Do you need to prepare for your English exam? Are you attracted to the Irish culture and fascinated with the breath-taking coastline and hills of this enchanted Island? Then enrolling in an English preparation course at a language school in the Emerald Isle may be just the right thing for you. Ireland was rated as one of the friendliest countries in the world so your language learning experience will certainly be fun and enriching!
Many language schools in Ireland cover English foundation courses that will advance your language skills and prepare you for English language exams (most often Cambridge, TOEFL, or IELTS). Whether you’d like to enroll in an English-taught degree at an Irish university or anywhere else, English exam courses will help you develop exam strategies in order to reach a good score in the examination.
But some international students who want to learn English in Ireland may still need a visa. In order to make things a little easier for you, check below the basic information you need to know regarding visa application for language learners in Ireland.
Do I need a visa?
EU/EEA students do not require a visa to study English in Ireland.
Non-EU/EEA nationals will need a visa to enter Ireland. If you wish to apply to a higher level English course, you can renew your visa (for a maximum of three English language courses and the overall period of your stay should not exceed eight months).
Check the extended list of nationals who need a visa for Ireland.
What type of visa should I apply for?
For non-degree English courses, apply for the 'C' type (tourist) visa'.
The C type visa allows you to stay in Ireland for up to three months.
Before applying to an English exam preparation course, you have to make sure that your chosen language school in Ireland is accredited. You can check all eligible English-language courses that are listed in the updated Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP).
What do I need to apply for a short-term visa?
Here is the list of the necessary documents when you apply for the visa:
- A valid passport for at least 6 months after completion of your course.
- A letter of acceptance from the language school with the confirmation that you have been accepted as a student
- Evidence that the fees for the course have been paid in full (if the study visa will be denied, your fees will be returned in full except for the administration fees)
- Proof of visa application fee (60 EUR)
- Evidence that you have enough funds to maintain yourself for your stay in Ireland
- Copies of your educational qualifications
- Evidence that you have medical insurance
- Confirmation that you intend to return to your country of permanent residence when you leave Ireland.
What am I allowed to do with the short-term visa?
Under Irish law, you’re not allowed to engage in any activity or to remain in Ireland for any purpose other than that for which your visa to stay in Ireland was granted. Thus, with your short stay study visa for Ireland, you cannot engage in a business activity and you are also not allowed to access public funding.
If during your stay in Ireland, you would like to get involved in any other activity other than that of learning English, you have to go back to your home country and apply for a new type of visa.
How do I apply for the language learner visa?
You can easily apply for a short stay visa for Ireland online, through INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service). You can apply for a visa up to three months before your date of travel to Ireland.
- Complete the online application form (guidance is available in several languages)
- Prepare all supporting documentation, passport photograph and fee (53 GBP)
- Submit your documentation to your appropriate Irish Embassy or Consulate.
- The visa application process is usually dealt within eight weeks once the visa office/embassy/ consulate receives your application.
Need more details?
Check the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) website to find out all you need to know before you apply for a visa.