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Accommodation

As a student, you can opt for either on-campus student accommodation or off-campus accommodation. Generally, on-campus is in high demand and students are allocated a place there based on a lottery. Another option is choosing an off-campus student apartment. These properties are similar to the on-campus ones but usually a bit more expensive. Besides these two options there are also homestays (digs) and privately rented flats. Homestays offer you the chance to live with an Irish family, often for a cheaper price, whereas privately rented flats grant you the option of living independently. 

The best sites for searching for private accommodation and homestays are:

Daft.ie
Rent.ie
Homestay.com
Collegecribs.ie
Homes.usi.ie

Your accommodation rights depend on what type of accommodation you’re renting. If you’re renting a private property where the landlord does not live in the same property then you have quite a few legal rights and responsibilities. These include:

  • A right to privacy (i.e the landlord cannot enter your flat without permission)
  • A minimum standard for the accommodation
  • Rent can only increase every two years and the landlord must provide 3 months notice before increasing it
  • The landlord must pay for repairs unless you did the damage
  • Both the landlord and the tenant must give a valid period of notice before ending the tenancy contract

If you’re staying in a homestay (meaning that the landlord lives in the same property) then you will have far fewer rights. For example, the landlord can increase the rent at any time; they can also give less of a notice period before asking you to move out and there are no minimum standards that the property must comply to.

Health

EEA-nationals are entitled to public health care in Ireland with a European Health Insurence Card (EHIC). Students must obtain the card from their home country prior to arrival. The card does not cover dental or optical care.

Non-EEA nationals will have to provide proof of their own basic health insurance policy when registering with immigration authorities. These insurance policies are generally available through colleges. For insurance that covers more than just emergencies, students will need to purchase private health insurance. You may also get health insurance from your home country as long as it meets the requirements.

Most universities have an on-campus healthcare facility for students free of charge. Students can either walk in and be attended by a nurse or book an appointment to be attended by other medical professionals.

Higher Education

Tuition fees in Ireland are determined by each individual university and are divided into EU and non-EU fees. In order to be eligible for EU fees, the candidate should either be an EU-national or have been living in an EU member state as a tax resident for 3 out of the past 5 years. 

EU students are eligible for free tuition fees for undergraduate courses whereby students will only have to contribute 3000€ towards the tuition fee if eligible. For postgraduate courses, students will have to pay the tuition fee in full (unless they are able to secure a grant or scholarship).

There are a variety of scholarships available for international students here. Many universities also have their own scholarships for international students, so it’s worth checking it out.

All universities, institutes and colleges have specific English language requirements which may vary from course to course. The most common examination preferred is the IELTS although exams like TOEFL, CELA, PTE and ETAPP are also widely accepted. 

International applicants will also need to demonstrate a minimum level of English to obtain their study visa unless the visa is for the purpose of studying English. If the English language requirement for a course is higher than the minimum specified for visa purposes, the student must provide evidence of meeting the college’s requirements.

Living in Ireland

The cost of living in Ireland depends largely on which city you’re living in, with Dublin being the most pricey option. It is estimated that students will need about 10 000€ to 15 000€ a year. These figures include rent, utilities, groceries, travel expenses as well as social expenses and exclude tuition fees. 

Rents in Dublin can vary greatly by the property chosen. You could be paying 400-500€ for a shared room or 1200€ for your own studio. There is also the option of on-campus accommodation. Besides accommodation, students can expect to spend about 150-200€ on public transport and another 300-400€ on food. 

The cost of living will generally be much lower in cities like Cork, Galway and Limerick especially when it comes to rent and transport. Rents in these cities will usually range from 400-700€ and transport is under 100€ a month. 

To see more about the cost of living in Dublin and to compare it to other cities, take a look at Numbeo. You can also have a look at what universities estimate your cost of living will be on their websites:

University College Cork Cost of Living

NUI Galway Cost of Living

Dublin Institute of Technology Cost of Living

University of Limerick Cost of Living

Student Services

All universities have an international office on campus that offers support and guidance to international students throughout their studies. International offices also establish partnerships with foreign institutions and host international events.

