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COVID-19: Information for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students

Last updated 22/10/2020

COVID-19 Level 5 Restrictions and UL

The Government has announced a medium-term plan to suppress the spread of coronavirus while keeping as much of the country open as possible. At the core of the plan is an escalating five-level alert system.

The Government will decide on moving between levels based on advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

An infographic demonstrating the restrictions in place for each level can be found here.

Ireland is currently at Level 5. At Level 5, the public health risk means that you will be asked to stay at home, with certain exceptions. There will be no gatherings other than small numbers at funerals and weddings.

From midnight on Wednesday 21 October, Ireland will move to Level 5 of Ireland’s Plan for Living with Covid-19. Level 5 restrictions will remain in place for six weeks

At Level 5, the public health risk means that you will be asked to stay at home, with certain exceptions. There will be no gatherings other than small numbers at funerals and weddings.

Campus accommodation will remain open. Students are asked to not to receive visitors or visit other households.

Unfortunately, the swimming pool and both gyms on south & north campus will close from close of business on Wednesday 21st October and remain closed for the duration of the six-week period of Level 5 restrictions. 

Memberships will be frozen during this period. 

Under Level 5 restrictions, exercise within 5 kilometres of home.

Academic delivery for the majority of courses will be delivered primarily online with exemptions for essential onsite activities.

All essential face-to-face learning activities will continue as scheduled on campus including lab-based, clinical placements and practical tuition and certain small-scale tutorials that cannot happen online. This will be our approach until the end of Semester 1 and is in compliance with Level 5 restrictions.
 
As previously indicated, timetables for all students will be updated online for Weeks 6 to 12 by 23 October 2020.

The library will remain open by appointment only with a focus on providing online resources and assistance.

 

Immigration services will remain open for the duration of Level 5 restrictions.

Students who need a Covid-19 test for travel purposes are not offered free tests by the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE). The free public HSE testing service is only for people who fulfill specific criteria, one of which is not travel. 

Anyone needing a test for travel must get a private test. You will firstly have to arrange an appointment with your local GP doctor so that you can be referred for a private test.

You could use the UL Student Health Centre for this appointment with a doctor to be referred for a private test. The charge at the Student Health Centre for the doctor to do the referral is €25.

Please note, if you already have your travel dates, you should contact the UL Student Health Centre well in advance, so that they will be able to schedule a referral within the appropriate time frame. You must also ensure that you will receive your Covid-19 test result within the correct timeframe as requested by your airline, home country, etc.

At the moment, the closest private test centre is the Bon Secours in Tralee, Co. Kerry. Once you have completed your appointment with a doctor, they will refer you for a private Covid-19 test. Referrals will be sent electronically to Tralee by the doctor. The Laboratory Department in the Bon Secours in Tralee will contact you with your appointment time to attend for swabbing for Covid-19. 

The charge for the private test in Tralee is €80 which you can pay on the day of the test.

Please note that the swabbing clinic in Bon Secours currently runs daily (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday) between 9am to 10am. You will have to take early transport that morning or stay over the night before in Tralee to make sure that you are there on time for the appointment that is given to you.

You can find more information on the Bon Secours test centre here.

The Level 5 measures announced on 19 October designate higher education as essential where an on-campus presence is required for education activities that cannot be held remotely. Therefore, registered students of the University of Limerick are authorised to travel to/from campus for scheduled essential onsite activities.

If travelling to/from campus, please carry a printed or electronic version of the following, which may be requested by officers of An Garda Síochána:

  • Your ‘Confirmation of Student Registration’ letter which is available for all taught students to download on the Student Portal once you have registered
  • Any one of the following indicating your specific requirement to be on campus:
    • A copy of your timetable showing scheduled on-campus teaching in laboratories, workshops, studios or small group tutorials
    • Pre-booked access to the library or other on-campus study space
    • A scheduled appointment on-campus to meet your mental health and welfare needs
  • Identification (e.g. your student card)

Under Level 5 measures, you may not travel to/from the campus for any other purpose.

Admissions

Students will most likely need to defer in that instance unless the school/University  can give a final grade based on past performance or project work. This is up for review on a case by case basis but most likely the student will need to complete High School/University before enrolling.

 

Irish universities and colleges accept several English language tests as proof of eligibility. If you are unable to take your English language test due to closures and find no alternative please contact  international@ul.ie to inform us of your situation. Irish universities and colleges are now accepting the Duolingo English Test (DET) for student admission purposes.  DET is offered online with test results in 48 hours. The Irish higher education institutions have confirmed with the Department of Justice and Equality about the recognition of DET for visa purposes.

International Foundation Programme

We are still accepting applications for the International Foundation Programme - a one year full-time programme designed to offer international students an alternative route to undergraduate study.  This programme is suitable for international students who do not hold qualifications equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate or who need a further boost to their English language skills.Visit the UL Language Centre Webpage for more information. 

