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Living in Ireland

Visas and Immigration

Students from within the EU/EEA and Switzerland do not need a visa to study in Ireland, nor do they need one to work.

You should however bring proof of acceptance to a HEI and register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau soon after entering the country.

Anyone else will need to apply for a visa in order to gain permission to study in Ireland. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service processes visa applications and require the following:

  • A letter of acceptance onto a course offered by a recognised institution.
  • Evidence that fees have been paid.
  • Evidence of medical insurance.
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to cover living expenses – currently set at a minimum of €3,000 a year.
  • Passport which is valid for at least six months after the course will end.

Accommodation

Unlike most universities in the UK, Irish universities do not guarantee their first year students a place in halls of residence. Quite the contrary in fact, on campus accommodation is hard to come by in Ireland.

Most students should expect to use privately rented accommodation when studying in Ireland. As in the UK many student-focussed estate agents exist so a room shouldn’t be too hard to find. The accommodation office at your university should be able to help you ensure that you rent from a trusted landlord.

Costs

  • The price of a room in university residencies varies widely ranging from around €3,000 to €7,000 a year.
  • Private rented costs are hugely variable and depend on the type of accommodation chosen. In Dublin (Ireland’s most expensive city) prices can range from around €300 (£228) a month for a shared room, to €700 (£532) a month for self-contained studio flat.

Health Insurance

Ireland has a good standard of healthcare but it’s worth looking into your medical entitlement and what you’ll need to prepare before arriving.

If you’re from the EU:

  • Under EU regulations you’ll be entitled to free healthcare whilst studying in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Just make sure to bring your E.109 form with you, as well as proof of EU citizenship.
  • Get all the necessary documentation ready in advance of arriving in Ireland, contact your country’s health authority for further advice.

If you’re not from the EU:

  • Unfortunately you won’t be entitled to any free hospital services in Ireland.
  • All non-EU students must buy health insurance; you’ll need to show proof of it when applying for a student visa and when registering with the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Leisure

Ireland is as good a place to visit as it is to study; you’re never far from a good time on the Emerald Isle.

  • Ireland’s nightlife is second to none, traditional live music being a particular highlight for many.
  • A proud sporting nation, there’s options aplenty for any active folk including Gaelic games and even a bit of surfing on the West Coast.
  • Escape from it all and enjoy Ireland’s countryside; visit the dramatic Cliffs of Moher where you might spot some nesting puffins or take a gentle stroll across the mind boggling Giant’s Causeway. Ireland’s outdoors are second to none.
  • Ireland has all the usual leisure amenities of developed nations so you’ll always be within easy reach of retail centres, cinemas, swimming centres, bowling, gyms, and so on.

Working

Studying in Ireland is no exception to the rule that student life can be tough going when it comes to finances. Getting a job can make all the difference but what are your entitlements?

  • If you’re from the EU or EEA you’ll be completely free to work part-time or full-time* hours.
  • If you’re from outside the EU or EEA you’re able to take up casual employment, defined as a maximum of 20 hours per week. Students must be registered with the GNIB and the course they study must be on the list of government approved visa eligible courses.  During the Christmas and summer holidays international students are permitted to work up to 40 hours per week.

*although EU and EEA students are permitted to work full-time it is not advisable especially if enrolled on a full-time course. Your university will have guidelines.

Read our article on part-time working for the benefits and tips for getting a job.

Climate

  • Ireland, like the UK, has a temperate climate so won't take much getting used to.
  • Average winter temperature is around 6 °C.
  • Average summer temperature is 17°C.
  • Make sure to bring a decent raincoat or brollie though! Ireland averages 1000mm of rainfall a year. This is spread fairly evenly throughout the year so you’re unlikely to get caught up in any extreme showers. 

Other costs of living

Ireland, in common with much of the EU, is not a cheap country in which to live.

  • Recent estimates for the cost of a year in Dublin have ranged between €10,000 (£7,596) and €15,000 (£11,394), largely depending on the type of accommodation chosen, including rent, electricity, food, books and laundry and medicine as well as travel passes and social expenses.

Typical costs (February 2016) are:

  • Meal, inexpensive restaurant: €15 (£11.40)
  • Meal at McDonalds: €7.50 (£5.69)
  • Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught): €4.70 (£3.57)
  • Imported beer (0.33 litre bottle): €4.80 (£3.65)
  • Cappuccino: €2.79 (£2.11)
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle): €1.46 (£1.10)
  • Water (0.33 litre bottle): €1.17 (£0.89)
  • Loaf of bread: €1.44 (£1.09)
  • Cigarettes (Marlboro x20): €10 (£7.61)
  • One-way ticket local transport: €2.50 (£1.90)
  • Cinema ticket: €10 (£7.61)