Whether you are from the UK, the US, Uruguay or anywhere else, there are many reasons to pursue your third level studies in Ireland. International students in Ireland have many reasons to come, and plenty more to stay.
As well as having some of the most prestigious universities in Europe, Ireland is also home to a range of innovative institutes of technology that produce thousands of skilled graduates each year. Moreover, the relatively affordable cost of tuition for students in Ireland, combined with its diverse and expanding economy, make studying in Ireland an attractive proposition for students looking to begin their career quickly upon completion of their studies.
However, before you start picturing your life as a student in Ireland, you need to learn more about the application process for studying in Ireland, as well as identifying what your options are.
Application processes and tuition fees for International students in Ireland
Like many facets of life in Ireland, the country that you are arriving in Ireland from is often one of the most important factors that will determine what you are and are not entitled to once you get here.
Ireland’s membership of the European Union and, by extension, its membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) means that the free movement of people is a right afforded to all citizens from fellow EU/EEA member states. This is a benefit that also extends to students wishing to study in one of the institutes of technology or universities in Ireland.
Undergraduate students from EU/EEA member states can apply for third level courses in Ireland through the Central Applications Office, or CAO as it is more commonly known. This is the same process that almost all Irish students will pursue and you can learn more about the CAO here. CAO applications can be made online, and there is also a very useful handbook.
However, to be considered an EU/EEA applicant, and avail of the more straightforward application process that goes with that, a student must be someone who:
- is ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA member state and has completed full time post-primary education there or is ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA member state and has worked full-time in the EU/EEA for three of the five years immediately preceding admission to an Irish third level institution; or
- holds a passport from an EU/EEA state and has received all full-time post primary education in an EU/EEA member state; or
- has official refugee status and has been granted humanitarian leave to remain in Ireland;
- has been ordinarily resident in the EU/EEA for three of the five years immediately before admission to an Irish third level institution.
A student’s registered status cannot be changed from EU/EEA or non EU/EEA or vice-versa during a programme for which he or she is registered. Finally, for students aged under 23, the student’s parent(s) must also live (their principal residence for the purpose of taxation) in an EU/EEA member state for three of the five years prior to student’s entry to an Irish third level institution in order for the student to be considered as coming from an EU/EEA country.