Visas and Immigration

Study Visas

Students from EU and EEA member states do not require a visa to study in Ireland.

Students from Non EU member states are required to comply with Irish Visa and Immigration regulations.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain and maintain a valid passport and Study Visa* to enter Ireland for study purposes.

Visa Exempted Countries

Citizens of the countries listed below do not require a visa to enter Ireland, but must still register their presence in the Irish State with the Garda National Immigration Bureau after arrival in Ireland. Citizens from countries not appearing on this list are required to obtain a Study Visa to study in Ireland.

 

Andorra

Guatemala

Poland

Antigua & Barbuda

Guyana

Portugal

Argentina

Honduras

Romania

Australia

Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region)

Saint Kitts & Nevis

Austria

Hungary

Saint Lucia

The Bahamas

Iceland

Saint Vincent & the Grenadines

Barbados

Israel

Samoa

Belgium

Italy

San Marino

Belize

Japan

Seychelles

Bolivia

Kiribati

Singapore

Botswana

Latvia

Slovak Republic

Brazil

Lesotho

Slovenia

Brunei

Lichtenstein

Solomon Islands

Bulgaria

Lithuania

South Africa

Canada

Luxembourg

South Korea

Chile

Macau (Special Administrative Region)

Spain

Costa Rica

Malawi

Swaziland

Croatia

Malaysia

Sweden

Cyprus

Maldives

Switzerland

Czech Republic

Malta

Tonga

Denmark

Mauritius

Trinidad & Tobago

Dominica

Mexico

Tuvalu

El Salvador

Monaco

United Kingdom & Colonies

Estonia

Nauru

United States of America

Fiji

Netherlands

Uruguay

Finland

New Zealand

Vanuatu

France

Nicaragua

Vatican City

Germany

Norway

Venezuela

Greece

Panama

 

Grenada

Paraguay

 

 

This list is correct as of 3 November 2011, please refer to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for the most up-to-date list of countries.

Applying for a Visa

If you are a non-EU citizen who is not from one of the countries listed above then you will require a Study Visa to enter Ireland.  A visa is a form of pre-entry clearance. It does not guarantee permission to enter Ireland. A short-stay (C) visa is for stays of up to 90 days. A long-stay (D) visa is for stays of longer than 90 days.  An Immigration Officer at the port of entry decides whether or not to admit a person to the State. The Immigration Officer also decides how long a person may remain in Ireland.

Students should read the guidelines for study visas available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service.

A comprehensive guide on how to make an application and the link to the online application facility is also available. Applications may be made online and supporting documentation is then submitted to Irish consulate or embassy in your country of residence.

Please note that tuition fees should be paid in full prior to applying for a student visa. Students applying for visas to the Irish Visa Offices in India and China can have their applications pre-approved prior to full fees being paid. In all other cases, fees should be paid in full prior to a visa application being lodged.

You should contact the International Affairs Office by emailing internationalnuigalway.ie when you have made your fee payment to obtain written confirmation that fees are paid.

You will require private health insurance.  Please refer to the information regarding Irish health insurance providers on the website of the International Affairs Office

When submitting visa applications please ensure:

  • You have a valid passport
  • You have fully completed and signed your visa application form
  • You have evidence of medical insurance
  • You have evidence of finances to support your study in Ireland
  • You have a letter from NUI Galway confirming your acceptance to a fulltime course of study
  • You have a letter from the International Affairs Office confirming your tuition fees are paid in full
  • You should provide full details of all visa applications to any country including Ireland and if refused by any country include the letter of refusal that issued from that state.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service provides a weekly update of visa decisions on their website which applicants may search with their visa reference number.

The Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service advises that applicants should allow 6-8 weeks to process study visa applications.

Should your visa application be unsuccessful you may appeal the decision to the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service. An outline of the appeal procedure is available on the INIS website.

