International students in Ireland: An application guide

Are you thinking of becoming an international student in Ireland? With over 100 countries represented across Ireland’s universities and technical institutions, studying at an Irish institution as an International Student has never been more possible!

The rate of international students in Ireland has skyrocketed in recent years with students hailing from over 100 countries at Ireland’s universities and technical institutions. Whether you’re from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, or Australasia, you will be able to find a lively and active community with students from your home continent!

3rd level education in Ireland is an enriching and enlightening experience for all those who take part. That being said, navigating the extensive application process can be a headache. That’s why Babylon Radio has assembled a guide for Non-EEA/EU students to help ease your application journey!

Academic Entry Requirements

In order to study in Ireland as a Non-EEA/EU student, you must be enrolled in a full-time course. To apply to your course, many undergraduate programs in Ireland allow international students to apply directly to undergraduate and postgraduate programs. As a non-EU/EEA student, your first step in applying to an Irish University should be to consult the relevant institutions’ international prospectus page as well as read through your specific country page on their website. The next step should be getting in touch with each institution’s Admissions Office or International Office so that you may receive specific information on the application and admissions process. Entry requirements for courses in Ireland can change year to year depending on the number of applicants. It is important to consult your program or school’s academic requirements before submitting your application. 

While Irish students applying to Irish universities rely on the Irish Leaving Certificate to qualify for universities, International students must opt for either an International Baccalaureate Diploma or other nationally/internationally recognized standardized testing/certification in order to qualify for 3rd-level education in Ireland. To confirm that your qualifications are sufficient to apply to Irish 3rd-level institutions, consult the Qualifications Recognition Service here. These tests/certificates do not guarantee acceptance into specific programs. Rather, they serve at the statutory minimum in order to be considered for admission to an Irish University as an International Student. Many if not all of Ireland’s undergraduate education programs will require additional information and certification in addition to this minimum. 

English Language Requirements

Fluency in English is essential for an international student in Ireland. If you come from a Non-EEA/EU country whose official language is not English, you will be required to complete an English language certification prior to submission of your application. All English language certificates must have been issued within two years of the start of the term. Below is a chart of each examination and the minimum levels required to pass.

Medical Students

If you are looking to study medicine at a third-level Irish institution you will be required to complete the Health Professions Admissions Test (HPAT). Contact the relevant University’s International Office for further information and requirements.


Non-EEA rates are set independently by each Irish University. If you do not hold an EU passport or an Irish Birth Certificate you may still be entitled to free tuition fees if:

  • You hold refugee status
  • You are a family member of a refugee residing in Ireland
  • You are a family member of an EU citizen
  • You have been granted Humanitarian Leave to reside in Ireland
  • You are a dependent child of Irish Nationals
  • The dependent child of a diplomat
  • You are the dependent child of someone residing in Ireland

Eligibility for EU fees is determined by the point of registration for a program. It is advised that you contact your university or institution prior to availing of these fee terms. 

Standard tuition fees for Non-EEA/EU International students across Ireland vary. For undergraduates these fees range from €9,850-€55,000/year, while postgraduate courses (Masters and Ph.D.) range from €9,850-€55,000/year. All international (EEA/EU and Non-EEA/EU) students are required to pay a student contribution fee of a maximum of €3,000/year for student services as well. This student contribution fee varies between institutions. 

In addition to tuition fees etc. Non-EEA/EU students who require a student visa must prove that they have access to €7,000 when they arrive in Ireland. Likewise, students who do not require a visa must still prove that they have access to €3,000 on arrival. For more information on fees at Irish universities, click here.


Before you can apply for an Irish International Student Visa you must enroll in your course and pay for your studies. INIS recommends familiarising yourself with their policy on Non-EEA nationals studying in Ireland to ensure that you meet their requirements before applying for your visa. You can apply for a study visa up to 3 months before your proposed date of travel to Ireland. 

To apply

You must apply for your visa online. Once you have completed your application, you must then follow the instructions on the summary application form generated by the online application system. This summary contains information on where to submit your supporting documentation. You must then print, date, and sign this summary form as a part of the application. Information on supporting documentation can be found here

Applications are processed in date order. It is advised to wait to purchase travel tickets after you have received your visa. Generally, it takes roughly 8 weeks from the date of application to receive a decision. 

There you have it! A guide to applying to third-level Irish institutions as a Non-EEA/EU student. Have you been through this application process before? Comment your experience below!
Featured Image: Brooke Cagle via Unsplash

Emma Grove
Emma Grove

Emma is a Californian-native, a food lover, and a Journalist for Babylon Radio. With a MA(Hons) from the University of Glasgow, Emma is interested in everything musical and cultural going on in Ireland!

One comment

  1. Hi I’m interested and planing to study language English 6month in Ireland I have degree bachelor specialist finance of enterprise from university of Algeria

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