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Visa Requirements

Student Visa Requirements

Important: This information is intended as a guideline only and does not limit the discretion of the visa officer in dealing with individual applications.

The applicant must undertake not to enter full-time employment while in the State other than casual employment as defined in the student visa guidelines. The applicant must undertake not to visit Great Britain or Northern Ireland or any other country without a valid entry visa and a re-entry visa for Ireland. Should the applicant enter another country illegally, or attempt to re-enter Ireland without a re-entry visa, the applicant could be refused entry. The applicant must undertake not to breach any of the other conditions of his/her permission to remain in the State. The applicant should be aware that should he/she breach any of the conditions of his/her study visa his/her case will be reviewed and consideration will be given to his/her deportation.

1. Valid Passport

There should be no less than 6 months validity on the passport from the date of the course's completion. If available, copies of previous passports exhibiting the immigration history of the applicant should be provided. All pages, not just those with valid visas must be included.

2. Evidence of Course

The College should provide an original letter, indicating that the person has been accepted on a full-time course of education, (specify subject), entailing 15 hours or more College attendance per week in a privately funded course. Provisional letters offering a place are not acceptable. The educational and other credentials of a school will be taken into consideration by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in decisions on visa applications. Recognition by the Department of Education and Science through ACELS meets this criteria in so far as English language schools are concerned.

3. Fees

Evidence must be supplied that the course fees have been paid in full. However, while this is desirable, it is not expected that an applicant pay more than €6,250 prior to visa approval. Evidence of payment may be incorporated into the above "evidence of course" letter which should include accommodation, fees and all other relevant charges. NCI require that all International applicants travelling to Ireland must pay their first years tuition fees in full.

4. Private Medical Insurance

Every student should have full private medical insurance. Evidence of such insurance cover will be taken to be the Letter of Acceptance provided by the host school, college, university or other educational institution. This Letter of Acceptance will contain details of the insurance cover taken out on behalf of each student by the host school, college, university or other educational institution on behalf of the student. Alternative evidence will be taken to be a Certificate of Private Insurance taken out by the student in his or her own country prior to travel.   Applicants are required to purchase their private medical insurance prior to travelling to Ireland. NCI recommend O'Driscoll O'Neill student insurance who offer competitive rates for Insurance on www.odon.ie

5. Family Members

Applicants should disclose details of family members who are already residing in Ireland or in other EU countries. For this purpose family members include first cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews or grandparents.

6. Applicant's Character

There should be nothing in the person's personal history which would give rise to concerns on public policy, public security or public health grounds. Occasionally, applications are refused on these grounds, despite the production of all of the required documents for reasons which will not be disclosed. Public policy is taken to include the protection of the common travel area and accordingly refusals or negative immigration history in the UK will be taken into account. Where an individual has been refused a visa and / or entry into the UK , details of refusal should be provided to enable a decision to be made on the case's individual merits.

7. Applicants Self-sufficiency

Applicants must provide evidence that they have sufficient funds to support their stay in Ireland , including emergencies, without recourse to State funds. This is important as recourse to State funds might have a detrimental effect on the person's future immigration prospects. Bank statements which clearly identify the holder together with a translation and details of conversion rates at the approximate date of application are required.

8. Applicants Profile

The applicant's profile should appear to match the course of studies proposed. Colleges should endeavour either through interview or through their agents to satisfy themselves as to the bona fides of the prospective student. Information regarding checks / interviews of the candidate which have been undertaken by the school or its agents can be submitted in support of the application. The applicant's prospects of obtaining a visa are enhanced by the submission of verified details of their profile, including family background, history of study etc.

9. Employment Details of applicant in Country of origin

If the applicant is in employment the employer must state - That all course costs are being met by the Employer or, if the Employee is meeting the costs, the Employer must state that in the opinion of the Employer the Employee has the financial resources to meet all such costs - The length of leave being granted to the Employee and this must not differ from the stated duration of the course on which the Applicant has been accepted - The purpose of participating in the proposed course of study - The applicant's level of pay and the currency it's received in.

