In this week's post, Brandon gives us a look at his experience with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). If you have any questions, please consult your CAPA Admissions Advisor or Program Manager.
Although it may seem boring and unnecessary, I would like to devote this blog to the task of registering with the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS).
The INIS homepage for appointments.
As a non-EU student, you need to get a visa in order to stay in Ireland legally. When you first arrive at Dublin Airport, you will walk up to the INIS immigration officer behind his window and explain that you’re not a tourist but a student looking to study in Ireland for the course of the semester. The officer might ask to see your documentation proving that you are indeed studying at Griffith College, but will most certainly stamp your passport. This stamp has a date on it that shows what is officially known as your “permission to remain.” The date is completely arbitrary, and you never know what you’re going to get. I have friends in the CAPA program who’s stamped date says April 29th, while others have May 30th and even March 30th. Typically, however, the stamped date allows you to stay in Ireland for 90 days without a visa.
This is a booklet from Griffith College International Office on how to register with INIS.
In order to stay in Ireland, you have to register with the INIS before the date on your passport expires to extend your “permission to remain” date. In order to do this, you must make an online appointment at the INIS website, whereupon you will be given a date to go into the nearest INIS office (which is at Burgh Quay) and a confirmation of your appointment that you must print and bring with you. You must allow bring your passport, some form of evidence of finances (this can be an email from your parents saying that they won’t let you go penniless while abroad or a bank statement showing that you have $2,000 in your bank account), and your medical insurance certificate that you request from the Griffith College International Office. Now if all goes well, you’ll saunter into the INIS office with all of your paperwork and your passport is stamped to extend your stay. You will then be given an IRP card that officially permits you to remain in Ireland for the duration of your studies.
The aforementioned process sounds easy and straight-forward, but that is the ideal model. In a perfect world, that whole process is simple, and you get registered right away. However, reality is rarely that easy. In actuality, getting an appointment with the INIS is very tough. The International Office at Griffith College tells you when you arrive that it is “extremely difficult” to get an appointment during busy periods, and this is unfortunately fairly common. The INIS office is constantly swamped with requests to get appointments.
Filling out the online form for an appointment with INIS.
In order to get your appointment, I would like to give some tips on how to maximize your chances. First, go online and check for appointments every day at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This is when new appointment dates are typically released. Second, have your information already filled out in a separate Word document. Just cut and paste instead of going through slowly because you may see an appointment and enter in your information, only to be told that the appointment has already been taken. Third, don’t get discouraged. More often than not, there are no appointments available. Don’t give up. You can always go into the INIS office during the day and ask for an appointment. The good thing is that if you get an appointment booked, you only need to print out the confirmation to prove that you do indeed plan on registering. And CAPA is extremely helpful in this regard! There’s no need to stress.
I hope this has readied you to the task of registering for your visa while here in Ireland and know that you are not alone by any means. I look forward to next week’s blog and wish you a great weekend!
Note: Please consult your CAPA Admissions Advisor or Program Manager with more information on this topic or any student visa questions you have.
Brandon's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.