International students of TU Dublin, Dublin City University and Maynooth University will now have access to the new online visa renewal system effective 26 August, to coincide with the start of the academic year. The new online system was introduced by the Irish Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan to replace the current system that requires students to attend in-person appointments.
It is estimated that some 8,000 continuing international students who come from non-European countries and are now living in Dublin can renew their visa without having to personally show up at the office of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). They can submit their application with supporting documents and pay the registration fee online. Then they can mail their passport to INIS to complete the process.
Students of institutions outside the greater Dublin area, such as those enrolled at IT Sligo, still need to personally appear at their nearest Garda District Office to register. INIS reported that 40% of applications or roughly 55,000 of the registrations which were processed last year come from international students. A big chunk of this number are students who are based in Dublin.
EduCo Ireland Senior Vice President Jacob Kestner commends INIS for instituting the new system. “Eliminating the need for in-person appointments makes things quicker and easier for our students” he says. “This new online visa renewal is another way that the Irish government is improving the experience for international students and showing that they are welcome in this country.”
Ireland has registered a 45% growth in international student enrolments over a five year period from 2013 to 2017. The continuous growth came from countries in the non-European Economic Area (EEA). As improvements are introduced in making the visa processing more efficient, international students will soon be finding it easier and more convenient to apply, thus making their experience more positive and enjoyable.