What Should I Know Before Coming to Ireland?

What Should I Know Before Coming to Ireland?

If you intend to come to Ireland as an English language student, here are some things you should know.

Accommodation Crisis

There is a serious housing crisis in Ireland at the moment. Accommodation is in short supply, consequently it is hard to find, and very expensive.

At ELTA we are not in a position to assist students in finding accommodation. If you do not have friends you can stay with until you can find a place of your own, or other suitable arrangements, we strongly advise you to reconsider coming here at this time.


Student Visa

How can I get a student visa, what conditions are attached to it and what does it entitle me to?

Non-EEA national coming to study in Ireland must have a study visa, also known as a Stamp 2 visa. Acquiring a Stamp 2 visa will depend on what country you are from.

Look at this list and note the countries on the left-hand side, and those on the right.

If you are from a country on the right-hand side of the list, the process of coming to Ireland for the purpose of studying English is uncomplicated. You need only apply to an English language school that is recognised by the authorities and pay your school fee. Citizens of countries on the right-hand side of the list entering the State to study English in Ireland for 6 months or longer must be able to prove that they have €4,200. This money is for their own use. If you are coming for a period of 6 months’ study, you will be entitled an 8-month visa. This is the Stamp 2 study visa. You can read more about it below.

When you come to ELTA from abroad to study in Ireland for the first time, we will provide you with the documents you need to present to the Immigration authorities at the airport. There is more about this below.

If you are from a country on the left-hand side of the list, you will need to apply for a visa before coming to Ireland. The visa officer will have to be convinced that you have a genuine reason to learn English and that you have a compelling reason to go back to your country once you have achieved your learning outcomes. You will not be considered a good visa candidate if you do not know any English at all. Visa officers take the view that if your motive in coming to Ireland is to learn English, you will take the trouble to learn a little before planning your trip. If your English level is basic and you have taken some lessons, it would be appropriate to provide proof of that. Documents that support your need to learn English, will help your application. Such documents could be a letter from your employer offering you a better position if you achieve a higher level of English than your current level; or a letter from your professor confirming your place in a graduate programme provided you achieve a specific level of English.

ELTA will provide you with the documents you need to present to the visa office when applying for your visa, including proof of payment. While you must pay for your course before you apply for your visa, your payment is not transferred to our regular bank account, but to an escrow account where it is held securely until you have landed in Ireland. If your visa is refused, your fee is returned to you less an administrative fee of €100.

What Should I Do When I Arrive in Ireland?

When you arrive at the airport, you will present two documents to the Immigration officer. These are:

  1. A letter from the school, confirming your acceptance as our student, your address in Ireland, and that your fees have been paid.
  2. Your medical insurance policy.

On your first day at ELTA, you will do two placement tests: a written test and a speaking test. You will be assigned to a General English class and a Callan Method class based on your results.

As a Stamp 2 visa holder,

  • you are permitted to work 20 hours per week, and
  • you are permitted to work 40 hours per week from 1st June to 30th September, and from 15th December to 15th

Newly arrived students who have little or no English often work as cleaners. Some with a little better English put their CVs in bars, restaurants, and hotels. These places often have signs in the windows advertising vacancies. Other jobs that are popular with our students are working as security guards, or a care givers.

Once you have a job offer, you need to apply for your Personal Public Service (PPS) number because your employer needs this to pay you legally.

To get a PPS number, you must show:

  • Your passport, as proof of your identity
  • A letter confirming that you have been offered a job, as proof of the reason you need a PPS number.
  • Your medical insurance policy, as proof of your address.

The next thing you will need is a bank account so that your employer can pay your wages. The easiest and fastest way is to open an online bank account like Revolut, or Money Jar.

Some work environments can be demanding, and others can be fun, but no matter what the situation is at work, no matter what emergencies may arise, always remember that you are in Ireland on a study visa, and it is your legal obligation to attend school a minimum of 15 hours per week. Always prioritize school over work. If you do not take school seriously and your attendance falls below the acceptable level, you will receive three written warnings and if by this time your attendance has not improved, you will be removed from the school register and reported to Immigration. This is not a common occurrence, but it can happen.

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