Visa and Immigration

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Frequently Asked Questions


Please note: The responsibility to ensure that immigration legal requirements are fulfilled lies completely with the student.

A visa is a document that allows a person to enter or transit through a country. If you are coming to Ireland through another country (for example you need to stop in the UK, Germany, France, USA, etc. on your way here) it is important that you check with the appropriate embassy to see if you need a transit visa. If you do not need a visa to enter Ireland you will still need to have your letter of offer of a place at St Patrick's Pontifical University, Maynooth, ready for inspection by Immigration at the port of entry. Please ensure you have your letter with you in your carry-on bag when boarding your airplane! Please check full visa information on the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service website.

If you do need a visa please read the below sections very carefully.

If you do need a Visa before entering Ireland, applications should be made directly to your nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

A List of Contact details for Irish Embassies and Consulates can be found at the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs:

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website has very useful information on the visa application process, which is summarised below. Please read the full student visa guidelines carefully. The main conditions of being a Full Time Degree Programme Non EEA student are:

  • The maximum time a student may stay in Ireland for the purpose of attending courses at degree level is limited to seven years
  • A Letter of Acceptance from the college, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time, day-time education
  • You must have proof that fees have been paid to the college. The full amount of the fees must be paid in advance.
  • You must show financial proof that you have access to €3,000 at first registration. This is in addition to your course fees and can be proven with bank statements or an education bond.
  • All students are required to have private medical insurance, either personally or through a group scheme operated by your college, at time of registration. You can find further information on obtaining medical insurance here

The granting of a student visa to study in Ireland does not confer the automatic right of anyone to join or visit you in Ireland (whether they are a relative or not).

  • It is not permissible for Students who come to Ireland on a Degree Programme to enrol in a Non-Degree or Language Course. Students may be permitted to undertake a foundation language course, if required, where this has been arranged in advance and has been clearly stated in any application for a visa. Similarly, students who complete a Degree Programme cannot subsequently enrol on a Language/Non Degree Programme.
  • Students must register on a full-time programme to receive a student visa. It is not permissible for a student to come to Ireland to study part-time, or by distance learning.
  • Although students are allowed to work part-time while studying (up to a maximum of 20 hours per week),the primary purpose for a student to be in Ireland is to study on a full-time programme. Any student who wishes to work part-time must apply for and receive a PPS number.

If you are a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area, you must register your presence in Ireland with An Garda Síochána (the police).

When you arrive in Ireland, your passport will be stamped to allow you to remain in Ireland for a short period of time. You must then register with immigration in Leixlip or Dublin in order to receive your Irish Residence Permit.

You should only present yourself for registration with the Immigration service after you have registered as a student at the University.

When you meet the registration officer, you must provide certain information and evidence about your status (see below). Any changes you wish to make to the length of your stay or status must be reported to immigration officials. You must also notify the registration officer if you plan to move to another Garda District, and report to the registration officer of that new district within 2 days of arriving to live there.

Following registration with immigration officials, you will be issued with a registration certificate which is call the Irish Residence Permit card. The Irish Residence Permit replaces the GNIB card from Monday 11 December 2017. Detailed information on the new Irish Residence Permit card is available here

Continuing Students:

The registration certificate up until now has been commonly known as the GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau) card. A new card is being introduced on 11 December 2017, which will be know as the Irish Residence Permit, or IRP. GNIB cards will remain valid until their expiry date, and will only be replaced with an IRP card if the holder’s registration is renewed. Holders of GNIB cards do not need to change their card for an IRP card while the GNIB card is still valid. The IRP card will be posted to customers who live in Dublin. There will be no change, as yet, to the process outside of Dublin. The IRP will be in circulation by the week of 18 December 2017. If you have any queries, please email

You must renew your Residence permit annually – failure to do so will result in severe penalties. Each student is responsible for maintaining a valid immigration card. You will follow the same procedure each time. However, in subsequent years, proof of an Irish bank account with a history of three months activity will suffice for financial evidence.

Scholarship Students:

In addition to the standard documentation, students in receipt of a scholarship which either part funds or fully funds both their course fees and living costs must provide a letter, issued to them by the relevant organisation confirming they are the recipient of a scholarship.

What to bring with you to obtain your Irish Residence Permit:

  • Passport
  • Letter from St Patrick's Pontifical University, Maynooth, to confirm you are a registered student
  • St Patrick's Pontifical University student card
  • Evidence of medical insurance
  • Bank statement or evidence that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay. The current minimum balance is €3,000 (or €1,500 if you are studying for only 1 semester). This minimum amount must be shown in an Irish bank account (NOTE: A US bank account will be accepted for US students staying for only one semester). The bank account must be in your own name.
  • Payment of €300. This can be paid by bank giro, which is issued to you at your local Garda station. You must then take this form to a bank and pay the fee and return it to the station. You may also pay by credit card or debit card (as long as the card is a 'chip and pin' card).

Visa required students

  • Visa required students who obtained a study visa to come to Ireland will no longer be obliged to present evidence of finance, on first registration, on the basis that the appropriate checks on finance have already been undertaken as part of the visa application process.

