Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

International students, welcome to Ireland..?

It’s the time of the year where students are starting or going back to college. First there are students of UCD starting in mid-September, then students of RCSI, DCU, DIT etc starting a week or two after that, and last but not least TCD in early-October. That’s the trend for Dublin colleges as far as I know of.

At the same time, flights are arriving in Dublin airport with fresh-faced students, be it someone from Europe on an Erasmus exchange or someone who’s here and registered as a fully-fledged international student. For the Europeans, their main worry would most likely be competing with the Irish for accommodations. And maybe a small sense of inadequacy in using English 24/7 for the first time in their lives. For the non-Europeans though, add on another (major) headache – the immigration.

This article in Irish Times today highlights the immigration issue that every foreigner faces in this country – the procedures involved in making sure your entry and residency status in this country is legal and above board. But as pointed out in this article, the immigration procedures are arbitrarily carried out and trying to pinpoint on guidelines is a mammoth task for many.

If you are an international student who applies for a visa while still residing in your home country, this is the minimum guideline from the immigration service website. The international students office in your education institution should also be able to provide assistance and further information that you require.

For continuing students, things should be more straight forward as there would be a record file in place and one who also already have some experience dealing with the immigration bureau. Please note that the processing fee for visa this year has increased from €100 to €150.

The following is a list of minimum documentations that everyone applying visa in person should be aware of, and hopefully these would be all that would be asked to produce. The thought of re-queuing outside the GNIB office with hundreds of other students should be an encouragement for anyone at all to ensure he/she has all documentation at hand the first time round.

  • Passport, with at least 6 months validity post-course completion date
  • Letter from college, certifying that you are a registered student with fees paid
  • Valid student card, obtained following registration week in college
  • Bank statement showing sufficient funding, or letter from sponsor
  • Proof of course attendance, particularly if attending private colleges e.g. DBS
  • Evidence of private medical/health/personal insurance
  • Specific bank giro of €150 for processing fee, or credit card to pay this amount

[Note: this is only a guideline, and is by no means exhaustive. The invididual immigration officers dealing with the cases may exercise their rights in requiring more documentations and in approving/declining the visa applications.]

I am uncertain of this year’s application procedure (this has been changing several times in the past years) so I would just write on what I know based on last year. While the immigration bureau on Burgh Quay opened its door at 8am, students were asked to queue outside (it snaked around to the back to the building/block even) before numbered tickets were distributed starting at 9.30am. The number of tickets distributed per day was limited. Someone who was too far back at the queue may not get a number and would have to return another day.

A good book and a music player won’t go astray while one waits for his/her turn inside the office once a numbered ticket is obtained. For some, based on the number given, it could well be hours before their turn to talk to an immigration officer. Some people leave to return later, but my advice on this is, if you’re doing that, time it smartly. If your number is called and you miss it because you’re not there, then you’re back to square one and will have to queue again another day.

A few minor things. Be courteous and respectful. Turn off the mobile phone. Put it on silent otherwise. The office will most likely be packed this time of year so your bag doesn’t need a seat. Hours spent at the immigration bureau is frustrating, but everyone is in the same boat. Good luck!

If you have any other tips, or have been at the bureau recently, share it with us through the comment box.

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