Information for international students on COVID-19


Updated on 7 May 2021

ICOS knows that there is a lot of uncertainty and concerns in relation to COVID-19, so we have put together some helpful information and resources.

**Always refer to official sources for information, watch out for fake news, and be careful about what you read on social media**


What is COVID-19

COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus. The novel strand of coronavirus that originated in Hubei Province, China, has spread to most countries around the world.


The government has published a new medium-term strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while allowing businesses and society to continue as normally as possible.

The strategy has a 5 level alert system - Level 1 is the least serious, in other words, there are few cases of COVID-19, with Level 5 being the most serious - there are many cases of COVID-19. Each Level explains what is permitted for social or family gatherings, work and public transport, bars, hotels and restaurants, exercise activities and religious services.

You can see details of each Level by clicking on the links below:

From 4 May, COVID-19 restrictions will begin to be lifted, you can read more about this here

If you are a non-EEA international student studying at a Irish higher education institute and you wish to travel to Ireland from one of the countries below, you must apply for a visa.

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Guyana
  • Paraguay
  • South Africa
  • Uruguay

The government has introduced a mandatory hotel quarantine list of 'high risk' countries for COVID-19. Anyone who arrives from one of the countries on this list must book accommodation for 12 nights mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival which they must pay. See list of countries that require mandatory hotel quarantine here.

More details on travelling to Ireland can be found here.

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available in Ireland. People who are most at risk from COVID-19 will get the vaccine first.You can read more about the vaccine here.

    Information for International Students

    ICOS has put together information about the health, travel, educational and well-being matters, that international students may need to be aware of.  

    We will update this page with more information, as it becomes available and you can send us information by contacting us.


    Most higher education institutes and English language schools are teaching through a mixture of online and face-to-face classes depending on the situation with COVID-19.

    Health Information

    The COVID-19 vaccine is now available in Ireland. People who are most at risk from COVID-19 will get the vaccine first.You can read more about the vaccine here.

    Advice from the Health Service Executive (HSE) is available on how to protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19, including advice on washing hands, using face masks, and shopping safely. More information in multiple languages can be found here.You can also find regular updates on the World Health Organisation's website.

    ICOS would like to remind students that they should not attend a GP in person if they believe they may have COVID-19. Instead, they should phone the GP in order for a test to be arranged. Any GP can arrange a test for you.

    Anyone who may have been in contact with a person who has COVID-19, is advised to contact HSE Live 1850 24 1850 for further information. All international students will have free access to the Irish healthcare system for treatment related to COVID-19.

    Travel Information

    **It is compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport, in shops, and other places where social distancing cannot be observed.**

    From 16 January 2021, anyone traveling to Ireland must take a COVID-19 PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland (your test must be negative in order to travel).

    Students are advised to avoid all non-essential travel.

    Everyone arriving to Ireland must complete a passenger locator form. Students must give the address of where they will stay for the first 14 days that they are in Ireland, and they will be asked to self-isolate at that location. See this link for further information.

    Accessible Information

    Deaf people can contact the HSE using Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS).

    Translated information on COVID-19 in different languages.

    Self - Isolation

    If you have COVID-19 or suspect you have the virus, you must self-isolate.

    Advice on how to self-isolate can be found by clicking on this link.

    If you cannot self-isolate because of your accommodation situation, then you can self-isolate in one of the HSE's self isolation centres.


    The government has announced a new temporary visa extension for non EEA international students until 20 September 2021. If your visa is due to expire during this period, then your visa has been renewed automatically. Anyone who already received one of the previous visa extension will also have their visa automatically extended until 20 September 2021. Please remember that you must be enrolled in a English language course or third level course.

