Before You Arrive

Congratulations on receiving an offer to study at NUI Galway! We look forward to welcoming you to Galway in the near future. In the meantime, there are a number of steps to take to ensure that your arrival goes as smoothly as possible.


Pre-Arrival Checklist
1. Download the Pre-Arrival Guide

The International Student Pre-Arrival Guide provides detailed information for accepted students, including study visas, student housing, registration and getting to Galway.

2. Accept your offer

Refer to your offer letter for instructions on how to accept your offer. If you are not sure about how to accept your offer, please email international

3. Pay your deposit or tuition fee

Refer to your offer letter for instructions on how to pay any deposit that may be required by the University. The rules regarding payment and deposits may vary depending on the programme you have been accepted to. Your initial deposit will be deducted from your tuition fee, which unless otherwise stated in your letter of offer, is to be paid in full before you can register as a student. Please see the tuition fees section for more information.

4. Purchase Health Insurance

Proof of medical expenses insurance is required for all non-EU students for immigration purposes. Please refer to the Health Insurance section of our website for more information.

5. Prepare your immigration/travel documents

All non-EU/EEA nationals are subject to immigration control at the point of entry to the Irish State, so please ensure you comply fully with Irish Immigration Regulations and that you have all the required documentation ready for inspection immigration officials. 

6. Book your accommodation

Please refer to the accommodation section of our website for information on how to book student accommodation.

7. Make travel arrangements

Check the Academic Calendar for your Term Dates refer to the "Getting Here" tab above for information and advice on getting to Galway.

8. Pack your things

Check out the list of useful items to pack for Galway. The most important thing to remember is to pack light. Make a list of things you will actually need to see you through the first few weeks in Galway and discard everything else.

9. Plan your budget

It is important to understand all the costs involved, including tuition fees and day-to-day living costs. Budgeting is one of the key skills you will develop during your time at university and once you learn how to manage your money, you will be able to enjoy university life to the full.

10. Keep in touch :-)

We hope you find this pre-arrival section of our website useful in helping you prepare for your stay at NUI Galway. If you are unsure about anything, please contact the International Affairs Office

t: + 353 91 495277

You can also reach out to fellow international students over on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Visas and Immigration

Study Visas

Students from EU and EEA member states do not require a visa to study in Ireland.

Students from Non EU member states are required to comply with Irish Visa and Immigration regulations.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain and maintain a valid passport and Study Visa* to enter Ireland for study purposes.

Visa Exempted Countries

Citizens of the countries listed below do not require a visa to enter Ireland, but must still register their presence in the Irish State with the Garda National Immigration Bureau after arrival in Ireland. Citizens from countries not appearing on this list are required to obtain a Study Visa to study in Ireland.





Antigua & Barbuda







Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region)

Saint Kitts & Nevis



Saint Lucia

The Bahamas


Saint Vincent & the Grenadines






San Marino









Slovak Republic






Solomon Islands



South Africa



South Korea


Macau (Special Administrative Region)


Costa Rica









Czech Republic





Trinidad & Tobago




El Salvador


United Kingdom & Colonies



United States of America





New Zealand




Vatican City











This list is correct as of 3 November 2011, please refer to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for the most up-to-date list of countries.

Applying for a Visa

If you are a non-EU citizen who is not from one of the countries listed above then you will require a Study Visa to enter Ireland.  A visa is a form of pre-entry clearance. It does not guarantee permission to enter Ireland. A short-stay (C) visa is for stays of up to 90 days. A long-stay (D) visa is for stays of longer than 90 days.  An Immigration Officer at the port of entry decides whether or not to admit a person to the State. The Immigration Officer also decides how long a person may remain in Ireland.

Students should read the guidelines for study visas available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service.

A comprehensive guide on how to make an application and the link to the online application facility is also available. Applications may be made online and supporting documentation is then submitted to Irish consulate or embassy in your country of residence.

Please note that tuition fees should be paid in full prior to applying for a student visa. Students applying for visas to the Irish Visa Offices in India and China can have their applications pre-approved prior to full fees being paid. In all other cases, fees should be paid in full prior to a visa application being lodged.

You should contact the International Affairs Office by emailing when you have made your fee payment to obtain written confirmation that fees are paid.

