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The basics
Ireland: Visa Guides - Must read

How to apply for a post-study visa in Ireland

Ireland is home to a thriving economy and some of the most well-known companies in the world. It’s little wonder students want to stay after graduation. We explain how to apply for a post-study work visa in Ireland.

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One of the most important factors when choosing a country to study in is the ability to stay after graduation work, and fully immerse yourself in the culture you have enjoyed as a student. In Ireland, where graduates have strong career options and a great quality of life, this is especially true.


In this article, we explore post-study work permit options in Ireland and the application process.


The third level graduate programme


The third level graduate programme is an initiative created by the Irish government in 2007, allowing eligible graduates to look for and obtain employment within Ireland without needing an employment permit. Approved applicants will receive Stamp 1G immigration permission.


Who can apply?

You can make use of the third level graduate programme if you have recently completed your studies in Ireland and have received an Irish qualification at NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) level 8 (for example, a bachelor’s degree with honours) or above if you:


  • have an up-to-date immigration card and Stamp 2 student immigration permission
  • have not exceeded the seven-year limit of stay for non-EEA graduates
  • completed your qualification at an approved Irish awarding body
  • completed your qualification on or after 1 January 2017
  • have not applied more than twice to the programme.


International students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland do not need a visa. You may continue to live and work in Ireland after graduation if, after three months you are either employed or actively looking for work. 


How long can I stay?

The third level graduate programme allows you to stay in Ireland for 12 months. If the qualification you received was NFQ level 9 (for example, a master’s degree) or above, you may be able to renew and stay for a further 12 months.


The amount may be less if you are already nearing the seven-year limit of stay. If this is the case, you will be allowed to stay for the rest of the time allowed.


Discover more about the top universities in Ireland.


What rules are there?

The third level graduate programme allows you to:

  • look for work
  • work full-time or part-time.


It does not allow you to:

  • start a business or be self-employed
  • receive social welfare (government) payments
  • bring your family to Ireland (although they can still apply to live in the country as an individual).


You must buy and maintain adequate health insurance for the length of your time in Ireland.


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


Find out what Ireland has to offer international students


When to apply

You must apply to the third level graduate programme within (no later than) six months of completing your studies.


Read more about the top scholarships in Ireland.


What are the costs?

Registration for the Irish third level graduate programme costs EUR 300. If your application is not successful, the full amount will be returned to you. Remember, you will need to be able to afford to support yourself while you are in Ireland. Don’t forget to include costs like rent, bills, health insurance and travel costs into your budget.


You may find our article about the cost of living in Ireland helpful when budgeting. 


What documents do I need?

When you apply to the Irish third level graduate programme, you will need:


  • your passport (or another valid travel document)
  • your Irish Residence Permit (also known as your IRP card)
  • evidence of the qualification you have obtained, either:
    • a copy of the award granted to you at the end of your studies; or 
    • a letter of confirmation from your education provider detailing the course you have studied and that you have completed it 
  • evidence you have medical insurance.


If you are applying to extend your time in Ireland on the third level graduate programme you must meet certain requirements. You will need to provide evidence that you are employed or have been actively seeking graduate-level employment over the past 12 months.


Completing your application

To apply to the third level graduate programme, you will need to renew your immigration registration to receive a Stamp 1G. This must be done online. Make sure you have your credit or debit card ready to pay the fees associated with your application.


You must be living in Ireland when you renew your immigration registration. It is possible to apply to the Irish third level graduate programme online. 


After you apply

You will normally receive a decision about your application to the third level graduate programme within (no later than) six weeks. When you have received your decision, you will be posted a new IRP card.


Permission to remain

You must register with your local registration office to receive your Stamp 1G permission to remain. People living in Dublin can do this online. You must renew your permission to remain before your existing permission expires/ends.


Other work permit options


Do you want to know more about some of the other Irish employment permits available? Our table below details two of the most popular choices.


You might decide one of these is better for you than using the third level graduate programme. Or you might choose to switch to one of these after your permitted time in Ireland under the programme comes to an end. Whatever the case, it’s always a good idea to fully understand your options.


Permit type

Eligible applicants

Critical skills employment permit

Highly-skilled people seeking employment in a position listed on the Critical Skills Occupations List.

General employment permit

People looking for employment in Ireland.


Find out more about the range of employment permits available in Ireland.


Don’t forget!

Always be aware of your visa dates and conditions – 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.



If you had to study your course outside of Ireland because of COVID-19, you will most likely still be able to apply to the third level graduate programme.


Find out more about the rules related to COVID-19 and if they might affect your post-study work visa options.


Further your research into studying and working in Ireland by looking at universities in Ireland and searching for the ideal degree using our course matcher tool.