The International Foundation Programme will start on Monday 25 January 2021 and will end on Friday 06 August 2021.  Students must attend the course from Monday 25 January 2021.

The English Language Preparation for University Programmes

The English Language Preparation for University Programmes cater specifically for the language needs of students who intend to study for an undergraduate, study abroad or postgraduate degree at the University of Limerick. They are aimed at students who have reached the academic entry requirements for their chosen course but need to improve their English in order to meet the English language entry requirements for their chosen pathway at UL.  They are very suitable for students who have received a conditional offer from the University of Limerick.

Dates for The English Language Preparation for University Programmes for 2021 have yet to be confirmed. Please contact language.centre@ul.ie for more information.

Spring Semester 2021

At this stage it is hoped that Semester 2 will begin as planned on 25th January 2021 for most students.

Certain faculties and schools may operate differently. Applicants and offer holders are encouraged to check their emails regularly for any important updates from the UL Global team or from the relevant school / faculty.

Under the present public health guidelines, international students will be required to undertake a period of 'restricted movement' for 14 days before the start of the semester. Restricting your movements means staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible.

You can read more about arriving in Ireland from another country here

Please note, the Univesity of Limerick continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. These dates are subject to change depending on the impact of COVID-19 and containment measures for students and staff. Please be sure to check the UL Academic Calendar for the latest updates on semester dates. 

The University of Limerick Academic Planning Group continues to monitor COVID-19 situation in Ireland. Updates will be provided on this page.  

 

During your 14-day period of restricted movement, there will be an exciting range of online induction and orientation sessions to introduce you to the University and the Limerick region, as well as helping you to make new friends and find out how to access the range of support services we offer international students.

The University of Limerick boasts a large parkland campus and an unparalleled range of sporting and cultural facilities. There will be a huge choice of outdoor sporting and recreational activities on offer during the semester, many offered by our different student societies, as well as structured indoor activities consistent with physical distancing.

Your timetable will be made available two weeks prior to the start of the semester. It can be accessed at www.timetable.ul.ie.

ITD advise that there are two important technical components to maximise your student experience when participating in remote online learning:

 

  1. Device Access: Regular access to a device (e.g. laptop) will enable you to remotely access materials and curriculum content (e.g. access to Sulis, reading materials, lecture recordings, live classes and lectures).

 

UL are working with suppliers with the aim of publishing a list of suitable laptop devices and prices, for students who do not already own a device. Further information will be communicated once suitable devices and pricing have been agreed with the vendors. 

 

  1. Internet connection: Access to reliable WiFi or a home broadband connection is recommended, however, remote learning can also be facilitated via a reliable and consistent Mobile Broadband connection. 

 

For those students that do not currently have access to broadband, a range of wired, wireless and mobile broadband solutions are now on offer in the market covering the majority of geographic locations in Ireland and, generally, service details are available online. ITD will offer more advice and guidance for students regarding broadband at a later stage.

In-semester assessments will continue to be the default approach for the Autumn 2020 semester. At the beginning of the academic year, your module leaders will outline the assessments for each module, however, in general, there will not be formal exams during examination weeks. Please note that:

  • Discussions are ongoing with accrediting bodies and it may be necessary in a limited number of cases to hold formal exams during the semester. You will be informed by your module leader at the start of the semester if this applies to a module you are taking.
  • All assessments will continue to reflect the high standards, address learning outcomes and offer equivalent validity as any assessment ordinarily conducted on campus.
  • Normal progression criteria will apply: students will be required to have a QCA greater than 2.00 and no deficient grades (e.g. F, I, NG, N) to progress to the next year of their course or to graduate as appropriate.
  • Students who cannot progress will be required to repeat or link-in the following year.Please contact your module leader or course director for further information.

In line with Public Health guidelines, students must wear facemasks while indoors on campus where maintaining a 2m physical distancing is not possible.  This position will be kept under continual review and the requirement to wear face coverings may change. 

Face coverings in all library areas will be mandatory for all library users, for the duration of your stay in the library, with immediate effect.

Face coverings are recommended for public retail outlets and other places where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.

Accommodation

Campus Life Services have contingency plans in place to provide assistance and support to students living on campus.

All students will have a single room in a shared house. Students living on campus should continue to take personal responsibility for their own health and follow the advice on preventative measures which have been published and extensively circulated by the HSE and are available here.

If a student living on campus feels unwell, please call the UL Student Health Centreon 061 202434 during office hours (9am to 1pm or 2pm to 4.30pm)

If a student living on campus feels unwell outside of these hours please call  Emergency Services on 999/112 and contact the UL Emergency Number on 061 213333 to alert them that the Emergency Services have been contacted

The UL Student Health Centre will liaise with Campus Life Services and the Village Management Teams will provide the support and assistance required to any affected students living on campus. 