Arriving in Ireland

On arrival in Ireland non-EU students must pass through immigration control. The onus is on the individual to have all documentation relating to their reasons for entering Ireland for presentation to the Immigration Officer to gain entry. The Immigration Officer may grant leave to enter to a maximum period of three months. They may, depending on the documentation presented grant a lesser period that three month.

Students will be required to demonstrate that they are entering Ireland in order to enrol as a student.  You should carry the following documentation with you:

  • Passport
  • Study visa if applicable
  • Letter of offer from NUI Galway
  • Proof of fee payment of at least €6,000
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • Proof that you have funds to support your stay in Ireland e.g. bank statements, sponsorship letter if applicable.  (See Funding Requirements for Non-EEA Students at First Registration from 1 April 2011 listed below)

An immigration officer can question you regarding your purpose for coming to Ireland and if the immigration officer is not satisfied with the documentation you present you can be denied entry to the State.  It is important therefore that you carry relevant documentation showing that you are entering the State for study purposes.

Your passport details will be recorded and your passport will be stamped with a date by which you must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau in Ireland (GNIB).  Generally speaking non-EU students are granted 30 days during which they may register with the GNIB.  This time period is at the discretion of the immigration officer at your point of entry to the Irish State.

Immigration Registration

A study visa provides pre-clearance to enter Ireland as a student.  Immigration registration grants leave to remain in Ireland for a defined period of time.  All non-EU students intending to remain in Ireland for more than 90 days must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

In general Non-EEA Students studying in Ireland for a period of less than 90 days are not required to register with the Immigration Authorities. However if directed to register by immigration officials at the point of entry to the State,  such students will be required to demonstrate evidence of finance on the same basis as Non-EEA students studying for a period of less than 6 months.

The GNIB office is located at Unit 3, Liosbaun Industrial Estate, Tuam Road, Galway. The telephone number is 091 768002 and the fax number is 091 768003.  The GNIB in Galway provides an immigration registration service.   After registration students will receive an immigration certificate of registration (Registration Card).  A fee of €300 will be charged in respect of the registration certificate.

For immigration registration students require:

  • Passport
  • Current NUI Galway student identity card
  • Visiting Students/Erasmus students  should bring their original letter of offer from NUI Galway
  • Full degree undergraduate and full degree postgraduate students will require an additional letter from the International Affairs Office confirming their course of study and the start and finish dates of the course.
  • Proof of your residential address in Galway e.g. a utility bill with your name and address, or a letter from your landlord/student residence confirming your residential address.  Changes of address must be notified to the GNIB within 7 days of changing address.
  • Students must demonstrate access to sufficient funds to support themselves during their period of study in Ireland.  An acceptable form of evidence of financial support is an original bank statement which showing a student’s name and bank balance.  It is advisable to open a bank account in Ireland in order to demonstrate your financial status to the GNIB.  Student bank accounts with Irish banks are not liable to any bank charges.  Letters to open bank accounts can be obtained from the International Affairs Office.  Please note that bank statements printed from online bank accounts will not be accepted by the GNIB.   Students in receipt of funding from NUI Galway should provide a letter from their Discipline confirming their funding.  Documentation should be originals; photocopies are not accepted. 

 

Funding Requirements for Non-EEA Students at First Registration from 1 April 2011

Non-EU/EEA Students studying for a period of less than 6 months

€500 per month of stay or €3,000 which ever is the lesser

Non-EU/EEA Students studying for a period equal to or greater than 6 months up to 1 year

€3,000

Non-EU/EEA Students studying in Ireland where the second registration takes place at a time exceeding 1 year

Such students are generally not required to produce bank accounts at second or subsequent registrations unless they are requested to do so by a Supervisor

 