    • The Burgh Quay Registration Office in Dublin will reopen on Monday 10 May. Immigration will contact you if you had an appointment to register for the first time.You can now make an appointment for registration here.
    • The government has announced new visa restrictions for many South American countries and South Africa, see details here.
    • Third level students who are currently studying remotely in their home countries will be able to apply for the Third Level Graduate Scheme (Stamp 1G) when they have successfully completed their course, see here for details.
    • If you live in Dublin and you need to renew your visa, but your passport has expired and you unable to get a new one e.g your country has no embassy in Ireland, then you should submit an application on the INIS appointment system, submit your expired passport, and explain why you are unable to renew your passport.
    • If you live in Dublin, you no longer need to send your passport as part of the online renewal process. See link for full details.
    • International student graduates who have returned to their home countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for the Third Level Graduate Scheme Visa (Stamp 1G) online. See link for full details.
    • International students on a Stamp 2 visa may no longer work more than 20 hours per week, except June - September, and 15 December - 15 January.
    • Immigration has introduced a new online Registration Renewal System for visa required international students. If you are living in Dublin, you need to register / renew your visa online. See link for full details
    • English language students who left Ireland before completing their course due to COVID-19 may return to resume their studies. The time spent outside of Ireland will not count towards the 2 years maximum period for English language studies.
    • English language students with a current Student Visa who are still in Ireland, and who have completed the maximum 2 years permitted as a language student, but due to COVID-19 are unable to return home, may remain in Ireland as students until 20 April 2021 provided they re-enrol in an online course of study.
    • Irish visa applications have been temporarily suspended by immigration. The only exceptions are for emergency or join family visa applications.
    • International students that have recently arrived to Ireland and have not yet registered with immigration, will not need to prove that they still have access to €3,000 (the financial requirement for a Student Visa) when immigration registration recommences.
    • International students who are waiting to change their immigration permission from a Stamp 2 visa to a Stamp 1, 1A, 1G or Stamp 4, can now email their documentation to Visit the INIS website for more details

    Temporary Financial Support

    For more information on how to apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, please visit this link.

    If you are still eligible to receive the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment you need you to confirm your continued entitlement to receive this payment.

    If you access this benefit, you will not be penalised by immigration.


    Any International student that thinks they will have a problem paying their rent should inform their landlord immediately. If a solution cannot be found, students can contact the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) which provides a dispute resolution service for tenants and landlords. Evictions are prohibited during Level 5.    

    ICOS recommends that all students take steps to help minimise the spread of the virus, and comply with all necessary COVID-19 measures such as self-isolation. Even if self-isolation is not possible, students should do their best to restrict their movements and avoid contact with people.

    Public Transport

    You must wear a mask on public transport.

    Dublin Bus website for more details on their service and operating times.

    Visit Bus Eireann website for more details on their service and operating times.

    Visit the Luas website for more details on their service and operating times.

    Visit the Dart and intercity train services website for more details on their service and operating times.

    For more further information visit Transport For Ireland.

    Maintaining Wellness

    It is important that people can stay both physically and mentally well. While steps can be taken to remain well and avoid spreading the virus, you may come into contact with it or your learning environment can be affected.

    Physical well-being

    Staying well is important. Washing hands is particularly helpful in avoiding illness, see a guide to hand washing by clicking on this link.

    Mental well-being

    International students may experience anxiety or loneliness during these difficult times. Students studying at higher education institutes should check what supports are available at their college or university.

    Christmas can be a lonely time of year. Click on this link for more information about available support services.

    There are also local mental health services in the community. You can freephone 1800 111 888 to find out more information on mental health service close to you. In an emergency, call 999 or 112.

    The HSE has a dedicated mental health website and the UK health service, the NHS, has developed and support for maintaining mental well-being during self-isolation. This includes a mood checklist, another useful resource can be found here.


    There have been some isolated reports of racist incidents specifically referring to COVID-19. Racism of any kind is unacceptable and if you experience hear of or witness racism, you can report it to the Gardai  and to the Racist Incident Reporting System iReport.

    Up to date information from Universities and Colleges

    All schools, colleges and universities are currently closed. ICOS has compiled a list of some of the main higher education institutions below where you will find up-to-date information on changes to lectures, tutorials, and labs, as well as any alternative arrangements that have been made.

    Athlone IT

    Champlain College

    CCT College Dublin

    Cork Institute of Technology

    Dublin Business School

    Dublin City University   

    Institute of Art Design & Technology

    Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

    Griffith College

    IT Carlow   

    Limerick Institute of Technology

    Mary Immaculate College

    Maynooth University

    National College of Ireland

    NUI Galway

    Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

    Trinity College Dublin

    TU Dublin

    University College Cork

    University College Dublin

    University of Limerick

    Waterford Institute of Technology