Immigration and student visa information

If you are considering choosing Ireland as your language learning destination, you will need to know if you require a visa to study and travel to Ireland. The first step is to find out which country’s citizens need a visa to travel to Ireland. 

The information below will give an overview of key areas to think about.

For the most up to date information on visa requirements, please see the Citizens Information website.

If you are from a non-EEA/EU country that requires a visa, you must apply online for your student visa before you come to Ireland. Supporting information from the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) is available in several languages.
When you complete the online application form, you will be given a unique reference number which can be used to track your application. You will also receive a summary of the supporting documentation required, the fee you need to pay, and where everything should be submitted to (often the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate).

If you are from a non-EEA country, but do not need a visa to travel to Ireland, you will still need to explain to the immigration officer at the border control that you are coming to Ireland to study.

You will need to have copies of your acceptance letter from your school, college or university, proof that you have paid the course fees, and proof that you access to at least €3000.

(Important: it is not normally possible to change to student status if you receive a tourist immigration stamp on arrival).

You will also need to register with immigration authorities soon after arrival in Ireland if staying for more than 90 days (or before the date on your passport stamp, if earlier). Continue reading for further details.

If you are from a country which is part of the European Union (EU) or  the European Economic Area (EEA) & Switzerland, you do not need a visa to travel to Ireland.

If you are from a non-EEA country, but do not need a visa to travel to Ireland, you will still need to explain to the immigration officer at the border control that you are coming to Ireland to study.

If you do not require a visa to travel to Ireland, you will still need to register with immigration after you arrive to Ireland if you plan to stay for more than 90 days.

Here is a summary of some of the key requirements (the full list of requirements can be found here):

***NOTE: You need to check that the course you are interested in is on the ILEP. If you choose a course that is not on the ILEP your visa will be refused.***

  • Evidence that you have paid the course fees (currently you an not expected to pay more than €6000 before your visa has been approved).
  • Evidence that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while studying in Ireland. You will need to show that you or your sponsor have access to €7000 – the current estimated cost of living in Ireland for a student for one academic year.

***NOTE: You must explain where the money in your bank account has come from – personal savings, a loan, a sponsor etc***

  • Evidence of private medical insurance. Learn more
  • A passport valid for at least 12 months after your proposed arrival date.

If you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss national and will be staying in Ireland to study for more than 90 days, you will need to register with the Irish immigration services.

Immigration services in Ireland are managed by two government bodies – the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) and the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

If you are living in Dublin you will register with the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) at Burgh Quay. To register you will need to make an appointment online at

For general immigration registration queries contact

It is recommended that you try to book your appointment in advance of your arrival in Ireland. Appointment times are made available at 10:00am and 14:30pm only. This means you should only try to book an appointment at this specific times.

If you are living outside of Dublin, you will register with your local Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

To register as a student and be issued with an Irish Residency Permit card, you will need to bring the following documentation:

  • Your passport.
  • An acceptance letter from your school / college confirming that you are a registered student and that you have paid your course fees.
  • Your student ID card, if applicable – a university or large college will provide you with one when you register as a full-time student; smaller schools and colleges may not issue student cards.
  • Your medical insurance policy.
  • Proof of finances if you did not require a visa to come to Ireland.  For more information, see ISD’s guidance notice.
  • A €300 fee is also required. You must pay for this with a visa or debit card. Cash is not accepted.

Once you have registered, your IRP card will be posted to you within 10-15 working days.

IRP cards are issued for different lengths of time depending on the type of course being studied. If you are studying at an English language school, you will receive an 8 month visa.

Students on an Erasmus Plus funded Programme standing in front of mountains in Ireland.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If you include incorrect or incomplete documents in your application
  • If you submit false documents, you will automatically be refused a visa and you will be prohibited from applying for another visa for 5 years***NOTE: It may not be possible to recover your course fees if your visa application is refused due to submitting false documents***
  • When applying for your student entry visa, you will need to show that you have sufficient funds to cover the entire period of your course, without having to rely on income from a part-time job.

The immigration officer can refuse you entry if they are not satisfied with your documentation or your answers to their questions.
Be sure to bring all of the documents you have received from your school or university (e.g. acceptance letter, insurance cover, proof of finance etc) so that you can show a complete record to the immigration officer.

One of the reasons to take care in choosing your course is because there are immigration restrictions on changing course/college. A change is not normally permitted during the first year of study and a student would need to show exceptional circumstances to receive permission to do so.

In general, non-EEA students have no rights to bring their families with them to Ireland. Therefore partners, spouses and children will have to make their own visa applications.

Students will not be allowed to be joined by children, except those born during their stay.

Advice from the immigration service makes clear that non-EEA students can only take holidays during an English course if the dates are part of their agreed timetable. This means that a student who would like to take a short holiday during their course should first get agreement in writing when they book their course.

Students should be aware that there is no requirement for English language schools to allow such holiday requests at the time of booking, and some may not have the flexibility to do so.