The accommodation office can help you find accommodation and advise you on your rights and obligations as a tenant.

Some universities provide students with academic/personal tutors who are usually members of the teaching staff. Your personal tutor will act as your first point of contact for any matters regarding classes, academics, class schedules, grades etc.

The careers office can provide you with information on jobs, internship opportunities and careers advice.

Transport in Ireland

Dublin Bus

The Dublin bus network operates throughout the city from 6:30am to 11:30pm. 

Nitelink

Nitelink is a service of night buses in Dublin running from 11:30pm to 2 or 4am on Fridays and Saturdays. These buses come every 1-2 hours and accept exact fares only (in coins). 

Bus Eireann

Bus Eireann provides coach services throughout Ireland. It also operates urban bus services in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.

Aircoach

Aircoach operates a bus service linking Dublin Airport with various destinations in the Dublin area.

Irish Rail

The Irish Rail provides rail services throughout the Republic of Ireland. There are two main stations in Dublin including Connoly Station (serving Belfast, Rosslare Harbor and Sligo) and Heuston Station (serving all other cities including Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford). 

Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART)

The DART is a local train system that serves the outskirts of Dublin with 27 stations along the coastline from Howth in the north to Bray in the south.

LUAS

LUAS is a Dublin area tram service which operates two lines (The Red Line and the Green Line) running from 5:30am to 12:30pm

Full-time students can buy a Student Leap Card which gives access to discounted tickets on DART and Commuter Rail, LUAS, Dublin Bus, Wexford Bus, City Direct, Swords Express, Matthews’ Coaches and Bus Eireann services.

Visa

If your visa is rejected by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) you’ll receive a letter from them explaining why. Your visa refusal may be appealed without any extra cost. To appeal your rejected visa application you must contact INIS within 2 months of the visa refusal. In order to contact INIS you should send a letter by post to their address containing:

  • Your full name
  • Postal address
  • Personal email address
  • Visa application transfer number
  • The reason why you believe the decision to refuse your visa was incorrect

If you provided false or misleading information in your application then you will not be able to appeal your rejected visa application. 

For more information click here.

All non-EEA students applying to an Irish university have a right to a refund in the case of their visa application not being accepted. However, it is still important to know the policy of each university before applying because they may vary. Generally, universities will only refund the fee if the course has not yet begun. Many colleges also won’t provide a refund if the visa was refused due to the applicant providing false information in the application.

In order to receive a refund, applicants must provide proof of their visa application being rejected. Usually, it will take up to working 20 days for the applicant to receive your money back.

Working in Ireland

Students from the EEA (European Economic Area) can take up full-time and part-time employment during their studies in Ireland with no restrictions. EEA-nationals will also be able to stay and work full-time in Ireland after graduation.

Students from outside of the EEA who have an Irish Residence Permit and are enrolled in a full-time visa eligible course (ILEP) may work for up to 20 hours per week during most of the year. Non-EEA students may work full-time (40 hours a week) from the period of December 15th to January 15th and June 1st to September 30th. 

Non-EEA students will not be able to stay and work in Ireland after graduation unless they obtain a Green Card or a work permit under the Third Level Graduate Scheme.

The Third Level Graduate Scheme provides non-EEA students with the right to stay in Ireland for a period of 12-24 months after graduation for the purpose of seeking employment. In order to qualify students must have completed either an Honours Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree or a PhD and apply for the Third Level Graduate Scheme while their student visa is still valid.

A Personal Public Service (PPS) number is a necessary reference number for anyone who wants to work in Ireland. You will receive the number if you’re enrolled in a full-time QQI accredited course. Likewise, you can ask for the number if you’ve already got a specific employment offer. 

In order to obtain your PPS number, you’ll need to go to one of the centres of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

9.80€ an hour for employees aged 20 and above (as of 2019).

  • New Year’s Day (January 1st)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th)
  • Easter Monday
  • The first Monday in May
  • The first Monday in June
  • The first Monday in August
  • The last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day (December 25th)
  • St. Stephen’s Day (December 26th)

4 weeks per year

If you run into any problems during your employment you can contact the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) and the Immigration Council of Ireland.