Non-visa required students (i.e. those who did not need to apply for a visa before entering Ireland) need to produce the following:

  • Students who did not require a visa and who are studying in Ireland can avail of the following options as a means of demonstrating finances (on first registration) of a minimum level as follows: Non-EEA Students studying for a period equal to or greater than 6 months and up to 1 year - €3,000; Non-EEA Students studying for a period of less than 6 months - €500 per month of stay or €3,000 which ever is the lesser
  • Students should make sure, however, that the option selected is available to them. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that they are entitled to avail of the option they select taking into account the requirements imposed by the bank or financial institution on opening and operating bank accounts in the State.

Options: (a) A statement in respect of an Irish bank account showing sufficient funds, where the student can open an Irish bank account (b) A current foreign bank statement not less than one month old, together with a past statement, for an account in the students name (as in his or her passport) accompanied by a debit card in the same name and same bank account (c) Documentary evidence that money is held in trust for a student by a financial services body regulated in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland (d) A pre-paid credit or debit card(s) with a verification of the amount(s) in credit.

Please see the INIS website for further details.

You must renew your Irish Residence Permit annually – failure to do so will result in severe penalties. Each student is responsible for maintaining a valid immigration card. You will follow the same procedure each time. However, in subsequent years, proof of an Irish bank account with a history of three months activity will suffice for financial evidence.

If you live in Maynooth, or the surrounding towns, you must report to the Garda Station in Leixlip.

Please contact the Pontifical University office in advance, to be guided on how to make an appointment.

Leixlip is just 10 minutes from Maynooth and easily reached by bus or train. You can take the C3 bus from main street Maynooth and get off right outside the Garda station at the traffic lights just before Leixlip village. If taking the train, it is the very next stop after Maynooth - Leixlip Louisa Bridge and is then a short 5 minute walk straight down the road to the Garda station.

If you live in Dublin you must report to the Garda National Immigration Bureau on 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. Appointments should be made online: Burgh Quay Registration Office. Applicants should contact the Pontifical University office for further assistance and accompanying documents.

The visa issued to you allows you to enter Ireland once.

If you wish to leave the State for a short period of time you must apply, in advance of making any travel arrangements, for a re-entry visa. The responsibility to comply with this requirement rests fully with the visa required individual.

In circumstances where an individual exits the State without a valid re-entry visa, the only option available to that individual is to submit a fresh visa application to the local embassy or consulate in their country of origin. It should be borne in mind that the time frame for consideration of such visa applications can take up to 6 – 8 weeks for processing. Non – EEA nationals (who are visa required) are strongly urged to ensure that they comply with the above requirement.

You can only apply for the re-entry visa after you have arrived and have completed registration with Irish Immigration. You will find details of how to apply for a re-entry visa on You should apply for your re-entry visa well in advance of your proposed dates of travel. You will need a letter to state that you are a registered student - please request this through our office.

Please ensure you inform the International Office at the earliest possible opportunity if you plan to travel outside Ireland (including travel to Northern Ireland) in the first weeks of term. The International Office will try to facilitate an early appointment with the Immigration Officer. If you travel outside of Ireland before gaining your re-entry visa, you may not be allowed to re-enter the country.

Please note that a Re-entry Visa is required for travel purposes only. If you do not plan to travel outside of Ireland before you complete your studies, you do not need to obtain one.

Documents required in support of re-entry visa application are stated on the application form. A Visa Officer may ask for further documentation where necessary. You can find more information and the application form on the Department of Justice and Equality website.

FEES Single Entry: €60 Multi Entry: €100

Bank drafts or postal orders are the only methods of payment that can be accepted and must be made payable to: The Department of Justice and Equality

No cash or personal cheques will be accepted and no exceptions to this policy will be made under any circumstances. If applying by post: Submit the completed re-entry visa application form, along with all the required documentation by registered post to:

The Re-entry Visa Processing Office Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service 13-14 Burgh Quay Dublin 2

  • All efforts will be made to process your application, where possible, within 4 working days of receipt. All documentation will be returned to the applicant by registered post;
  • Please ensure your address on the application form is complete and clearly legible.
  • Applications can also be placed in the dedicated Re-entry Visa box in our reception area and returned in the same time it takes to complete a postal application. We endeavor to process your application within 4 working days of receipt and will return your documents to you by registered post.

Alternatively you can apply in person:

You should have your application form fully completed and all documents with you: Opening hours are 8.30am to 2.30pm – Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays)

Third Level Graduate Scheme

As of 10th April 2007, legally resident non-EEA third level graduates have been allowed to remain in Ireland for the purpose of seeking employment and applying for a green card or work permit. Graduates who have studied for a primary, masters or doctorate degree from an Irish third level educational institution are entitled to avail of this scheme.

A person who qualifies will be granted one non-renewable extension to their current student permission for a maximum twelve month period starting on the day upon which they received their exam results. This scheme allows the person to work for up to 40 hours a week under student visa arrangements (Stamp 2) and/or to seek employment and apply for further permission to remain in the state under green card or work permit arrangements.

This scheme was originally for 6 months and was extended to allow 12 Months.

To apply graduates should present at their local Garda Siochána registration office, or at the Garda National immigration Bureau, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 with relevant supporting documentation.Documents required when making an application:• An original letter signed by the College (on the headed paper of the College) stating that the applicant has completed the course of study satisfactorily and the qualification gained. • Current passport • Current Irish Residence Permit card.

For more full information of the conditions, requirements and application procedures of this scheme please visit the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website.

If you live outside Ireland, check out our dedicated area for international students.

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