10. Consistency within application

None of the details within the application or its supporting documentation should be of a conflicting nature, e.g. the proposed length of stay on the application form should not conflict with the verified course acceptance.

11. Extension of Permission

Full details of course duration should be disclosed in the initial application in so far as they are known. If there is any probability that a person intends to study for longer than 90 days (3 months) they should ensure that they apply for a 'D' study visa. Persons who seek to study for less than this period can apply for a 'C' study visa. In the case of an applicant with a 'C' visa, extensions of permission to remain will only be entertained where a written request is made to the Immigration authorities and will be given in very exceptional circumstances only.

The following details must be supplied to allow the request to be considered and applications that do not supply all the required documents will be refused. - Itemised details of payment of relevant fees and proof of payment - Details of the course of studies proposed - Accommodation details identifying host family - Evidence of financial self sufficiency, all financial details should identify the student - Details of the student's attendance at the initial course of studies must be lodged - The particular circumstances of the applicant will be a major issue in the decision - A copy of the passport exhibiting the original visa must be lodged.

12. Foundation/Preparatory Course

As for point 11, full details of proposed course of study should be disclosed with the initial application. Visas will be granted for foundation/preparatory courses, leading to longer, non language study (including diploma / degree courses) in other institutions where the applicants have disclosed their intentions initially and have satisfied the Department regarding all of the above criteria (including full fees, subject to the €6,250 ceiling referred to at 3) for both courses and for the entire period of study proposed.

13. Right of Appeal

Any decision to refuse a visa can be appealed by writing to; Visa Appeals Officer Immigration Division Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform, 13 - 14 Burgh Quay Dublin 2 Only written appeals will be dealt with The visa reference number, decision number and nationality will facilitate processing. Obviously the success of an appeal will be enhanced if the applicant is in a position to forward additional supporting documentation in favour of the application or to submit a document previously omitted.

14. Leave to land

Although a visa is a form of pre-entry clearance, it does not guarantee entry to the State. Immigration officers at point of entry are entitled to deny access and to question students regarding their bona fides. Accordingly, it would be in everyone's interest if schools could make arrangements to be represented at ports of entry, particularly where they believe the student's standard of English may be poor. It would also be sensible for either the school or the student to have on hand copies of any supporting documentation which had been lodged in support of the Visa application.

15. Re-Entry Visas

Students who have a valid reason for leaving the State during their period of study and who can show that they are genuinely continuing with their studies may apply for re-entry visas. Students are required to provide evidence of a minimum attendance level of 80% when applying for a re-entry visa.

16. Entitlement to take up casual employment

Only students attending a full time course of at least one year's duration leading to a qualification recognised by the Minister for Education and Science will be entitled to take up casual employment (defined as up to 20 hours part time work per week or full time work during normal college vacation periods).

Access to employment is denied to all other students. Students attending a foundation/preparatory course prior to enrolment on such a full time course are not entitled to work until they have commenced that full time course. The concession to take up employment ceases upon the expiry of permission to remain as a student.

Having been in casual employment will not, in itself, entitle a person to further permission to remain. N.B. Unless a student is attending a course recognised by an Irish university, the Dublin Institute of Technology or by HETAC (Higher Education & Training Awards Council) or FETAC (Further Education and Training Awards Council), the student should not assume that he/she will be allowed to access employment during their stay in Ireland.

17. Permission to remain and renewal of permission to remain

If a student is permitted to enter the State and the course of studies is for a period of greater than three months the student must register with the Garda (Police) National Immigration Bureau and obtain permission to remain in the State.

Permission is usually granted for the duration of the study term of the course up to a maximum of 12 months for any single period. Permission may be renewed where a course is of greater than 12 months duration.

Permission to remain will not be granted for a total period of more than 18 months unless the student is attending a full time course of at least one year's duration leading to a qualification recognised by the Minister for Education and Science.

For more information contact:

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
13-14 Burgh Quay,
Dublin 2

Tel: +353-1-6167700
Fax: +353-1-6167749
Internet: www.justice.ie

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