Student Visa Process for Ireland

As an American citizen, you are not required to obtain a traditional study visa for your study abroad program in Ireland. Non-U.S. citizens should check the following website for their immigration requirements, as it will depend on their home country and immigration status in the U.S.:

However, U.S. citizens who are studying in Ireland for more than 90 days need to obtain an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) once they are on-site in Ireland. You will be required to present certain documentation to the Customs/Immigration official upon arrival in Ireland in order to have the appropriate immigration status. At the airport, the Customs/Immigration official will ask to see your passport and may ask for your Irish university acceptance letter.  You should have both of these items in your carry-on bag.  You will then register with your local immigration office once you arrive in your host city, approximately 2 weeks into your term. 

Students participating in Ireland programs do not need to book an appointment prior to their arrival. The API staff will help you with the registration appointment once you are on site.

By law, if you are not a citizen of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you must register your presence in Ireland with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). Students who are U.S. citizens will not require a visa to enter or study in Ireland, but will be required to register for the Irish Residence Permit with the GNIB shortly after arrival. Once you register with the GNIB you will be presented with a IRP card, which you must carry on you at all times during your study abroad program. 

Why do I need to register with the GNIB? 

  • The GNIB keeps a record of all non-EU and non-EEA visitors to the country who are staying for longer than 90 days AND visiting students.  As a guest of the Irish government you will be expected to comply with GNIB guidelines. 
  • If you leave Ireland to travel during your study abroad program you MUST have your IRP card to re-enter Ireland. Failure to provide your IRP card may result in immediate deportation at the discretion of Gardaí and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services (INIS). 
  • If the Gardaí have reason to request identification from you then you will be expected to provide your IRP card. 

What will I need in order to register with the GNIB? 

  • Your U.S. passport valid for at least 6 months after the program end date.  
  • Evidence that you intend to leave Ireland at the end of your studies (a return ticket to the USA or flight itinerary/receipt). 
  • Your student I.D. from your Irish university.  You will receive your student I.D. during university registration. 
  • letter from your Irish university confirming that you are a registered student. You will be able to request this letter from the International Office at your host university or find it on your student portal. 
  • An official letter or receipt from your Irish university showing that your fees have been paid in full. You should be able to request this letter from the Fees Office at your host university. 
  • API Immigration letter. This provides proof of medical and life insurance and evidence that your university fees are paid in full.
  • Evidence of private medical insurance. Your API insurance brochure can be used to show evidence of medical insurance. 
  • Evidence of access to financial support. You must show that you have access to €500 per month of your stay OR €3,000, whichever is the lesser amount. If you are studying in Ireland for more than 6 months and up to a year you will need to show that you have access to a minimum of €3,000. 
  • €300 payable by credit/debit card or bank giro ONLY. This fee cannot be paid in cash.  If paying by credit card, it must have your name listed as the account holder; otherwise, the account holder must also be present at the appointment.    

What can I use as evidence of access to financial support? 

  • An official bank statement from an Irish bank account 
  • An official bank statement from your home/U.S. bank account 
  • An official bank statement from your parents’ home/U.S. bank account
  • Evidence of adequate financial support from an academic scholarship or student loan 
  • A combination of the above 


API reiterates the following points: 

  • You are solely responsible for obtaining the proper documentation for your study period in Ireland. 
  • The university you will be attending in Ireland requires that all students have the proper documentation for their period of study. Students who do not follow the correct procedures may not be eligible to complete their semester or obtain credit for courses taken abroad.