Now that you’ve figured out what programme you’d like to apply for and where, it’s time to make an application to your university of choice in Ireland. Whilst EU students use the same application system as Irish students, non-EU students have a different process. This guide will cover the differences, as well as what you need to bear in mind when making an application.
If you are a student from the EU/EEA, you make an application through the Central Applications Office (CAO), along with Irish students. In your application, you will need to rank your top ten Irish universities in order of preference. The CAO will place you based on a points system, which takes into account which exams and subjects you took in secondary school. You will find out which universities you have been placed in during the second week of August.
The number of points required to enroll in a programme can vary from year to year, depending on demand. The CAO does not announce the results until the second week of August. Keeping that in mind, it’s important to have a diverse list of universities on your application, with the schools you really want to attend at the top, and with several “safety” schools as well.
Non EU/EEA students
If you are a Non EU/EEA student, you’ll need to apply directly to the university you are interested in. The requirements vary widely by university and programme, and as an international, non-EU student, you might need to submit a recommendation letter, a personal statement, and/or a resume and cover letter, as well as a transcript and test scores. You can find out more about what materials you need by checking with each university you are applying to - there are links on your shortlist in the Irish universities shortlisting tool.
Deadlines for non-EU applicants vary by university, so check the university website. The application window opens in September or October, and you can apply to most programmes all the way through the summer before you start - you do actually have a better chance of getting in if you apply early though. Non-EU applications are processed quickly, and students should get an offer within three to four weeks.
Make sure you have the right health insurance coverage during your time in Ireland. It’s essential in keeping you in tip top shape, not to mention much more cost-effective than having none. A one night stay in hospital can cost in excess of 1200 EUR! It’s much better to carry medical insurance in case you do become ill whilst studying.
Under EU/EEA regulations, students from other EU member states who are attending a course of study in Ireland are entitled to access the public health services in Ireland. In order to be eligible for these services, you may be required to provide the Irish health authorities with documentation from your home country which proves this. You can do this by applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before your programme begins to ensure you will have access to public health services in Ireland. If you are already receiving treatment at home that needs to continue after you arrive in Ireland, you should contact the health authorities in your home country well in advance of travelling to Ireland to fulfil any registration requirements.
Non EU/EEA students
The Irish immigration service requires that all non-EEA students have at least a basic policy covering emergency medical expenses. You will need to provide proof of your medical insurance when you register with the immigraion authorities.
If your programme is shorter than 90 days, travel insurance may be acceptable. However, if your programme is longer, you need private health insurance. You can have coverage from your home country as long as it is in English, valid in Ireland, and meets the requirements of the Irish immigration services.
All students should have health insurance cover. This must cover you from the date you arrive in Ireland until the date you leave. You can also purchase medical insurance from Irish providers, such as Study and Protect Ireland, as well as UCC Student Healthcare.
Residence and visa permit
If you are an EU or EEA student, you will not need a visa to travel to Ireland. However, you will still need to provide proof to the immigration officer at the Irish border control that you are an incoming student to an Irish university.
You must carry copies of your acceptance letter from your university, proof that you have paid your tuition, and proof that you have access to enough funds to sustain yourself in Ireland for a few months (at least 3000 EUR). After your arrival, you will need to register with the immigration authorities if your programme is longer than 90 days.
Non EU/EEA students
If you are a non EU/EEA student, you need to have a student visa before travelling to Ireland. You can apply for a study visa up to three months before you intend to travel. You can submit an online application through the Irish Department of justice, and submit supporting information once this has been completed.
Bear in mind that you may have to pay an application fee depending on your home country status. For a single entry into the country, you will be charged 60 EUR. For multiple entries, you will be charged 100 EUR. You can find out if you are exempt from visa fees by checking out the Irish Department of Justice website.
After you’ve sorted all parts of your application, organise your accommodation. As an international student, it can be quite difficult to secure accommodation as the demand is high. Irish universities offer a few options, including on-campus and off-campus.
Check out our guides, ‘Student life in Ireland’ and ‘The cost of studying in Ireland’ for more information.