VISA requirements and application procedure to study in Ireland

Overseas students wishing to study in Ireland have two options:
a) Attend secondary school in Ireland and complete the Leaving Certificate Examination with Irish students. This route is chosen by a number of students who commonly take the examination in conjunction with English language tuition.
b) Undertake recognised public examinations in their own countries. This is a more common route and it is essential that every applicant check that the educational qualifications she/he is presenting are adequate to satisfy entry requirements.
As English is the language of instruction at all Irish Institutions of higher education, students must demonstrate a proficiency in English. Generally, the required minimum score in TOEFL is 550. Many universities and colleges provide English Language training programmmes for intending students.

The application process should be started at least one year in advance of the proposed arrival in Ireland. Before submitting your application it is essential to gather as much information as possible about:
  • The course of study you are planning to take
  • The institution you are planning to attend.
  • Student Visa
  • Funding
  • Accommodation
Visa Application Procedure
The international students can download a visa application from the following website: In their application students should supply the following information:
Valid passport:
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the expected completion of your studies in Ireland. If you hold any previous passport, you should also submit this with your application.
Evidence of Course:
  • A letter of Acceptance from the college, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time education, involving a minimum of 15 hours organised daytime study each week.
  • This letter should specify the course you will be studying. The course that you are going to pursue must be included in the Internationalisation Register administered by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI)
  • It should confirm the amount of fees payable for your course, and that this amount has been paid.
  • If the college has taken out medical insurance on your behalf, details of this must be contained in this letter of acceptance.
Ability to Follow Your Chosen Course:
You must provide evidence that you have attained the necessary level of academic achievement required to follow your chosen course. Such evidence will include - exam results, qualifications obtained and certificates proving this level of English
Level of English:
  • It is recommended that all applicants, regardless of nationality or educational background, undertake the IELTS test, and provide the original certificate with your visa application.
  • Other acceptable certificates will be those from an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or Cambridge or ETAPP
  • Any certificate must have been issued within 2 years of the expected commencement date of your course. The recommended scores are:
  • IELTS minimum score of 5
  • TOEFL minimum score of:
    • 173 (Computer-based)
    • 61 (Internet-based)
    • 500 (Paper-based)
Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE) or higher
ETAPP - Minimum grade of B2

NOTE: If the English language requirement of the college is higher than the scores above, you must meet the college requirements.

Where the course fees are less than €6,000, fees must be paid in full to the college, prior to applying for your visa. Evidence of the amount paid should be included in your Letter of Acceptance from the college. Where the course fees are in excess of €6,000, you must pay at least this amount prior to applying for your visa, and evidence of this should be shown in your Letter of Acceptance.
Applicant's Self-sufficiency:
Applicants must provide evidence that they have sufficient funds to support their stay in Ireland, including emergencies, without recourse to State funds.

Employment Details of applicant:
If the applicant is in employment the employer must state
  • That all course costs are being met by the Employer or, if the employee is meeting the costs, the employer must state that in the opinion of the employer the employee has the financial resources to meet all such costs
  • The length of leave being granted to the employee and this must not differ from the stated duration of the course on which the applicant has been accepted
  • The purpose of participating in the proposed course of study
  • The applicants level of pay and the currency it is received in
  • 3 Recent passport photographs
Point to note:
Apply for your visa well in advance and allow six to eight weeks for your application to be processed.
VISA Processing Time
The processing times for Student Visa Applications vary depending on the volume of applications lodged, and the time it takes for an application to reach the Visa section in Dublin from the Embassy in which it was lodged You should allow as much time as possible when applying for a visa but a minimum time of 8 weeks is recommended. Visa decisions are published weekly on you can check a decision by entering the Visa Reference Number.
Published on 5/16/2011 4:42:00 PM
VISA requirements and application procedure to study in Ireland

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