  • Personal credit/debit card for payment of immigration fee of €300.  If a student does not have a credit card, he/she will be issued with a bank giro form by the Immigration Officer and requested to return with the completed bank giro form, confirming payment of the fee.   Payment may be made at the student’s bank on campus. 
  • Proof of comprehensive medical insurance which must include hospitalisation cover. You must provide the original policy document in English and the policy document should state your name.  Your policy should clearly state the precise start and finish dates of the insurance cover.   You should therefore ensure that you are covered for the full length of time you are in Ireland i.e. either for the academic year or the semester as appropriate.    If you have an insurance card for your policy you should bring it with you to the GNIB office. 
  • Under immigration rules, all non-EU students must notify the GNIB of any changes to their registration details, including a change of address, change of course or withdrawal from a course, within 7 days.  The telephone number is 091 768002 and the fax number is 091 768003.

NB:  Only original documentation should be presented to the GNIB. Photocopied or faxed documents are not acceptable.

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Re-Entry Visas

If you required a visa to enter Ireland initially, you will need a re-entry visa if you are travelling overseas to allow you to re-enter Ireland (a single or a multi-entry visa can be obtained).  Please refer to the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service website for information on the application process for re-entry visas. The International Affairs Office will provide you with a support letter for your re-entry visa on request.

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Renewing Immigration Registration

Students must renew their immigration registration annually by the date provided on their Garda National Immigration Bureau registration card. It is each student’s responsibility to ensure they maintain their GNIB registration.  The International Affairs Office will provide you with a letter on request to renew GNIB registration provided you are registered as a student of the University and have paid your annual tuition fee.

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Working in Ireland

In relation to non EU/EEA students only students attending a full time course of education of at least one year’s duration leading to qualifications recognized by the Minister for Education and Science will be permitted to take up casual employment.  Access to employment is denied to all other students. Casual employment is defined as up to a maximum of 20 hours part time work per week, or full time work during normal college vacation periods. Such work should not interfere with your course attendance, as failure to provide evidence of a satisfactory attendance record will result in refusal of any extension to your permission to remain in the State.  The entitlement to casual employment will cease on completion of your college course.  The stamp placed in your passport by GNIB will indicate whether or not you are permitted to take up casual employment.  A Stamp 2 confers the right to work.  If you are in doubt about this you should check with GNIB before you accept any job offer. Any breach of your visa conditions will lead to a review of your case and possible removal from the State.  A complete list of approved courses can be found on the Internationalisation Register.

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Graduate Permit Scheme

The Graduate Permit Scheme was established to allow legally resident non-EEA/EU third level graduates to remain in Ireland for the purpose of seeking employment and applying for a Green Card or Work Permit.  A non-EEA/EU student who has, on or after 1 January, 2007, acquired a primary, masters or doctorate degree from an Irish third level educational institution will be permitted to apply for the Scheme. The student at the time of application must hold a current Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

A person, the holder of a Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau, legally resident in the State who acquired their qualification on or after the 1 January, 2007 shall be permitted to apply for this Scheme.

An application for permission to remain under this Scheme may be made at the applicant’s local Garda National Immigration Bureau, or, if living in the Dublin area, to the Garda National Immigration Bureau, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

Documents required when making an application

  • An original letter issued by the International Affairs Office stating that the applicant has completed the course of study satisfactorily and the qualification gained. 
  • Current passport.
  • Final examination transcript
  • Current Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

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Family Reunification

Generally speaking, non-EEA students do not have the right to family reunification.  However, INIS prepared to recognise the value of some flexibility to the above policy and accordingly certain exemptions are facilitated.  As a general principle all non-EEA students coming to Ireland should satisfy themselves of what means are required to support themselves before they travel. It is equally logical to seek to ensure that dependants of students who might give rise to significant State expenditure should only be admitted in limited circumstances and where on balance it is in the State's best interest for this to take place.

 

In this context and subject to the exemptions set out below, students will continue to have no rights of family reunification. Partners and spouses will be considered as applicants in their own right but cannot advance their application for entry or residence on the basis of their relationship to another student. Students will not be permitted to be accompanied or joined by children other than those born during their stay. Students will be informed of these conditions and also asked to confirm that they do not intend to be joined by dependents of any kind.