You will require private health insurance.  Please refer to the information regarding Irish health insurance providers on the website of the International Affairs Office

When submitting visa applications please ensure:

  • You have a valid passport
  • You have fully completed and signed your visa application form
  • You have evidence of medical insurance
  • You have evidence of finances to support your study in Ireland
  • You have a letter from NUI Galway confirming your acceptance to a fulltime course of study
  • You have a letter from the International Affairs Office confirming your tuition fees are paid in full
  • You should provide full details of all visa applications to any country including Ireland and if refused by any country include the letter of refusal that issued from that state.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service provides a weekly update of visa decisions on their website which applicants may search with their visa reference number.

The Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service advises that applicants should allow 6-8 weeks to process study visa applications.

Should your visa application be unsuccessful you may appeal the decision to the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service. An outline of the appeal procedure is available on the INIS website.

Arriving in Ireland

On arrival in Ireland non-EU students must pass through immigration control. The onus is on the individual to have all documentation relating to their reasons for entering Ireland for presentation to the Immigration Officer to gain entry. The Immigration Officer may grant leave to enter to a maximum period of three months. They may, depending on the documentation presented grant a lesser period that three month.

Students will be required to demonstrate that they are entering Ireland in order to enrol as a student.  You should carry the following documentation with you:

  • Passport
  • Study visa if applicable
  • Letter of offer from NUI Galway
  • Proof of fee payment of at least €6,000
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • Proof that you have funds to support your stay in Ireland e.g. bank statements, sponsorship letter if applicable.  (See Funding Requirements for Non-EEA Students at First Registration from 1 April 2011 listed below)

An immigration officer can question you regarding your purpose for coming to Ireland and if the immigration officer is not satisfied with the documentation you present you can be denied entry to the State.  It is important therefore that you carry relevant documentation showing that you are entering the State for study purposes.

Your passport details will be recorded and your passport will be stamped with a date by which you must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau in Ireland (GNIB).  Generally speaking non-EU students are granted 30 days during which they may register with the GNIB.  This time period is at the discretion of the immigration officer at your point of entry to the Irish State.

Immigration Registration

A study visa provides pre-clearance to enter Ireland as a student.  Immigration registration grants leave to remain in Ireland for a defined period of time.  All non-EU students intending to remain in Ireland for more than 90 days must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

In general Non-EEA Students studying in Ireland for a period of less than 90 days are not required to register with the Immigration Authorities. However if directed to register by immigration officials at the point of entry to the State,  such students will be required to demonstrate evidence of finance on the same basis as Non-EEA students studying for a period of less than 6 months.

The GNIB office is located at Unit 3, Liosbaun Industrial Estate, Tuam Road, Galway. The telephone number is 091 768002 and the fax number is 091 768003.  The GNIB in Galway provides an immigration registration service.   After registration students will receive an immigration certificate of registration (Registration Card).  A fee of €300 will be charged in respect of the registration certificate.

For immigration registration students require:

  • Passport
  • Current NUI Galway student identity card
  • Visiting Students/Erasmus students  should bring their original letter of offer from NUI Galway
  • Full degree undergraduate and full degree postgraduate students will require an additional letter from the International Affairs Office confirming their course of study and the start and finish dates of the course.
  • Proof of your residential address in Galway e.g. a utility bill with your name and address, or a letter from your landlord/student residence confirming your residential address.  Changes of address must be notified to the GNIB within 7 days of changing address.
  • Students must demonstrate access to sufficient funds to support themselves during their period of study in Ireland.  An acceptable form of evidence of financial support is an original bank statement which showing a student’s name and bank balance.  It is advisable to open a bank account in Ireland in order to demonstrate your financial status to the GNIB.  Student bank accounts with Irish banks are not liable to any bank charges.  Letters to open bank accounts can be obtained from the International Affairs Office.  Please note that bank statements printed from online bank accounts will not be accepted by the GNIB.   Students in receipt of funding from NUI Galway should provide a letter from their Discipline confirming their funding.  Documentation should be originals; photocopies are not accepted. 


Funding Requirements for Non-EEA Students at First Registration from 1 April 2011

Non-EU/EEA Students studying for a period of less than 6 months

€500 per month of stay or €3,000 which ever is the lesser

Non-EU/EEA Students studying for a period equal to or greater than 6 months up to 1 year


Non-EU/EEA Students studying in Ireland where the second registration takes place at a time exceeding 1 year

Such students are generally not required to produce bank accounts at second or subsequent registrations unless they are requested to do so by a Supervisor


  • Personal credit/debit card for payment of immigration fee of €300.  If a student does not have a credit card, he/she will be issued with a bank giro form by the Immigration Officer and requested to return with the completed bank giro form, confirming payment of the fee.   Payment may be made at the student’s bank on campus. 
  • Proof of comprehensive medical insurance which must include hospitalisation cover. You must provide the original policy document in English and the policy document should state your name.  Your policy should clearly state the precise start and finish dates of the insurance cover.   You should therefore ensure that you are covered for the full length of time you are in Ireland i.e. either for the academic year or the semester as appropriate.    If you have an insurance card for your policy you should bring it with you to the GNIB office. 
  • Under immigration rules, all non-EU students must notify the GNIB of any changes to their registration details, including a change of address, change of course or withdrawal from a course, within 7 days.  The telephone number is 091 768002 and the fax number is 091 768003.

