Visas & Immigration
Citizens of the US and Canada do not require a visa to enter the Republic of Ireland; however, there are many countries whose citizens are required to hold a valid visa to enter the country. For a complete list of countries whose citizens do, or do not require a visa, please visit the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS).
If a visa is required, it is generally issued to students who have been accepted into a full-time degree course and who satisfy funding requirements. It is advisable to allow at least eight weeks (or more) for processing. To begin the visa application process, visit the INIS website and use the AVATS on-line facility.
Whether you require a visa or not, all persons entering Ireland are subject to ordinary immigration control and should be prepared to present the following documents to the immigration officer at your port of entry:
- Valid passport
- Visa documents (if applicable)
- Official university acceptance letter
- Evidence of tuition fees paid
- Evidence of adequate funding* (e.g. a bank statement, credit card statement, loan documents)
- Proof of Health Insurance
*The immigration authorities will expect to see that a full-time student has at least €3000 available to them when they enter the country. As an alternative for providing proof of financial viability, Education Bond Ireland can be used by students to satisfy entry requirements as well as formal immigration registration.
Traveling to Ireland
Daily flights can be found easily between Ireland and North America and from all over the globe. Most of the major international air-carriers are represented in Ireland. There are four main international airports in the Republic of Ireland located at Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock and one in Belfast, which is in Northern Ireland. Student discounts may be available by contacting STA Travel or the Canadian Federation of Students for more information.
Ireland also has a modern and expansive infrastructure of transportation methods available. Whether traveling throughout the country as part of your studies or simply to enjoy the rich, historical and beautiful land for which Ireland is famous, it makes the journey relatively effortless.
The Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service require that all non-EU students have private health insurance while studying in Ireland. Students should be prepared to present proof of insurance when arriving in Ireland.
Police Clearance Certificates
The Irish National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012, requires all students to undergo a police vetting process (criminal background check) to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults in clinical settings.
Consequently, students are required to provide a Police Clearance Certificate from each country where they have resided for a period of 6 months or more since the age of 16.
- Students from Canada should provide the RCMP Criminal Record Check.
- Students from the USA should provide the FBI Identity History Summary
Healthcare professions have a duty to provide proper care to the public, and, accordingly, in the interests of the safety of both patients and students, Irish health care regulations require that a student entering a health care-related program undergo a health screening at the university health centers after registration with the school. This is required to ensure that students are free of any infectious disease that may cause harm to patients, other students or faculty.
Documents for such screenings are provided by the universities should an offer of admission be received. Please note that there is an associated cost of approximately €225 – €300 (depending on the school) for health screening. Health screening fees are payable to the university.
The Garda Síochána, more commonly referred to as the Gardaí (the Irish term for the Police), require all non-Irish nationals, who are not citizens of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, to register in person with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) after arrival and after completion of registration with the university. The GNIB will issue you a Certificate of Registration/GNIB card.
At this registration, it is required to present a variety of documents such as a valid passport, a student identification card (available at university registration), evidence of financial support (e.g. a bank statement) and proof of private health insurance coverage to name a few.
There is a €300 fee payable at the time of this registration, and it must be paid by credit card or ATM card. This fee cannot be paid in cash. You will be asked to re-register with the GNIB each year, after registration with the university. The fee may be less for subsequent registrations.
IMPORTANT NOTE: International students under the age of 18, at the time of registration, may be expected to have met one of the conditions noted below:
- Be in possession of a letter, with original signature, from his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) stating specifically that the student has the authorization to be in Ireland, on his or her own, attending university for studies
- Be accompanied by a parent or guardian until the student reaches age 18
Banking & Currency
The official currency of Ireland is the Euro. There is a modern financial system in Ireland and banking is as simple and convenient as it is in North America. There are four major banks in Ireland, Allied Irish Banks (AIB), Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, and Permanent TSB.
In order to open a bank account you will need to show (i) a photo ID (passport is best) and (ii) proof of your address in Ireland. Once you have completed registration, the university will provide you with an official letter stating your Irish address and confirming that you are a registered student. You can then use this letter to open your bank account.
Working in Ireland
NON-EU students registered in a full-time degree course for at least one academic year are permitted to work part-time, up to 20 hours per week during term time, and up to 40 hours per week during holidays. Upon registration with the Garda National Immigration Bureau(GNIB) students receive their permission to stay in the country, which will contain a stamp reflecting this allowance.
Once in Ireland students should register with the student travel organization USIT, which provides employment related advice and informative public information sessions in their offices.
Spouses and Partners
Irish immigration regulations require spouses and partners of non-EU students who wish to remain in Ireland (beyond the standard 90 day allowance) to apply for Permission to Remain from the Department of Justice and Equality, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. To apply for Permission to Remain, the couple must demonstrate that they have adequate funding and private health insurance.
A spouse/partner can also register as a student or possibly secure their own work permit in which case they will not need to seek Permission to Remain.
If you wish to bring your spouse or partner with you while studying in Ireland then you should visit the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website, and/or contact the Irish Embassy or a Consular Office in your home country. They can provide you with official details and guidance on the process.
Cost of Living
On average, students will spend approximately €18,000 (Euros) per year on living expenses (housing, food, supplies, transportation, books, etc.). Medical school students should also consider that there may be additional costs associated with board exams and interviews for residency positions.