Recognition for Qualifications

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) is responsible for developing and maintaining the National Qualifications Framework, as well as for quality standards (Quality Assurance and Pastoral Care) both in the higher education sector and in English language schools.

Students should use the National Framework of Qualifications to identify the qualification they will achieve before making decisions. The National Framework of Qualifications are quality assured, which means that you can be sure that your course, and the institution you studied at, is continually reviewed.

International students are at the centre of the educational system in Ireland because the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) provides a framework for studying and understanding the level and standards of different qualifications. It helps them to make informed choices about their qualification choices and consider career options.


Undergraduate Courses

There is a difference between applying to Irish higher education institutions based on whether or not you are a non-EU student. Your status is determined by your application and cannot be changed after the first year registration. So think carefully and click on the EU Applicant link to find out more.

EU Applicants

Application forms to study in Ireland must be submitted by EU citizens through the Central Applications Office (CAO), unless otherwise stated. The CAO provides an application pack with a handbook, which lists all the courses offered and how to apply to each. Applications may also be submitted online for your convenience.

Am I an EU Applicant?

1. who is ordinarily resident in the European Union 


who will have received full-time post primary education 


who has worked full-time in the European Union for three of the five years immediately preceding admission to an Irish college


2. who holds a passport from a European Union state and has received all full-time post primary education in the European Union  


3. who has official refugee status 


has been granted humanitarian leave to remain in the State and who has been ordinarily resident in the European Union for three of the five years immediately before admission to Irish college.

During a registered programme a student’s registered status may not be changed (EU/non-EU).

* The parent(s) of students under 23 must also live (that is, have their principal residence) for three of the five years prior to the student’s entry to the Irish College or EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) or Switzerland

All other applications are considered to be non-EU applications. 

Application deadlines & charges

Please apply as early as possible; leave it up to the last minute as exceptions won't be permitted.

All fees are Non-refundableFeeClosing Date
Normal application€401 February (5.15pm)
Online discounted rate€3020 January
Online ApplicationFeeClosing Date
Late Online Application€401 February (5.15pm)
Late Paper Application€801 May (5.15pm)
Change of MindNil1 July (5.15pm)
Requirements for Entry

Depending on the number of places available and the number of applicants, the entry requirements for courses may differ year to year, creating a degree of competition. Irish students compete for entry based on scores achieved in the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination. Students are graded on their best six subjects.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma may also be considered as fulfilling the minimum entry requirement for university programs, provided due heed is taken of the various grades and subject combinations included in the current published entry requirements. All applications must meet specific course and faculty requirements. Individual institutions may have additional requirements outside of the minimum requirement.

English Language Requirement

It is imperative for students whose first language is not English to be able to speak and write English well since it is the language of instruction at all Irish institutions of higher education. 
As mentioned, students must demonstrate English proficiency to be accepted for a degree programme. Good news is, many universities and colleges offer English language training courses for students hoping to study with them. In addition, there are 94 private English language training schools that offer short- and long-term courses.  

In certain circumstances, results in examinations other than those outlined below may be accepted as proof of ability, but they must indicate ability to one of the four standards outlined below:  

ExaminationLevel Required
Irish Leaving Certificate in EnglishOrdinary level grade D
GCSE English LanguageGrade C
GCE O-Level English LanguageGrade C
University of CambridgePass in Use of English Examination
IELTSComposite score of 6.0- 6.5 with not less than 6.0 in any one component
Cambridge ProficiencyGrade C
Cambridge AdvancedGrade A
ARELS oral examinationsPass
PTE AcademicMinimum score of 36


Please note that if you would like to study medicine in Ireland, you will have to take the HPAT assessment test, which is designed for EU students applying for undergraduate medicine at Irish medical schools. The results in the HPAT-Ireland will be added to the Leaving Certificate exam scores to create a total score. Students will be eligible to compete for undergraduate medicine places if they achieve a minimum of 480* points AND meet the matriculation requirements of the medical school. 

*subject to change year on year 

For all non-EU applicants please contact the International Office in the college you are interested in applying to.

Student Visa 

You must apply online for a student visa online on the AVATS website. click here.

1. Begin your application HERE.

2. Please read all the instructions carefully as they will vary depending upon where you are applying from; you will be required to submit the original passport, passport-sized color photographs, the relevant application fee, and all supporting documents.

3. Check your eligibility status here, and only then should you book your flights to Ireland.

Note: If you are refused a visa you may appeal the decision within 2 months.

4. With the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service office at the Registration Office, schedule an appointment after arrival and pay the fee of €300 to receive a residence permit.



  • The applicant must include a copy of an Electronic Transfer of Funds from the Irish bank of the college that shows details of the beneficiary's name, address, bank details, and the same details for the sender, and a letter from the Irish college that confirms the fee has been received.
  • A receipt showing student fees have been lodged with an approved student fees payment service.
If you have any further questions, please contact the administration's office.

Note: College fees are a matter between the student and the college. However, in the event that the visa request is rejected, the college should refund the tuition fees (minus any small administration fee) within a reasonable period of time.

Alternative Evidence of Finance – Degree Programme Students

An alternative method to bank statements for evidence of financial ability has been introduced under the pilot program. It is an education bond of minimum value of €7,000. Students must lodge the bond to an approved student fees payment service (e.g. the electronic fee payment service offered by EduStep).