How to secure Ireland student visa in easy steps
By Olushola Samuel
If you are an international student thinking of pursuing your studies in an Irish educational institution, you may need an Ireland Student Visa.
The student visa is one of Ireland’s long stay visas. It allows the holder to travel to Ireland with the purpose of pursuing a full-time educational course for longer than three months.
If you are from an EU/EEA member state or from Switzerland, you do not have to apply for an Ireland student visa, nor request permission to enter from Border Control. That’s because EU/EEA/Swiss nationals enjoy free movement to other EU/EEA member states for any tourism, study or work-related purposes.
Anyone who is not a citizen of EU/EEA member state or Switzerland has to ask for permission to enter from the immigration officers at Ireland Border Control.
Documents Required for Ireland student visa
Any official documents, such as Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates, Divorce Certificates that were issued by a State outside of the EEA or Switzerland, must be attested/apostilled as genuine by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the State that issued the document, in order that it can be accepted as evidence for Irish visa purposes. Such documents are required to be translated into English or Irish, if necessary.
The following documents are necessary for visa application:
✓ Application Form:
You must provide your signed and dated Application Form and the appropriate fee (where applicable). These must go with the supporting documents. Application fee is €60 (60 Euro)
✓Two colour passport sized photographs not more than 6 months old
✓ Your current passport and a full copy of all previous passports
✓ Evidence that you have enrolled on a privately funded course:
✓ You must submit a Letter of Acceptance from the college. The letter should:
• Confirm that you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time education, involving a minimum of 15 hours organised daytime tuition each week
• Give details of the course that you will be studying
• State the amount of fees payable for your course and
• State the amount that you paid
• State if applicable, that the college has taken out medical insurance on your behalf.
✓ Evidence accounting for any gaps in your educational history
✓ Evidence of fee payment to college
✓ Evidence that you have the academic ability to follow your chosen course:
This is done by providing your qualification certificates.
✓ Evidence of your level of English (or Irish)
The minimum standard of English for visa purposes is set out in the English language requirements for study visas document. Please submit a Certificate from the test provider with your visa application. This must show the results of your English language test. For IELTS, it is 5 band score in IELTS academic.
You must show evidence that you have immediate access to at least €10,000. This is the estimated cost of living in Ireland for a student for one academic year.
You must also demonstrate that you and/or your sponsor(s) have ready access to at least €10,000 for each subsequent year of your studies in addition to course fees for each of those years.
✓ Private Medical Insurance:
This should be in your letter of acceptance from your school or you arrange one yourself
✓ Previous Visa Refusals if applicable
✓ Summary of finances for study visa application
Ireland Student Visa eligibility
You can only apply for an Ireland student visa if you fulfill the following eligibility criteria:
• You have been accepted and are enrolled in an Irish educational institution.
• You are pursuing a full-time, day-time course which is on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP).
• The ILEP is a mechanism which the Irish government uses to measure which programmes are acceptable for international students to pursue.
• You have paid the course fees.
• If your course fee is up to €6,000, then the fee must be paid fully.
• If the fee is higher than €6,000, then you are required to have paid at least this amount before applying for the Ireland student visa.
• You must show evidence through an English language certificate, such as TOEFL or IELTS, which has been issued within the last two years. For example, the Ireland student visa IELTS requirements are a minimum score of 5.
• Additionally, if your course is in Irish, you must show you meet the Irish language requirements.
• If submitting a savings account, include a letter from the bank ensuring that you/your sponsor are allowed to take out money from the account.
• Proof you have obtained medical insurance.
If your school has included you on a Group Insurance Scheme, they must indicate so in the letter of acceptance issued to you.
How can I apply for Ireland student visa?
The application process for an Ireland student visa is divided into two parts: the online application and the submission of documents.
When applying online, you have to fill in an application form via AVATS, the Irish visa application facility. After completing the application form, you will receive a summary of the form, which you have to print. You will also be informed about where you can submit the required documents. There is no determined location since it changes based on the country you are from.
How long will it take to process Ireland student visa?
The processing times can vary between countries and visa office, embassy or consulates. They can also vary during high volume periods during the year. Generally, you can expect a decision within 8 weeks from the date on which you lodge your application.
Can I get permanent residency with Irish student visa?
After you graduate in an Irish educational institution, you may be eligible to apply for the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme. This Scheme allows recent graduates to remain in Ireland for an additional year so they can look for work or apply for an Ireland work permit.
If you find a job in Ireland and receive an Irish work permit, you may be eligible for permanent residency after five years, in some cases, after two years.