How to apply for a full-time study visa in Ireland
A guide for citizens of Schedule 1 countries undertaking language courses in Ireland.
Who is this for?
This guide is for citizens of Schedule 1 countries, that is, for those of you who don’t need a visa to enter Ireland but need a visa to stay in Ireland for more than 90 days. Schedule 1 countries include countries such as Brazil, Mexico, South Korea or Japan. For a complete list of Schedule 1 countries click on the link.
A full-time study visa will allow you to stay in Ireland to undertake higher education programmes and language schools courses in Ireland. This guide is specifically aimed at students who wish to undertake language school courses.
How to pick the right language course?
The market for language courses is huge in Ireland. Given all the available choices it is quite difficult to pick a course that is right for you. Not all courses allow you to apply for a visa though. The school providing the course has to meet strict criteria laid out by the Irish government. You can find a list of language schools that offer visa recognised courses by following the link. You should also read our article on 7 things you need to consider before choosing your English course. In that article we examine various factors such as cost or school location that will help you pick a course that best suits your needs.
Booking the course
You have several options when it comes to actually booking the course. You can use an agency in your country or use an online booking portal. You can also decide to book directly with the school. We will examine the course booking process in more detail in a separate article.
Get all the required documents and proof of available funds
Having the following documents is essential to avoid any problems entering Ireland:
- Passport with an expiry date longer than your expected stay in Ireland
- A Letter of Acceptance from the college or language school, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time education.
- Confirmation of your address and length of stay.
- Receipt for payment of college fees.
- You must have access to €3,000 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.
Come to Ireland
Most people decide to enter Ireland using their Schedule 1 rights and apply for a student visa only once they are in Ireland. However, the airport immigration control will ask you questions regarding the purpose of your visit to Ireland, the duration of your stay, the place where you will be staying. They will also check if you have sufficient amount of money. For non EU/EEA Schedule 1 countries undertaking a language course that amount is €3,000. At the airport immigration control you can simply show cash but it is probably safer to use a pre-paid credit card service and have a balance statement ready. You can also use a bank statement from your native bank but only if your bank is able to issue it in English. Remember, all the documents you present at the immigration control have to be in English or have to be officially translated into English beforehand.
Congratulation for making it this far but it is not over yet. The next step is to register your stay at the Immigration Service.
Register with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service
If you are staying in Dublin, the registration office is located at the Burgh Quay Registration Office. You need to book an appointment online through their website beforehand. Do this as early as possible as this office is extremely busy. The next available slot may be several weeks away. The website recommends checking regularly for any cancellations.
At the meeting you will be asked to present supporting documents for your application. You will normally need the same set of documents you used when you entered the country (letter from school, proof of address, receipt of payment for college fees, access to money, private medical insurance). There is one difference though: you cannot show cash at the INIS office. You will need to provide one of the following to prove that you have access to at least €3,000:
- A bank statement
- Pre-paid card statement
- A postal order statement
You will also need to pay €300 visa application fee. You can pay it using a pay card or a bank slip.
If all is well, at the end of the process, you will get a stamp in your password. Your photo and fingerprints will be taken. You will also receive your GNIB card. The whole process may take about 2 hours and it’s always better to book a time as early in the morning as possible.
This article is for informational purposes only. 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org
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