Skip to main content

Visa Information

If you are travelling to a host university in a non-EU country, you may need to secure a visa before beginning your studies. This page provides useful information on how to apply for and obtain a student visa in the country where you plan on spending a semester or two studying. To find out what the visa requirements are in your destination, either scroll down to the relevant section on this page or click on one of the 'Visa and Immigration Information' documents from the menu on the left hand side. If you have queries that are not addressed here, please contact exchanges@ul.ie for more information.

 

U.S. Visa and Immigration-related Information: J-1 Students

As you prepare for your upcoming exchange placement in your USA host university, here is some useful information and links to help you apply for your student visa. Please note these are the details for students that will be attending an American university under J-1 status. If you are applying for F-1 status, please consult our document ‘U.S. Visa and Immigration-related Information: F-1 Students’. For every immigration document you receive, make sure to check that the spelling of your name and your date of birth are exactly the same as listed on your passport. For additional information on the visa and immigration process for students, please visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/.

1. Receiving a DS-2019 form from your American host university
If you receive your pre-arrival guide by post, your DS-2019 form will be included in the packet. You will be required to sign and submit this document when you apply for a visa at the U.S. embassy.

2. Complete the DS-160 Form
The DS-160 form is a non-immigrant electronic visa application, available by logging on to https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/.

3. Pay the visa application fee
Pay the visa application fee by following the instructions on the U.S. Department of State’s Appointment Service website - https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-IE/niv/information/fee.

4. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
This is a separate fee that student visa applicants are required to pay. You can pay the fee online by logging on to www.fmjfee.com. Be sure to input your name exactly as it appears on the DS-2019 form. Print the receipt and make sure to bring it with you to your visa interview. Make copies of the receipt and keep it with your other important immigration documents.

5. Make a visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy
Your next step is to schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin. Schedule the appointment as early as possible as the wait time for a visa varies, but is always longer during the months of June, July and August. Book your appointment by logging on to the website of the U.S. Department of State Visa Appointment Service @ https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-ie/niv.

6. Prepare and bring the following to your visa interview

  •  A passport valid for at least six months
  •  Form DS-2019 (be sure to sign your name and date it)
  •  Host university Offer letter
  •  Completed visa application forms (a printed DS-160 confirmation notice)
  •  Two 2” x 2” photographs in the prescribed format (https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/photos.html)
  •  A receipt of the paid SEVIS 1-901 fee
  •  Financial evidence (bank statement) that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses during the period of your study
  •  Confirmation letter from your Exchange coordinator at UL stating you will be returning to UL after your exchange programme to complete your studies and graduate

7. Remain calm and answer all of the Visa Officer’s questions openly and honestly
Make sure you explain your goal, field and level of study, duration and future plans such as career aspirations.

8. Plan your arrival
Keep in mind, you will not be allowed enter the country more than 30 days before the start of your programme if you are an initial entry student. Returning students do not have this requirement. Plan to arrive before the mandatory orientation programme, which generally begins the week before classes begin.
Make two sets of copies of your immigration documents – leave one with your family and one in your luggage. Always carry your original DS-2019 form, offer letter and passport with you, and not in your luggage!

9. As you arrive at your port of entry
Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Present the following documents:

  •  Passport
  •  Form DS-2019
  •  Customs Declaration Form CF-6059 (The Customs and Declaration Form should reflect the address where you will reside – generally handed out on the plane)

All visitors entering the US must state their reasons for wishing to enter the country. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer that you will be a student. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school programme where you will enrol/participate. Your offer letter from the host university will be proof of this.
Once your inspection is successfully completed, the inspecting officer will:
Stamp your passport: Please make sure this is stamped with the correct date and visa type (J) and is marked D/S for Duration of Status.
Assign you an Admission Number (I-94): You can locate your I-94 number by visiting the website http://cbp.gov/i94.
Secondary Inspection at the Port of Entry
If the CBP officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area known as ‘Secondary Inspection’. Secondary Inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.
The inspector will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the database from which your school or programme issued your paper Form DS-2019.

10. Immigration Document Review
All international students and scholars must complete an Immigration Document Review with the International Office at their host university. Please present yourself to the Exchange coordinator at your host university for information on this. Their international office must report your arrival within
the SEVIS system. If this report is not submitted, you may be considered to be in violation of your status in the United States.
In order to complete this process, you must provide the following items: passport, visa and DS-2019 to be scanned, along with your current local address and emergency contact information.
For the latest updates, visit www.studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students/accepted.

 

U.S. Visa and Immigration-related Information: F-1 Students

As you prepare for your upcoming exchange placement in your USA host university, here is some useful information and links to help you apply for your student visa. Please note these are the details for students that will be attending an American university under F-1 status. If you are applying for J-1 status, please consult our document ‘U.S. Visa and Immigration-related Information: J-1 Students’. For every immigration document you receive, make sure to check that the spelling of your name and your date of birth are exactly the same as listed on your passport. For additional information on the visa and immigration process for students, please visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/.

