Guide to Student Visas for PhD in Ireland
Written by Taru Medha
Once you have enrolled in an Irish university, you need to decide whether you need to apply for a student visa to study in Ireland or not. Whether or not you need a student visa depends on your nationality.
- If you are an EU/EEA (and Swiss) national, you do not need a formal visa to study in Ireland. You also do not need a resident permit as long as you have student status.
- If you are a non-EU/EEA national, you will need to apply for a student visa to study in Ireland.
This guide talks about the process of applying for a student visa in Ireland as an international student and the post-study work opportunities that the country offers.
Irish student visas for non-EU nationals
If you are a non-EU national looking to pursue a PhD in Ireland, you need a formal student visa to enter the country and then to register with one of the following:
- The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) if you’ll be living in Dublin
- The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) if you’ll be living outside Dublin
Once you have registered, you’ll be awarded an Irish Residence Permit (IRP). The fee for an IRP is €300.
To learn more about Irish visa requirements and possible exemptions for citizens of different countries, check the Irish Immigration Service's website.
You can apply for an Irish visa through the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service through the Irish consulate/embassy in your country.
You will need the following to make an application:
- A valid passport
- Proof of enrolment in an Irish higher education institute
- Proof of financial means (bank statements and confirmation of scholarship are accepted)
- Health insurance
Language requirements for Irish student visas
English is the main language of instruction in Ireland. You'll need to prove that you can speak English to the level required for your chosen course in order to apply for a Irish studet visa. You'll need to take a recognised English language test such as the International English Language Testing System
(IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and provide a test certicate in your application.
The minimum scores needed for a student visa application can be found on the Irish Department of Jusice website.
If you'll be studying in the Irish language, you must include a written statement from your university confirming your ability to do so.
Can I remain in Ireland after my studies?
If you are an EU/EEA (or Swiss) national, you are free to stay on in the country and seek work.
Students belonging to the Third Level Graduate Scheme (non-EU or EEA) can work in Ireland for up to 24 months after graduating from an Irish university. During this period you can work full-time (up to 40 hours per week) without needing any additional permit.
In order to participate in this scheme you will need to renew your Irish Residence Permit for a further year. This will normally cost another €300.
You will also need a letter from your university, confirming that you have graduated successfully from your PhD degree.
Once the initial 12 month period of your Third Level Graduate Scheme is complete, it’ll be renewed for a further 12 months if you can show that you’ve been looking for graduate employment. You can use this time to apply for a more permanent permit to work in Ireland (such as an Irish Green Card). This is subject to having found suitable graduate employment and is not automatically guaranteed in all cases.
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