NB:  Only original documentation should be presented to the GNIB. Photocopied or faxed documents are not acceptable.

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Re-Entry Visas

If you required a visa to enter Ireland initially, you will need a re-entry visa if you are travelling overseas to allow you to re-enter Ireland (a single or a multi-entry visa can be obtained).  Please refer to the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service website for information on the application process for re-entry visas. The International Affairs Office will provide you with a support letter for your re-entry visa on request.

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Renewing Immigration Registration

Students must renew their immigration registration annually by the date provided on their Garda National Immigration Bureau registration card. It is each student’s responsibility to ensure they maintain their GNIB registration.  The International Affairs Office will provide you with a letter on request to renew GNIB registration provided you are registered as a student of the University and have paid your annual tuition fee.

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Working in Ireland

In relation to non EU/EEA students only students attending a full time course of education of at least one year’s duration leading to qualifications recognized by the Minister for Education and Science will be permitted to take up casual employment.  Access to employment is denied to all other students. Casual employment is defined as up to a maximum of 20 hours part time work per week, or full time work during normal college vacation periods. Such work should not interfere with your course attendance, as failure to provide evidence of a satisfactory attendance record will result in refusal of any extension to your permission to remain in the State.  The entitlement to casual employment will cease on completion of your college course.  The stamp placed in your passport by GNIB will indicate whether or not you are permitted to take up casual employment.  A Stamp 2 confers the right to work.  If you are in doubt about this you should check with GNIB before you accept any job offer. Any breach of your visa conditions will lead to a review of your case and possible removal from the State.  A complete list of approved courses can be found on the Internationalisation Register.

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Graduate Permit Scheme

The Graduate Permit Scheme was established to allow legally resident non-EEA/EU third level graduates to remain in Ireland for the purpose of seeking employment and applying for a Green Card or Work Permit.  A non-EEA/EU student who has, on or after 1 January, 2007, acquired a primary, masters or doctorate degree from an Irish third level educational institution will be permitted to apply for the Scheme. The student at the time of application must hold a current Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

A person, the holder of a Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau, legally resident in the State who acquired their qualification on or after the 1 January, 2007 shall be permitted to apply for this Scheme.

An application for permission to remain under this Scheme may be made at the applicant’s local Garda National Immigration Bureau, or, if living in the Dublin area, to the Garda National Immigration Bureau, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

Documents required when making an application

  • An original letter issued by the International Affairs Office stating that the applicant has completed the course of study satisfactorily and the qualification gained. 
  • Current passport.
  • Final examination transcript
  • Current Certificate of Registration issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

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Family Reunification

Generally speaking, non-EEA students do not have the right to family reunification.  However, INIS prepared to recognise the value of some flexibility to the above policy and accordingly certain exemptions are facilitated.  As a general principle all non-EEA students coming to Ireland should satisfy themselves of what means are required to support themselves before they travel. It is equally logical to seek to ensure that dependants of students who might give rise to significant State expenditure should only be admitted in limited circumstances and where on balance it is in the State's best interest for this to take place.


In this context and subject to the exemptions set out below, students will continue to have no rights of family reunification. Partners and spouses will be considered as applicants in their own right but cannot advance their application for entry or residence on the basis of their relationship to another student. Students will not be permitted to be accompanied or joined by children other than those born during their stay. Students will be informed of these conditions and also asked to confirm that they do not intend to be joined by dependents of any kind.


Exemptions from the above policy will be allowed where;

(a) The student is pursuing a course at PhD level10 (NFQ 10). In these cases the student will be required to progress academically (verified by letter from academic supervisor) and to complete their doctorate within 4 years; or

(b) The student is a participant in an academic programme agreed between the Irish State and another state whereby the student and dependents are sufficiently well funded in respect of all expenses in Ireland, or where any such agreement provides an exemption; or

(c) The student can demonstrate private means on an annual basis at a level that clearly allows them to support themselves and their family without recourse to public funds and without engaging in employment and where children are accompanying the parent has paid an immigration levy set by the Government as a means of recovering the costs of the child’s education; or

(d) The child is on a short visit to their parent(s) who can show special circumstances and can guarantee that the child will return home at the end of their holiday. Failure to comply with this condition could result in the termination of the parent’s own permission on the basis that they had breached their immigration conditions.

