In Autumn 2021, the Irish government reopened its borders and invited international students back. After nearly a year of virtual classes, overseas students will finally be able to study Ireland and participate in face-to-face learning as part of their curriculum. This makes the Emerald Isle an extremely appealing option for those interested in studying abroad.
Students should start by researching the courses available in Irish higher education institutions, as well as the admissions and application procedures. A student visa is one of the most crucial processes and criteria to meet. Let’s take a look at each phase of the visa process to ensure that applicants have a smooth experience.
First and foremost, determine whether you require a visa and, if so, what type of visa you require. If you are an EU citizen or have a family member who is an EU citizen, you may not need an Irish study visa. A Study Visa is required for the great majority of Indian students. Non-EU students would normally apply for a long-stay ‘D’ visa, which allows them to stay for more than 90 days.
Remember to check with Quality and Qualifications Ireland to see if your course is approved. Make sure you know when you need to apply and when you need to submit it. The application process usually begins four months before the commencement of your study. The Approval in Principle scheme is available to students who are seeking for an undergraduate degree and expect a late school result.
Only those who have gotten a late offer can apply for a visa three weeks before the start date of the course. In all other cases, visa applications submitted less than three weeks before the start of the course would be rejected by the visa office. After you’ve gathered all of your information, you can start filling out the online visa application form.
Please note that a visa fee of €60 (for single entrance) or €120 (for multiple entry) is required as an administration fee to cover the cost of processing your application.
Make sure the university or college you’ll be attending is properly written on the signed Avats summary sheet. Students can use the summary application form provided by the online system to follow the instructions. This form, as well as accompanying paperwork, must be submitted.
Students are encouraged to use the VFS Check and Verify Service, which allows VFS personnel to complete a series of pre-checks and early validations on essential supporting documents, easing the INIS evaluation process.
Provisional school/university results, original documents, and passport, as well as supporting documents such as the student supplementary form, a Police Clearance Certificate, financial documents, an English test result, and a cover letter, will be expected to be sent to the visa office.
Students must demonstrate that they have adequate means to support themselves in Ireland without relying on state funds or temporary work. Students and/or their sponsors should be able to demonstrate that they have ready access to at least €7,000 every academic year.
Applicants must additionally demonstrate their ability to complete their chosen course in English by providing a Certificate from the test provider demonstrating that the results of the English language exam met the minimum standard necessary for visa purposes.
A handy resource to have on hand is the Student Information Leaflet and Checklist. As part of the application process, applicants may be asked to supply biometric data.
Each student must persuade the Visa Officer that a visa should be granted for the purpose requested. Before submitting, double-check that the documents are complete and in the correct order. If the Visa Office needs more information, it may interview some applicants.
Before applying for a visa, applicants are normally expected to have paid their entire course fee. Students should check with their educational institutions to determine when they must pay their tuition fee—either in advance of their visa application or at the time of course enrollment. If the latter is the case, a visa application will only be considered if at least half of the total course fee has been paid.
The Visa Office handles applications within 4 to 6 weeks after they are submitted. They are processed in the order in which they were received. Before booking travel tickets, students should usually wait for the outcome of their visa application. Before receiving a final permission, those who applied in principle must discuss their final results with their institution and the Visa Office.
Applicants are strongly cautioned not to share any incorrect or misleading information or supporting paperwork, as this could result in application rejection and future entrance into Ireland.
Remember that how well you plan ahead of time and manage expectations will result in a better, more seamless preparation for your study abroad ambition. To stay up to date on the newest rules and news, talk to your institution frequently and obtain their advice. Refer to and rely on only trusted resources such as INIS, VFS, and DFA. Keep your eyes on the prize while adhering to deadlines- best of luck, and we’ll see you in Ireland!