For more detailed information pertaining to accommodation, please contact accommodation@ul.ie.

If you are staying on campus accommodation, you can cook the shared kitchen facilities during your 14-day period of restricted movement. However, students should avoid sharing kitchen utensils, eat in their rooms and respect social distancing guidelines when in shared living areas. 

For more detailed information pertaining to accommodation, please contact accommodation@ul.ie.

.

We understand that this is a particularly exciting time for our students and of course you will be eager to meet your housemates. If meeting with your housemates in the common living area, please respect social distancing guidelines. 

For more detailed information pertaining to accommodation, please contact accommodation@ul.ie.​

We understand that having to arrive two weeks before the start of the semester imposes an additional cost on our international students. To help ease this burden, for students who reserve a place in one of our student villages, the cost of accommodation (excluding meals) for the two weeks of self-isolation will be free. For any accommodation-related queries, please contact accommodation@ul.ie

 

Yes, of course! You will still be able to access campus if you are staying in campus accommodation. 

Travel

If you cannot travel to Ireland in time to start your programme on September 28th, do not worry. There are a number of options available to you.

If you cannot get your visa in time or if travel restrictions are still in place, we have made arrangements for you to begin learning online and join the rest of your cohort as soon as you are able – either later in the autumn semester or at the start of the spring semester on January 25th 2021.

Due to Covid-19, for 2020/21 academic year where a Non-EU student is unable to take up an offer, the University will refund the course fee/acceptance deposit paid for some programs.

If you would like to defer your offer, we recommend that you contact international@ul.ie to explore your options.

By law, if you arrive in Ireland from any other country you will need to fill in a form called the Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form.

You'll also be asked to restrict your movements for 14 days.

Restricting your movements means staying at home and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible.

You may be contacted during the 14 days after you arrive in Ireland. This is to check that you are at the address you gave on the Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form.

Full details from the Health Service Executive about travelling into Ireland from another country can be found here.

If you contract COVID-19 before you are due to travel to Ireland for the start of your course you should not travel and you should follow all local health advice. You should wait for medical advice that you are no longer contagious before you consider travelling

You should contact international@ul.ie to keep us informed of your situation.

You are required by law to wear a face covering while using public transport. 

In line with Public Health guidelines, students must wear facemasks while indoors on campus where maintaining a 2m physical distancing is not possible.  This position will be kept under continual review and the requirement to wear face coverings may change.  

Face coverings are recommended for public retail outlets and other places where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.

During the 14 days after you arrive into Ireland, you should avoid going to any shops unless abolsutely neccessary - please wear a face covering if you do. 

Those completing their 14-day period of restricted movement  can avail of local grocery delivery services from supermarkets such as Tesco or SuperValu

 

Visas and Immigration

Students from EU countries do not need a visa to study in Ireland.

If you are from a non-EU/EEA country, you can check if you need a visa here

Students from visa-required countries should apply for a study visa well in advance of their departure. Guidelines on applying for an Irish study visa are available here

Please note, all students from non-EU/EEA countries, including those from non visa-required countries, will need to register with immigration within three months of your arrival. The UL Global team will arrange an appointment with the Immigration Bureau in Limerick on your behalf and your allocated time slot will be sent to you by email. You must attend your allocated appointment. 

If you require a visa to enter the country you will have to pay a minimum of 50% of your tuition fee to receive your visa support letter. Once UL recieves this payment, your visa support letter will be issued.

Yes. This is an immigration requirement. Medical insurance can be purchased through TransferMate for €160. Alternatively, there are a number of private medical insurance companies in Ireland offering health cover.

Other companies providing private medical insurance include AVIVA, Quinn-healthcare and VHI Healthcare.

 

The UL Global team will organise an appointment with the Immigration Officer, details of which will be given to you during Orientation Week.

The Immigration Bureau in Limerick is located at the Garda Station in Henry Street. There is a charge of €300 each time you register. You can only pay the registration charge of €300 by bank giro or debit/credit card.

You will need to bring the following items to the Immigration Office to register for your Irish Residence Permit (IRP):

• A valid passport
• A valid UL student ID card
• Evidence of financial support (e.g. current bank statement indicating your name or a letter of guarantee from a parent or guardian indicating the availability of sufficient funds to cover you during your period of stay in Ireland or a letter from your sponsor confirming your financial status)
• A letter from the University of Limerick indicating that you are a registered student and indicating the start date and duration of your programme
• Evidence of fees paid or of funded research position
• Evidence of medical insurance
• Registration fee of €300 (payment by bank giro or credit card)

The UL Global will arrange your immigration appointment on your behalf. Your appointment will be scheduled for at least two two weeks after your arrival date to allow your 14-day period of restricted movement. 