 

Exemptions from the above policy will be allowed where;

(a) The student is pursuing a course at PhD level10 (NFQ 10). In these cases the student will be required to progress academically (verified by letter from academic supervisor) and to complete their doctorate within 4 years; or

(b) The student is a participant in an academic programme agreed between the Irish State and another state whereby the student and dependents are sufficiently well funded in respect of all expenses in Ireland, or where any such agreement provides an exemption; or

(c) The student can demonstrate private means on an annual basis at a level that clearly allows them to support themselves and their family without recourse to public funds and without engaging in employment and where children are accompanying the parent has paid an immigration levy set by the Government as a means of recovering the costs of the child’s education; or

(d) The child is on a short visit to their parent(s) who can show special circumstances and can guarantee that the child will return home at the end of their holiday. Failure to comply with this condition could result in the termination of the parent’s own permission on the basis that they had breached their immigration conditions.

In the case of points (b) and (c) above prospective students will be required to show that sufficient funding is guaranteed and in place to provide for both themselves and in respect of any family members accompanying the student.

Permission to remain in the State for students will generally continue to be conditional on their ensuring that no claims for social welfare benefits are made on their own behalf or on behalf of any dependents accompanying them. Students will also continue to require private medical insurance. Breach of these fundamental conditions may render the student and any accompanying dependents liable to have their immigration permission terminated regardless of their course of study.

(Extract from the Student Guidelines - New Immigration Regime for Full Time non-EEA Students)

Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service – Student Notices Website

The INIS provides a Student Notices website where valuable information pertaining to the immigration rules for students can be accessed.

Information available on this website includes:

Accountancy Students 

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Orientation

campus map Sept 2014International Affairs Office organises a comprehensive Orientation Programme for all new international students at NUI Galway.

International Students Orientation

Venue: Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn (Student Centre)

Day 1: Thursday, 9.30am, 4 September 2014 

  • Student Health
  • Counselling services
  • Blackboard
  • Sports Clubs and Student Societies
  • Library
  • Computer Services
  • Banking
  • Student safety
  • Volunteering opportunities
  • GNIB Registration (Non-EU/EEA students)

Day 2: Friday, 9.30am, 5 September 2014 

  • Academic advisory sessions for visiting students

Note: Visiting students will receive information on exams, timetables and other important academic information at this session so we strongly recommend attendance.

Academic Handboook sem 1 2014/2015

FAQ list for Erasmus & visiting students 2014

Orientation Booklet 2014/15

Galway Map

campus map Sept 2014

GNIB factsheet Sept 2014

Events list Sept 2014

Students will receive hard copies of these documents at orientation.

Other Activities

In addition to the main Orientation Programme, the University arranges other activities to help welcome you to the University and help you settle in to student life in Galway

Fáilte (Welcome!) Mornings

Each day for the first week of term all newly arrived students are invited to attend an informal gathering where they can meet with staff of the International Affairs Office, ask questions and get to know each other.

Walking tour of Galway

The International Affairs Office arranges walking tours of Galway on the weekend after orientation. You can book a place on one of the tours on:

http://www.eventbrite.ie/o/international-office-nui-galway-5788491778

Library training and tour

There will be 30 minute introductory tours of the library on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th September. The tours will depart from the Library foyer every 15 minutes at the following times:

Thursday 4th Sept: 2-4pm and Friday 5th Sept: 9-11 am

Drop in hands on training sessions on searching library resources will begin on September 8th at the following dates and times:

11am Library Training Room Monday September 8th - Thursday September 18th

2 pm   Library Training Room Monday September 8th - Thursday September 18th

7pm    Library Training Room Monday September 15th - Friday September 19th.  

Students can drop into a session or book a place if they wish at the following link on the Library website:

http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/getting-started-in-the-library-tickets-12740229369?aff=eorg