In the case of points (b) and (c) above prospective students will be required to show that sufficient funding is guaranteed and in place to provide for both themselves and in respect of any family members accompanying the student.

Permission to remain in the State for students will generally continue to be conditional on their ensuring that no claims for social welfare benefits are made on their own behalf or on behalf of any dependents accompanying them. Students will also continue to require private medical insurance. Breach of these fundamental conditions may render the student and any accompanying dependents liable to have their immigration permission terminated regardless of their course of study.

(Extract from the Student Guidelines - New Immigration Regime for Full Time non-EEA Students)

Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service – Student Notices Website

The INIS provides a Student Notices website where valuable information pertaining to the immigration rules for students can be accessed.

Information available on this website includes:

Accountancy Students 

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Student Accommodation

The Accommodation (Housing) system at Irish universities may be quite different to your home country. Students coming to study at NUI Galway have two main options available to choose from – you can stay in an official NUI Galway Student Residence or rent a room (single or shared) in a private house or apartment.

The first option, staying at a Student Residence, is the most popular option for undergraduate students, especially those coming to Galway for the first time. With the exception of Corrib Village, the NUI Galway student residences are located off campus. While you might find this a little unusual, if you’re used to a residential college system in your home country, it’s worth bearing in mind that Galway is a relatively small, compact city, which means most of the residences are located within a 10-20 walk from the campus.

Residences vary by size, with smaller residences such as Donegan Court (54 students), Atlantis (80 students) and Menlo Park (140 students) and larger residences such as Cúirt na Coiribe (389 students), Dúnáras (409 students) and Gort na Coiribe (657 students). Please refer to the Accommodation Office at NUI Galway for a full list of residences.

The second main difference is that student residences at Irish universities are usually self-catered. The NUI Galway student residences for example generally comprise self-catered apartment units.

Each unit usually includes 2-3 bedrooms, a small kitchen area and a shared living space. Students therefore have the option of preparing their own meals in their own apartment, which can be cheaper than eating on campus.

Applications for housing are made separately to the relevant student residence. Please refer to the NUI Galway website at for details. The more popular residences book up fast each year, so students are strongly encouraged to place a deposit and secure their place as soon as they receive their offer of admission.

Alternatively, there is also the option to rent room in a private house or apartment, which often suits older undergraduate students and graduate students. Typically, this will entail a houseshare or apartmentshare with other students or professionals.

There is a wide range of properties available to students in Galway, which are advertised throughout the year, but particularly in August. The two most popular websites used are and as well as the local newspaper, the Galway Advertiser, which publishes a weekly accommodation supplement.

While Galway is a relatively compact city, areas such as the City Centre, Newcastle, Lower Salthill and Shantalla are usually the preferred option for students who want to be close to the campus but also within walking or cycling distance from the city centre.

The staff of the Accommodation Office at NUI Galway help students find appropriate accommodation in the student residences, apartments or shared private houses. They can also assist if problems arise with property owners.

For more information, please refer to the NUI Galway Pre-Arrival Guide for International Students.

Getting to Galway


Most international students arrive in Ireland at one the two main airports: Dublin Airport or Shannon Airport.

Dublin Airport is approximately 200km from Galway. Citylink, GoBus and Bus Eireann provide frequent bus departures from outside the Terminal 1 building direct to Galway. The direct bus journey from Dublin Airport to Galway takes approximately 3 hours.

Shannon Airportis approximately 85km from Galway and is a popular option for students arriving from North America. Bus Eireann operates a regular service from outside the main terminal building to Galway. The bus journey from Shannon airport takes approximately 90 minutes.

Ireland West (Knock) Airport is 70 km north of Galway and offers connections to some UK and European hubs.


Irish Rail provides a train service from Dublin to Galway. The Galway train station (Ceannt Station) is located just minutes from Eyre Square in the city centre and is a 20 minute walk from the NUI Galway campus.


Galway is well served by national bus operators including Bus Eireann, City Link and GoBus.


Useful transport links include:


When to Arrive

New international students are strongly advised to arrive in Galway in time to attend Orientation.