1. Receiving an I-20 form from your American host university
If you receive your pre-arrival guide by post, your I-20 form will be included in the packet. You will be required to sign and submit this document when you apply for a visa at the U.S. embassy.

2. Complete the DS-160 Form
The DS-160 form is a non-immigrant electronic visa application, available by logging on to https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/.

3. Pay the visa application fee
Pay the visa application fee by following the instructions on the U.S. Department of State’s Appointment Service website - https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-IE/niv/information/fee.

4. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
This is a separate fee that student visa applicants are required to pay. You can pay the fee online by logging on to www.fmjfee.com. Be sure to input your name exactly as it appears on the I-20 form. Print the receipt and make sure to bring it with you to your visa interview. Make copies of the receipt and keep it with your other important immigration documents.

5. Make a visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy
Your next step is to schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin. Schedule the appointment as early as possible as the wait time for a visa varies, but is always longer during the months of June, July and August. Book your appointment by logging on to the website of the U.S. Department of State Visa Appointment Service @ https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-ie/niv.

6. Prepare and bring the following to your visa interview

  •  A passport valid for at least six months
  •  Form I-20 (be sure to sign your name and date it)
  •  Host university offer letter
  •  Completed visa application forms (a printed I-20 confirmation notice)
  •  Two 2” x 2” photographs in the prescribed format (https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/photos.html)
  •  A receipt of the paid SEVIS 1-901 fee
  •  Financial evidence (bank statement) that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses during the period of your study
  •  Confirmation letter from your Exchange coordinator at UL stating you will be returning to UL after your exchange programme to complete your studies and graduate

7. Remain calm and answer all of the Visa Officer’s questions openly and honestly
Make sure you explain your goal, field and level of study, duration and future plans such as career aspirations.

8. Plan your arrival
Keep in mind, you will not be allowed enter the country more than 30 days before the start of your programme if you are an initial entry student. Returning students do not have this requirement. Plan to arrive before the mandatory orientation programme, which generally begins the week before classes begin.
Make two sets of copies of your immigration documents – leave one with your family and one in your luggage. Always carry your original I-20 form, offer letter and passport with you, and not in your luggage!

9. As you arrive at your port of entry
Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Present the following documents:

  •  Passport
  •  Form DS-2019
  •  Customs Declaration Form CF-6059 (The Customs and Declaration Form should reflect the address where you will reside – generally handed out on the plane)

All visitors entering the US must state their reasons for wishing to enter the country. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer that you will be a student. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school programme where you will enrol/participate. Your offer letter from the host university will be proof of this.
Once your inspection is successfully completed, the inspecting officer will:
Stamp your passport: Please make sure this is stamped with the correct date and visa type (J) and is marked D/S for Duration of Status.
Assign you an Admission Number (I-94): You can locate your I-94 number by visiting the website http://cbp.gov/i94.
Secondary Inspection at the Port of Entry
If the CBP officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area known as ‘Secondary Inspection’. Secondary Inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.
The inspector will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the database from which your school or programme issued your paper Form DS-2019.

10. Immigration Document Review
All international students and scholars must complete an Immigration Document Review with the International Office at their host university. Please present yourself to the Exchange coordinator at your host university for information on this. Their international office must report your arrival within
the SEVIS system. If this report is not submitted, you may be considered to be in violation of your status in the United States.
In order to complete this process, you must provide the following items: passport, visa and DS-2019 to be scanned, along with your current local address and emergency contact information.
For the latest updates, visit www.studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students

 

New Zealand Visa and Immigration-related Information

If you are planning on studying in New Zealand under the exchange programme, you will need to obtain an Exchange Student Visa. Holders of this visa are considered to be domestic students and as a result do not have to pay fees. They can also work up to 20 hours a week during the school term if they wish. In order to qualify for this visa, you must have been accepted into an approved student exchange scheme by a university in New Zealand and you must apply for the visa before you leave Ireland. For more information on the Exchange Student Visa, visit https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about-visa/exchange-student-visa.

1. When to Apply
Once you have received notification from your host university in New Zealand that you have been approved on to an exchange programme, you can apply for your Student Visa. However, it is recommended that you do not apply more than 60 days before your exchange starts.

2. How to Apply
It is possible to apply online for your Exchange Student Visa by logging on to New Zealand Immigration at https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about.... As part of the application process, you will need to supply information that includes the details of the offer from your host university and your passport number.

3. Application Processing
Generally, a decision can be expected on an online application within 20 days. If you have all the correct documentation, your application should be approved without any difficulty. If New Zealand Immigration requires any additional information they will contact you directly with the contact details you provided them with in your application.

4. Preparing for departure
Ensure that you have printed out and brought all documentation provided to you by New Zealand Immigration, as well as your passport, before travelling. Please note that New Zealand has strict rules about bringing in any produce that could be a biosecurity risk, so do not bring any food or plants on your person. Also ensure that you have the contact details of someone from the international office of your host university before you depart.

5. Arriving in New Zealand
When you first arrive in New Zealand you will need to go through Passport Control and the Customs and Quarantine Inspection Service. You will also need your passport and a completed passenger arrival card, which you will be provided with on your flight. Answer all questions calmly and truthfully.

