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Studying and COVID-19

COVID-19 your questions answered

The Government of Ireland is committed to protecting the health and safety of all people living, working and studying in Ireland during this time of unprecedented challenge. That protection extends to you, current and prospective international students.

Ireland is taking a measured, consistent and evidence-led approach to the COVID-19 situation, based on the best available international guidelines and local public health advice. The Government of Ireland’s roadmap for re-opening society and business is available on We can tell you that Education in Ireland, as part of the Government of Ireland, is working with our Irish Universities and Colleges and Partner Institutions to ensure that we deliver on the commitments we made to current and prospective students. Higher education institutions will commence re-opening on a phased basis at the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year.

We’re committed to enabling you to fulfill your hopes and dreams of a third level education in Ireland. As it stands the Irish higher education institutions are continuing to make preparations to welcome new and returning students for the 2020/21 academic year. They are also considering a number of precautionary options, to ensure they are well positioned to adapt as the situation evolves. These include exploring flexible start dates and delivering courses via remote learning.

We are committed to providing you with a world-class education in Ireland. We promised you the warmest of welcomes. We are exploring all options to make this a reality.

Immigration and Visa applications

Whether you are a current international student or starting a programme in Ireland in the 2020/21 academic year, you may be concerned about how to renew, extend or apply for an Irish Residence Permit. The information on this page explains how the Government of Ireland is providing Immigration Services currently.

Current Valid Immigration Permissions extended for one month

Immigration permissions due to expire between 20th September 2020 and 20th January 2021 will be automatically extended until 20th January 2021. The renewal of permission is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions attach. You’ll find more information here.

Temporary Closure of Registration Offices

The Dublin area Registration Office located in Burgh Quay will close temporarily, to allow for revised public health guidance to be issued. All renewals in the Dublin area are now being processed online only and the system has been available for all applicants since 20 July 2020 at, and renewal applications will continue to be accepted.

All Registration Offices for non-Dublin residents operated by An Garda Síochána will also close temporarily, to allow for revised public health guidance to be issued.  

Further announcements in relation to the operation of the Registration Offices will issue on the INIS website. You’ll find more information here.

Renewing an existing Irish Residence Permit

Normal processing of re-entry visa applications will re-commence on 20th July 2020.

If you had a valid IRP card, please submit any re-entry visa applications by Registered Post as normal. All applications will be queued for processing. Due to the volume of applications expected, the processing time will be 15-20 working days. Please do not make travel arrangements until your documents have been returned. On the outside of the envelope, please write the Stamp number you are applying for plus Re-entry Visa.  You’ll find more information here.

New online registration service for students residing in Dublin

There is a new online Registration Renewal system for all non-nationals based in Dublin. This means anyone looking to renew their registration will no longer have to book an appointment and attend the registration office in person. Applicants seeking to renew their permission will now complete the application form online here, upload copies of supporting documents online, pay the applicable fee and then submit their passport and current IRP card via registered post.  Documents will be checked and, if approved, the passport will be stamped and returned by registered post and an IRP card issued by express post. You’ll find more information here.

Local Registration Office service for students residing outside Dublin

If you need to renew your Irish Residence Card (IRP) and are residing outside Dublin you must continue to renew your IRP card through your local Registration Offices. To facilitate those needing to travel and reduce processing time, rather than requiring an IRP card we will accept evidence of your having applied for and renewed your registration. You’ll find more information here.

Applying for a Stamp Visa 

If you are a student that has recently arrived to Ireland for the first time, you can now apply for your Stamp Visa electronically. You must scan copies of all your documentation and send to This is the email address for the Registration Office, Burgh Quay, Dublin. You can find out more about the application process here.

Immigration Offices and Visa Centres

Unfortunately at this moment in time we simply do not know when visa application centres will re-open. Whilst the Government of Ireland is keen for centres to re-open as soon as possible, local conditions and advice from the Government of Ireland, your own Governments and health authorities will dictate when this can safely happen.

What you can do before the visa application centres and Embassies re-open

We understand that the closure of these centres can cause delays and stress. There are teams in place to deal with visa applications quickly and in the meantime, we would encourage you to have all the necessary documentation ready. Keep the University or College you are interested in attending or have already applied to up-to-date on your Visa status. The Irish Universities and Colleges will be as flexible as they possibly can be.

How you can avail of the Third Level Graduate Scheme (stay back option)

In light of the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary immigration arrangements are in place for all non-EEA nationals currently holding student permission (Stamp 2) who wish to avail of the Third Level Graduate Programme. This temporary measure will be kept under review in light of the restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and may be amended or withdrawn, in whole or in part, when considered appropriate to do so, but regardless will cease to apply no later than 30 September 2020.

This notice sets out the updated immigration arrangements which apply to all non-EEA nationals currently holding student permission (Stamp 2), who wish to avail of the Third Level Graduate Programme, but are unable to report to their local registration office to receive a Stamp 1G due to either:

  • The temporary closure of the Registration Office in Dublin and local Registration Offices across the country,
  • They have returned to their home countries or countries of ordinary residence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rather than attending in person, as a temporary measure, applications may be submitted electronically to the Registration Office, Burgh Quay, Dublin. All required documentation should be scanned and included in the application.

Where permission has been granted, applicants will still be required to register once the Registration Office and local Registration Offices reopen and, where applicable, the applicant has returned to Ireland.

All other eligibility criteria set out in the 2017 Revision of this Scheme will continue to apply. Click here to find the latest information.

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