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The basics
Ireland: Visa Guides - Must read

How to apply for a student visa in Ireland

If you’re looking to study in Ireland and are wondering what it takes to apply for a student visa, you’re in the right place. Our guide will take you through everything from the regulations to the dates.

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Famous for its stunning scenery and welcoming culture, many students turn to Ireland to fulfil their dreams of studying abroad. With historic universities and a world-class education system, it’s easy to see the attraction.


It’s only natural to think that applying for an Irish student visa might seem difficult but don’t worry, we are here to help you make sense of it all.


Which visa is right for you?


Before you begin your application, use our helpful table to check which type of visa is best for you. You do not need a visa to study in Ireland if you are a citizen of an:


  • EU/EEA member state or Switzerland
  • exempt country 


Which visa is right for me?

I want to…

Visa type

study in Ireland for less than three months

Short ‘C’ visit (study) visa

study in Ireland for three months or more

Long term study visa


This article will show you the process of applying for an Irish long term study visa, commonly known as the ‘student visa’.


What courses can I study?


International students in Ireland can study on any educational course which:


What does an Irish student visa allow?


A student visa will permit you to study and live in Ireland for the duration of your chosen course, up to (maximum of):


  • seven years for a degree programme; or
  • three years for an English language or non-degree programme.


You will need to renew your visa each year for as long as your studies continue.



Most international students in Ireland can work for up to 20 hours a week in term time and 40 hours a week during study breaks.


Other rules

An Irish student visa does not allow you to:

  • receive social welfare (government) payments
  • be self-employed
  • change course during your first year of study
  • change from a degree programme course to an English language or non-degree course (or vice versa)
  • bring your family to Ireland (though there are exceptions, and of course, your family members can still apply to live in Ireland in their own right).


Be aware that every visa is unique. Visas are given on a case-by-case basis. Yours may include other conditions depending on your circumstances.


Get ready

Before you apply for your Irish student visa, you will need:


  • a current passport, valid for at least 12 months after your anticipated (expected) arrival date; and
  • a Letter of Acceptance from your chosen education provider.


Your Letter of Acceptance

You will need to submit a copy of your Acceptance Letter from your chosen education provider with your application. The letter must:


  • confirm that you have enrolled on your chosen course
  • give details of the course
  • state the total amount of fees payable; and
  • state the amount you have paid so far.


Health Insurance

International students in Ireland must have private medical insurance covering accidents, disease, and hospitalisation for the length of their studies. Some colleges have health plans which automatically cover their students. If this is the case for you, it will be stated in your Letter of Acceptance.

To prove you have satisfactory health insurance when you apply for your student visa, you will need to provide:


  • evidence that you have bought private medical insurance in Ireland
  • evidence that your travel insurance will cover you sufficiently for the length of your stay (first-year students only); or
  • your Letter of Acceptance states that medical insurance has been taken out for you.


You can find more information about the specific requirements of health insurance when studying in Ireland.


When to apply

You can apply for your Irish student visa up to (a maximum of) three months before you plan to travel. The Irish government indicate that you should receive a decision on your visa application within eight weeks. 



The costs of an Irish student visa application are:


  • EUR 60 for a single-entry visa
  • EUR 100 for a multi-entry visa.


Some people are exempt from (don’t have to pay) visa fees in Ireland, you can check if the visa fee exemption applies to you.


When you submit your visa application, you also need to include evidence that you have paid course fees of at least EUR 6,000 (or the full amount if the total fee is less). You should supply either:


  • a copy of an Electronic Transfer of Funds to your education provider; or
  • a valid receipt showing fees have been sent to an approved student fees payment service e.g. as offered by Pay to Study.


You will need to show that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Ireland. This means you must have documents to prove that you/your sponsor have access to at least:


Length of course

Amount available immediately

Future amounts

Less than six months

  • EUR 500 per month; or
  • EUR 3,000 (whichever is less)

Does not apply

More than six months

  • EUR 7,000
  • EUR 7,000 for each subsequent year of studies; and
  • course fees for each of those years.


Find out more about accepted documentation to prove your financial situation. We also have helpful articles available about the cost of living in Ireland and tuition fees.


Knowledge of English

You may also need to prove you understand the English language when you apply. The level of English you need to be able to understand depends on your course, as shown in the below table.


Level you’re studying at

Minimum CEFR level (or equivalent)

2nd level, foundation level, or preparatory English course


All other courses



To do this, you’ll need a certificate of results from an approved English language test obtained in the last two years (Note: in response to COVID-19, this has been temporarily extended to three years). Explore more about specific language rules.


Knowledge of Irish

If your course is taught in the Irish language, you must provide a written statement from your education provider explaining how they have assessed your ability to speak and write in Irish.


Other requirements for an Irish student visa



You will need to supply two recent passport photos.


Letter of explanation

You will need to write a letter explaining why you want to study in Ireland and the dates you plan to arrive and leave. Find out more information about the requirements for a letter of explanation.


Academic evidence

You must provide documentation (e.g. exam results or academic transcripts) showing that you have the academic ability to study your course. You will also need to explain any periods when you have not been in full-time education.


Historic passports

You must supply copies of all previous (expired) passports.


Under 18s

There are some extra checks required if you are under 18. You can find out about the documents you will need to submit on the Irish government website.


Completing your student visa application


You will need to complete your application form online. Make sure you have your credit or debit card ready to pay the fees associated with your application. You can begin your application for an Irish student visa online.


After you apply

A decision is usually made within (no later than) eight weeks but remember all applications are different, so it may take longer.


Permission to remain

When you arrive in Ireland, you must register with your local immigration office within (no later than) 90 days to be given permission to remain. You can find out how to apply for permission to remain.


Don’t forget!

Check your visa dates and conditions when you receive it, these will tell you what you can and cannot do when you are in Ireland. If you think there has been a mistake on your visa, you must contact the Department of Justice for it to be changed.


With your new understanding of the Irish student visa requirements, you can now confidently explore universities in Ireland.