
Can I work during my stay in Ireland?
After successful application for a student visa you will receive Immigration STAMP 2 for Non-EEA national attending a full time course of study. With that you have the following entitlements:
This person is permitted to remain in Ireland to pursue a course of studies on condition that the holder does not engage in any business or profession other than casual employment (defined as 20 hours per week during school term and up to 40 hours per week during school holidays) and does not remain later than a specified date. Also the person has no recourse to public funds unless otherwise provided.
School holidays, i.e., the periods of time you are allowed to work full-time, are clearly defined and are as follows: 1 June - 30 September and 15 December - 15 January
This guide is a compilation of information that can be found on various Irish official websites. Please check pages below for more detailed information.
While we want to keep the information up-to-date, laws and regulations tend to change. When applying for a visa, always double and triple check every information. If you notice any incorrect information on this page, please contact us