All other students are required to arrive in time to attend the first week of classes. Please refer to the Academic Calendar or contact the International Affairs Office for your specific term dates.

What to Pack

Ireland has a temperate climate, which means it may by cooler and damper compared to your home country. Temperatures are relatively mild for most of the year and snowfall or freezing temperatures are comparatively rare compared to mainland Europe and North America. Galway has numerous shops and you should have no difficulty finding anything you need after you arrive. Students are advised to pack clothes that can be worn in layers, for example thermal underwear, jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweaters.

You may also wish to consider taking the following with you, bearing in mind your airline luggage allowance and what you can realistically carry:

  • light raincoat with a warm lining
  • ski jacket (for colder weather)
  • light weight jacket or windbreaker (for warmer weather)
  • comfortable walking shoes or sneakers - Galway is a compact
  • city and students tend to walk most places rather than take a
  • bus or drive
  • hiking boots (if you plan to hike in the Irish countryside)
  • pajamas
  • jeans
  • shorts (one or two pairs) for warm weather
  • hat, scarf and gloves
  • bathing suit
  • underwear and socks (at least two weeks’ worth)
  • gymwear (Sweats)
  • musical instrument or specialist sports equipment

An umbrella and an electric blanket are highly recommended, and both can be purchased in Galway after you arrive. Sheets and towels can also be bought in Galway. It may be advisable to purchase electrical appliances in Ireland, as the electrical current here (240 volts) may differ to your home country. If you do take your own appliances, remember to take an adaptor with you or purchase one when you arrive in Ireland.

Support Services for International Students

We have many years’ experience welcoming international students to Galway and provide a wide range of support services to help you adjust to your new environment.


International Affairs Office

The International Affairs Office provides a range of support services specifically for international students and is your first point of contact for many of the support services offered to students at NUI Galway. Services provided by the International Affairs Office include:

  • Orientation programme for new students
  • Advice on international entry requirements and application processes
  • English Language Support Classes
  • Advice on immigration requirements and study visas


Student Support Services

International students can also avail of the full range of support services available to all NUI Galway students.

Accommodation Office

The Accommodation Office assists students in finding housing and provides advice on general housing issues.


Disability Support Service

Students who have a disability/specific learning difficulty and who require particular supports should notify the Disability Support Service in advance of admission to the University.


Deans of Chaplaincy Service

The Deans of Chaplaincy Service provides active pastoral care and spiritual leadership for all students and can also assist in making contact with other religious denominations.


Student Counselling

The Student Counselling Service team of qualified and experienced counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists, offers confidential individual counselling to all NUI Galway students.


Student Health Unit

The Student Health Unit provides on-campus medical, psychiatric and physiotherapy care to registered NUI Galway students in a professional and confidential manner.


Health Promotion Service

The Health Promotion Service aims to assist students to reach their full potential by providing non-judgemental and up-to-date information to help you make informed decisions. Programmes run by the service include The Mind, Body & Soul programme and the Exam De-stress Programme.


Career Development Centre

The Career Development Centre is available to help students manage their career development by providing information on different career options as well as practical support and workshops on all aspects of graduate careers including CV preparation and interview techniques


Students Union

The Students Union (SU) is the independent voice of students representing your interests and solving your problems on campus and beyond. The SU also provides assistance and guidance in the areas of finance, accommodation, academic problems, rights, jobs, personal safety, mental health and wellbeing. There are 16 elected officers of the Union including and Education Officer and Welfare Officer who can offer confidential support and information should you experience academic or personal problems.


Academic Support Services

The University also provides a wide range of academic support services to help international students with their studies.


James Hardiman Library

The James Hardiman Library is the main library on campus and provides study spaces and the key resources you need for your study. Students can access the books, journals and electronic resources by visiting the Library in person or through the Library’s website which provides you with 24/7 access, anytime and anywhere. Library Tours are provided as part of the orientation programme at the beginning of each semester.


Academic Writing Centre

The Academic Writing Centre offers free one-to-one sessions on academic writing tailored to the needs of individual students. In addition to help with grammar, punctuation and spelling, the centre provides assistance with essay structure and the overall writing process.



Blackboard is the online learning system used at NUI Galway, which allows lecturers to post materials such as lecture notes, reading materials, weblinks, videos, quizzes, etc, online. Blackboard is available 24/7 from both on and off campus. There is also a Blackboard App (in iPhone and Android versions) which you can download.


EAP (English for Academic Purposes) Classes

The International Affairs Office also provides free writing support classes for students whose first language is not English. For more information, please email