One of the questions we’re frequently asked by prospective international students is ‘do I need a study visa?’ The answer is… it depends.
Let’s start with you does not need a visa.
If you are a European Union national, you do not require a visa to enter Ireland. Simple!
However, there are also a number of countries outside the European Union whose nationals do not require a visa to enter Ireland.
The full list of countries whose nationals do not require a visa is listed on the Irish government website but as of June 2011, this list includes Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. So, if you’re a national (i.e. passport holder) of any of these countries you don’t need a visa to enter Ireland.
So, who does need a visa?
If you are a national of a country not listed on the Irish government website, you will need to apply for a visa as soon as you receive your offer letter from the University.
Information on how to go about applying for a student visa is contained with the Pre-Arrival booklet and you can also refer to the Irish government immigration website for instructions or contact the Irish embassy in your home country.
Visa applications can take up to 6 weeks for the embassy to process, so its important to get the process started as soon as possible.
Arriving in Ireland
All non-EU/EEA nationals are subject to immigration control at the point of entry to the Irish State. Therefore, even if you are not required to have a visa, you should ensure that you have your NUI Galway offer letter available to show to immigration officials to prove that you are entering the state with the intention of pursuing a course of study in Ireland.
And after you arrive…
Also, regardless of whether you need a visa to enter Ireland or not, if you are a non EU/EEA national, you must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) within 30 days of arrival in Ireland. You’ll be advised at Orientation on how to register with the immigration service and you can also refer to the Pre-Arrival booklet for further information.