If you would like to work and study in Ireland – how to apply for a visa can be pretty confusing, but with the correct planning and advice everything will be fine!
Work and study in Ireland – How to apply for a visa
The first step is to decide what programme and school suits your needs. Our ‘Academic Year’ or work and study in Ireland programme is designed for non-EU students who require a visa to work and study in Ireland.
To qualify for an 8-month visa, you need to undertake an English course for a minimum of 15 hours per week for 6 months and to sit an exam (such as a Cambridge exam) during the course. The course also needs to be registered on the ILEP (International list of eligible programmes). All our courses are registered on this list and offer learner protection.
Welcome Ireland offer three options as part of your work and study in Ireland programme. The most popular is our 15-hour per week option. This includes 15 hours per week of general English and exam fees. A 20 and 25-hour per week options is also available.
Once your course has been paid for, a signed and stamped ‘Letter of Invitation’ is provided by the school, confirming that the course has been paid for in full, the start and finish dates of the course and the course details such as class times and duration. This letter is now used to apply for your visa online.
Apply online for your visa
You must apply online for your student visa before you come to Ireland. This is done on the Irish Immigration website HERE. To apply to work and study in Ireland, a ‘long stay’ or ‘D’ visa needs to be applied for.
When completing the form online you will receive a reference number which you can also use to see how your application is progressing. When you have completed the online application, you will need to submit the following documents;
- Letter of Invitation
- Evidence that you have access to €3,000 at first registration. This is in addition to your course fees.
- Evidence of private medical insurance (Welcome Ireland can offer this)
- Your letter of acceptance must clearly demonstrate that you are covered by learner protection arrangements or a certificate of proof of enrolled learner protection in your name confirming cover.
- The registration fee is €300
You can check online to see if your visa has been processed (using your Visa Application Number). This list is updated weekly.
Once you receive your visa, you are ready to prepare your trip to Ireland!
Arriving in Ireland
When leaving to travel to Ireland, be sure to bring all of the documents to show to the immigration officer in Dublin airport.
When you arrive in immigration in Dublin airport, it is important to tell the immigration officer that you are coming to work and study in Ireland as a student so that you receive the correct immigration permission stamp in your passport. (Important: it is not possible to change to student status if you receive a tourist immigration stamp on arrival).
On approval, you will get a temporary immigration permission stamped into your passport.
Welcome to Ireland!
Applying for your GNIB card
Soon after arriving (and within 90 days) you will have to register at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) in Dublin or locally if you are living outside the Dublin metropolitan area. You will need to bring with you;
- Your passport
- A Letter of Invitation from your school/university stating that you are a registered student and stating the start date and completion date of your course and that you have paid your fees in full
- Your student ID card, if applicable – a university or large college will provide you with one when you register as a full-time student, smaller schools and colleges may not issue student cards
- Your medical insurance policy
- A bank statement showing that you have EUR 3,000 or more in your bank account (or €500 per month for stays of less than 6 months) – view guidelines
- A EUR 300 fee (credit/debit card or bank giro available at INIS offices – no cash accepted)
You will be issued with a Certificate of Registration (more commonly known as a ‘GNIB Card’ – see below for example) and an extended passport stamp. This card will be for a period depending on your course, but for a 25 week English programmes the period until expiry is a maximum of 8 months.
If you would like to stay in Ireland, you would need to renew your visa before it expires and to undertake another 25-week programme. Welcome Ireland also offer special prices for renewals. For information on on renewing please see our blog ‘How to Renew‘.
Can I work during my time in Ireland?
Employment entitlements changed on the 1st September 2016 for non-EEA students holding a valid permission Stamp 2. Students can now work 40 hours per week during the months of June, July, August and September only – and from 15 December to 15 January inclusive. At all other times students with Stamp 2 permission will be limited to 20 hours work per week.
Welcome Ireland also offer professional internships to prepare you for your future career!