 

Japan Visa and Immigration-related Information

If you are going to study in Japan for a semester or longer, you will need to obtain a visa to enter the country. Here is some useful information on the process of obtaining a visa. For every immigration document you receive, make sure to check that the spelling of your name and your date of birth are exactly the same as listed on your passport. For additional information on the visa and immigration process for students, please visit http://www.studyjapan.go.jp/en/toj/toj04e.html.

1. Receiving your Certificate of Eligibility
After you have enrolled in your host university in Japan, the international office there will apply to the relevant immigration office on your behalf for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for residence status. This is proof that you meet the conditions for entry into the country. Once the university has obtained the COE, they will send it to you along with your Certificate of Acceptance to the university. Please note the Certificate of Eligibility is only valid for three months and you must enter Japan during this period or it will become void.

2. Obtaining a Student Visa at the Japanese Embassy
Once you have received your COE, you will need to visit the Japanese Embassy in Dublin to obtain an entry visa. The COE alone is not enough to gain you entry to Japan. The Embassy is located in Dublin 4 and while it is not necessary to make an appointment, you should check in advance to ensure that it is open on the day that you plan to go there. Information on how to get to the embassy and its opening hours can be found by visiting http://www.ie.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/about.html. Please bring your COE, Certificate of Eligibility and passport with you to this appointment.

3. Procedures for Entering Japan
When you arrive in Japan, you will be subject to an immigration inspection at your port of arrival. Your passport, and the valid visa contained inside it, will be inspected along with your COE and your Embarkation and Disembarkation card (which is normally distributed in the plane during the flight). You will submit these to the immigration officer and will have your fingerprints and a facial photograph taken. The immigration officer may ask you about the duration of your stay and what you plan to do in Japan. Answer all the questions calmly and truthfully. Once you are deemed to conform to the entry conditions, you will receive a seal of verification on your passport and a Resident Card. If your port of entry is unable to issue a Resident Card, you will receive a stamp in your passport stating that the Card will be issued by post, once you provide details of your address at the local city, town, ward or village government office.

4. Resident Registration
Within 14 days of moving into your accommodation, you must bring your Resident Card (or your passport if you were not issued with a Resident Card at entry) to the government office nearest where you live. There, you will have to fill in a form providing notification of where you are living under the Basic Resident Registration System.

5. Working in Japan
It is possible to work part-time while you study in Japan but getting a working visa is slightly more complicated. For more information, visit http://www.studyjapan.go.jp/en/toj/toj04e.html.

 

Australia Visa and Immigration-related Information for Students

As you prepare for your upcoming exchange placement in your Australian host university, here is some useful information and links to help you apply for your student visa (subclass 500). For every immigration document you send and receive, make sure to check that the spelling of your name and your date of birth are exactly the same as listed on your passport. For additional information on the visa and immigration process for students, please visit http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Stud.

 

1. Receiving a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from your Australian host university

Working in cooperation with staff in the International Education Division in UL, you can apply for a semester’s study in a host university in Australia. If you are successful in your application to study in Australia, you will receive a CoE from your host university. You are not eligible to apply for an Australian student visa until you receive the CoE.

2. Booking Health Insurance

You will need to book health insurance for the duration of your stay. Your health insurance must be Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and will need to be in place at least one week before your departure for Australia. When applying for your visa online through ImmiAccount, you will need the name of your health insurance provider, the date your policy starts and finishes, and your policy number.

3. Gathering Other Necessary Documentation

Before you can submit your online visa application, you will first need to gather a number of documents that are required for your application. You will need a copy of your passport, birth certificate, your CoE, evidence that you can financially support yourself for the duration of your stay and proof of health insurance (as outlined above). You may also be asked for a copy of your résumé, proof of current employment or your driver’s licence.

4. Applying for your Student Visa

Once you have received your CoE, you will need to set up an ImmiAccount by logging on to https://online.immi.gov.au and clicking on ‘Create ImmiAccount’. Once your account is set up, simply follow the instructions on screen to submit your application. You must add as much information as possible before you submit your application. Applications with missing information might take longer to finalise or might be refused.

5. Receiving your Student Visa

If you successfully complete the online application system, you will be issued with your Australian visa electronically. You will also be issued a visa grant notification letter that explains the conditions of your visa, including the period of validity and entry requirements. You should retain this for your own reference and you may wish to carry it with you when you travel as it contains important information about your visa.

6. Travelling to Australia

Before boarding your flight and upon arrival in Australia, you will be asked for proof that you have permission to enter the country. Your passport, which is linked electronically to your visa, is proof of this permission. However, you should also carry on your person your grant notification letter, evidence of your health insurance, proof that you can financially support yourself and your CoE as you may be asked to show these upon entry to Australia.

7. Working in Australia

As part of your Student Visa, you are entitled to work 20 hours a week in Australia. However, you must ensure you have sufficient funds to support yourself, without having to rely on earnings from work while in Australia.

© University of Limerick 2017