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Ireland: Visa Guides - Must read

Applying for a visa: Post-study visa options in Ireland

Read our guide to post-study visa options for international students who’ve just graduated and wish to remain in Ireland, namely the Third Level Graduate Scheme

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With Ireland offering some excellent career opportunities and a quality lifestyle, it is little wonder that international students graduating in the country may want to stay to work and live there. In this article, we explore how to apply for a post-study work visa in Ireland and what the requirements are. This includes focusing on the current graduate schemes in place for students. 


How do I check my immigration status?  

Your immigration status in Ireland depends on whether you are an EEA, EU or Swiss student or not. The EEA stands for the European Economic Area and includes all countries in the EU as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Switzerland is not part of the EU or the EEA, however, nationals from the country are classed similarly to those from the European Union. 


Take some time to find out what Ireland offers international students


What happens if I am an EU/EEA/Swiss student? 


If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss student, you do NOT have to apply for anything further to remain in the country. After three months in Ireland, there are a few simple terms or rules which you must satisfy though, namely you must be actively seeking employment and generally not become a burden to the state i.e. apply to receive financial benefits. This means you should ideally have a way to support yourself financially while searching for employment. 


Discover the top universities in Ireland


What happens if I am NOT an EU/EEA/Swiss student?


If you come from a country that is outside of the EU/EEA or Switzerland you have a few options available to you with the most significant being the Third Level Graduate Scheme.


What is the Third Level Graduate Scheme?


Since 2007, non-EEA graduates who are legal residents in Ireland and who’ve graduated from a third-level and recognised institution have been allowed to remain in the country to seek employment or apply for a green card or permit. Students must have graduated with a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. Further students must satisfy the following conditions:


  • Up to date immigration card and Stamp 2 student immigration permission.

  • Not have exceeded the seven-year limit of stay for non-EEA graduates

  • Not have applied more than twice to the programme 

  • Have evidence of the qualification earned


Make sure that you have a look at some of the universities from which you can obtain a recognised qualification:



What are the terms of the scheme?


Students completing a postgraduate programme could be permitted to stay for 24 months in total after graduation, with the grant being made in two 12-month periods. During this time, they must meet the terms of their student permission to live in the country, namely they can only work for up to 40 hours per week without a work permit. Those whose degree is level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications can remain in Ireland under the scheme for 12 months.


What documents do I need?


You will need the following in order to make an application for a post-study work visa in Ireland:


  • An original letter signed by your university’s College Registrar to confirm that you’ve completed the course of study to a satisfactory standard and to confirm the qualification you’ve obtained.

  • Current passport

  • Immigration card 

  • Current Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB card)


What happens after the scheme duration has expired?


Once the six, 12 or 24 months (depending on the level of your degree) have passed, you must have one of the following to remain in Ireland:


  • A Green Card or work permit

  • Permission to remain by pursuing further study

  • Permission through another scheme


You can find out more about working in Ireland on the ICOS website and you can also explore some of the accommodation options you have available to you in Ireland.


Are there other options?


There are also options like the Green Card Scheme and the Work Permit Scheme where there are labour shortages. Both allow the individual to remain in the country for up to two years. There are also terms relating to the annual salary required for these schemes.


Now that you know about the options available to you to remain in Ireland after your studies, start searching for a course abroad in Ireland.