The Third Level Graduate Scheme enables non-EEA third level graduates to remain in Ireland for period of time after they have graduated from their respective course. During this period of time they can seek employment and work in Ireland without an employment permit.  Entry to the scheme is facilitated by application and the start of the scheme is based on the official receipt of exam results. For a full explanation of the scheme and requirements, please visit the INIS website .

The Departments of Justice and Equality and Education and Skills have recently held discussions on the operation of the Third Level Graduate Permission Scheme (TLGPS) and have agreed the following:
 
1.       On a once-off basis, students who were residing in Ireland and attending Irish Institutions, but who returned home due to COVID-19 and completed their studies and exams online abroad, but who will receive their award from the Irish Institution will be entitled to avail of the programme and also allowed apply from overseas. It is worth noting that this particular measure has already been put in place and was published on the ISD website on 17th April.
 
2.       On a once-off basis those students who are due to start their studies in an Irish Institution in September, but because of COVID-19 will have to complete the first semester online and who will complete their studies in Ireland will also be allowed avail of the programme.
 
The above 2 points are strictly one off arrangements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subject to the usual criteria of the programme.   
 
3. Those students who intend to study for the full year online with an Irish Institution will not be allowed avail of the programme.

Irish universities and colleges accept several English language tests as proof of eligibility. If you are unable to take your English language test due to closures and find no alternative please contact  international@ul.ie to inform us of your situation. Irish universities and colleges are now accepting the Duolingo English Test (DET) for student admission purposes.  DET is offered online with test results in 48 hours. The Irish higher education institutions have confirmed with the Department of Justice and Equality about the recognition of DET for visa purposes

 

18 September 2020

 

 The Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee, T.D.,  announced a further temporary extension of immigration and international protection permissions to 20 January 2021. This applies to permissions that are due to expire between 20 September 2020 and 20 January 2021. 

 

 Announcing the measure, Minister McEntee said:

 

‘I am providing certainty to anyone who already holds a valid permission that your legal status in this country is maintained until 20 January 2021.

 

This gives you the necessary time to make arrangements with the Immigration Service in Dublin or An Garda Síochána outside Dublin to ensure that your registration is renewed in the normal way by that date. You can do so without the additional worry of falling out of permission in the meantime through no fault of your own. I encourage you to do so at the earliest opportunity’.

 

This is the fifth, and expected to be the final, extension of permissions implemented since the outset of the pandemic and the longest granted. Tens of thousands of people will benefit from this measure. Renewal is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions will continue to apply.

 

Further information can be found on the INIS website

Yes. The temporary extension of immigration permissions until January 20 2021 also applies to people with permission extended under previous notices.

Yes, provided you otherwise meet the conditions of the notices. However, please note if you are a visa required national, in the absence of a valid Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card, you will need to obtain a new visa prior to your return.

Please also take note of the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Further information can be found on the INIS website

No. The Department will deal with applications for renewals of permission that expired before the 20th March 2020 on a case-by-case basis. Please contact international@ul.ie.

Further information can be found on the INIS website

No, the IRP card is a physical document certifying your registration and has not been extended. You can however rely on the Notices and your expired IRP card to confirm your permission to remain in the State.

Please contact international@ul.ie if you require information on renewing your IRP card.

Further information can be found on the INIS website

In March 2020, as part of the Governments response to the COVID-19 pandemic, students who hold Stamp 2 permissions and who attended colleges which had physically closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were allowed in those exceptional circumstances to work 40 hours a week. This was conditional on the student completing their course online if this service was provided by their college and represented a short term and temporary measure.

This exceptional, short term and temporary measure will now cease.

The standard criteria will now apply as follows:

  • Students holding a valid immigration stamp 2 permission are permitted work 40 hours per week only during the months of June, July, August and September and from 15 December to 15 January inclusive. 
  • At all other times students holding Immigration permission Stamp 2 will be limited to working 20 hours per week.

Further information can be found on the INIS website

On Friday 18 September 2020, The Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee, T.D., announced a further temporary extension of immigration and international protection permissions to 20 January 2021. This applies to permissions that are due to expire between 20 September 2020 and 20 January 2021. You can read the full notice here.

This will allow graduating students who wish to stay in Ireland and avail of the Third Level Graduate Scheme the necessary time to apply for your 1G Stamp. 

While you are still on Stamp 2 permissions, you are permitted to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week during school term and 40 hours per week (June, July, August and September, as well as from December 15th until January 15th 2021). Please note, this also applies for graduating non-EEA students who are waiting to apply for a 1G Stamp, even if you have completed your studies.

Further information can be found on the INIS website

Please check the INIS website regularly for the latest updates on visas and immigration

INIS