Registration as a Master's degree student
To stay in Ireland to study a postgraduate Master's degree for longer than 90 days, you must apply in person at a registration office.
If successful, you'll be given permission to stay (subject to conditions) and registered with immigration.
Your exact preparations depend on your personal circumstances. Some of the most important are described below. Read this information carefully to make sure you have everything you need.
You plan to study in Ireland for a postgraduate degree. Change your answers
Before you travel to Ireland
Enrol in a course & pay for your study
You must enrol in and pay for your course of study before you come to Ireland.
You can only study a course from the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP).
Check if you need a visa
After you have paid for your course, check if you need a visa. If you need a visa, apply for a Long Stay (D) Visa.
If you come to Ireland using a Short Stay (C) Visa, you will not be allowed to register. You will have to leave the country and reapply.
Bringing your family or children to Ireland
In general, you cannot bring your family with you to Ireland as a student, though there are some exceptions.
If your family is allowed to join you, anyone aged 16 or older must also register.
When you arrive in Ireland
Check your registration date
If you are allowed into Ireland, an immigration officer at border control will stamp your passport and then add a date to the stamp.
You must visit a registration office in person before this date to:
- Apply for permission to stay here, ie to study
- Register your details with immigration
If you don't get permission/register in time, you may have to leave the country.
Find a registration office
If you live in Dublin City or county
You must go to Burgh Quay Registration Office in Dublin City centre.
Before you visit, you must book an appointment online. For best choice, book your appointment 10 weeks in advance.
Do not go to Burgh Quay without an appointment, as you will not be allowed to register.
If you live outside Dublin City or county
You must go to the registration office nearest to where you live. Registration offices are located at Garda Síochána (police) stations around the country.
You may need an appointment to visit a regional registration office. Contact your local office before you visit to check opening days & times.
When you register
Documents you will need
You must bring:
- Your passport
- An original Letter of Acceptance from a college/university confirming you have been accepted & enrolled (see note 1 below)
- Proof that you have paid any college/university fees (see note 2 below)
- Proof of scholarship funding (if appropriate) (see note 3 below)
- Proof that you have private medical insurance (see note 4 below)
If you did not need a visa to come to Ireland, you must also prove that you can support yourself financially after you arrive here. You do this by showing you have direct access to:
- €3,000, if you are staying for more than 6 months (see note 4 below)
- €500 per month or €3,000 (in total) if you are staying 6 months or less
If any of these are missing, you cannot be given permission to stay and won't be registered.
+ Click to view notes about documents
Your letter must show you are enrolled on a privately funded course at Degree Programme Level 9 (or above) of the National Framework of Qualifications.
You may use an original receipt from your college/university (showing the amount paid) as proof.
- If your course fees are below €6,000, you must be able to show you have paid the full amount.
- If your course fees are higher than €6,000, you must be able to show you have paid at least €6,000.
An original letter from your sponsor describing your scholarship, ie financial and other support.
You cannot use travel insurance as an alternative.
Use any 1 of the following 4 options to show you have direct access to €3,000 or €500 per month if you are staying less than 6 months.
Read a longer description about financial requirements for students.
(If you need a visa to come to Ireland, you do not need proof of finance after you arrive here. Your ability to support yourself is checked during the visa application process.)
Option 1 - Proof from an Irish bank
If you choose this option, you must bring an original statement from an Irish bank that shows a balance of €3,000 (or €500 per month if you are staying less than 6 months).
The statement must be for an account in your own name, ie the same name as in your passport.
Option 2 - Proof from a foreign bank
If you choose this option, you must bring 2 original bank statements from a foreign bank.
- The first statement must show a balance of €3,000 (or €500 per month if you are staying less than 6 months). The statement must less than 1 month old.
- The second statement must be from the same bank. It must be less than 6 months old.
Both statements must be for the same account and in your own name, ie the same name as in your passport.
You must also show that you have a debit card (for cash withdrawals in Ireland).
The debit card must be for the same bank account that has the €3,000 (or €500 per month if you are staying less than 6 months).
Option 3 - Proof from a financial services company
If you choose this option, you must bring an original letter from a financial services company in Ireland that shows it holds €3,000 'in trust' for you (or €500 per month if you are staying less than 6 months).
The financial services company must be regulated in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland.
Option 4 - Proof via a pre-paid credit card or debit card
If you choose this option, you must bring an original statement that you have a pre-paid credit card(s) or debit card(s) with €3,000 (or €500 per month if you are staying less than 6 months).
Cost & payment options
You must pay a fee of €300 per person to register. You can pay by:
- Bank giro: A giro is a pre-printed form and can be collected from any registration office.
- Credit card or debit card: These can be used at Burgh Quay Registration Office and some others.
Contact your local office to confirm payment options before you arrive.
Visit the registration office
At the registration office an immigration officer will examine your documents and decide if you should be given permission.
They will also record your personal details for registration (eg fingerprints & photo) and collect the €300 fee.
Most visits take about 1 hour, including some waiting periods.
Read more about what happens when you visit a registration office.
If your visit is successful
Before you leave the registration office, the immigration officer will:
- Put a stamp in your passport to grant you permission to stay
- Give you a Certificate of Registration to show you have been registered
The type of stamp indicates the conditions of your permission, including the:
- Activities you can - and cannot do - in Ireland
- Time period you are allowed to stay
The Certificate of Registration (also called a 'GNIB card') indicates that:
- Your permission to stay here has been registered
- It also includes the name of the stamp in your passport
Certificates of Registration are called 'GNIB cards' because they are often issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).
There are several types of stamp with different names, eg Stamp 0, Stamp 1, Stamp 2, Stamp 2A, Stamp 3. Each one indicates a type of permission.
In most cases you will be given Stamp 2 or 2A for permission to study.
However, you could get a different stamp based on the judgement of the immigration officer. Read a longer description about stamps and permission.
After your visit
Update or modify your details
You should inform us if your personal details or circumstances change, for example:
- The reasons underlying your permission change, eg change of study
- You change your home/postal address
- Other details change, eg you change your name
You should also contact us if there is a problem with your documents (eg we misspelled your name) or if you lose or damage your Certificate of Registration (GNIB card).
Working while you study
In some circumstances you may be allowed to work while you study, eg to help support yourself financially.
However, there are limits on what you can do and the total hours you can work.
Working after you finish your studies
In some circumstances, you may be allowed to work in Ireland after you finish your studies via the Third Level Graduate Scheme.
This scheme applies to some types of graduate only.
Renew your registration
Permission expiry & renewal
Permission to study a postgraduate degree is usually valid for 12 months.
If you wish to stay in Ireland longer, you must renew your permission & registration before they expire.
If you do not renew in time, future applications could be affected by gaps in your record. In some circumstances, you may have to leave the country.
The total time you can study a postgraduate degree in Ireland is 7 years.
If you have questions, contact us.
Updated: 2 November 2016
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2 November 2016
Text change from: "For best choice, book your appointment 6 weeks in advance."
5 September 2016