Information for international students on COVID-19

COVID-19

Updated 10:15 on 29 June 2020

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.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Phase 3 of Ireland's plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions commences on 29 June 2020.

Some important things you should know for Phase 3:

• You can now travel anywhere in Ireland
Pubs serving food, cafés, restaurants, and hotels are now open
Hairdressers and barbers, gyms, and tourist attractions are also open again
• The government advises people to wear masks in places where it may be difficult to social distance, for example, on public transport or in a supermarket.See guidance on safely covering your face here
• All non-essential travel to and from Ireland should be avoided

More information on Phase 3 can be found 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.

Education

All further and higher education institutions (including English language schools) will remain closed to students until at least August.

Read statement from the Department on the English language education sector. (available in multiple languages)

Health Information

The most up to date information about COVID-19 will be available from Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE). Here you will find information about the symptoms of the virus, as well as information about when to contact health professionals. You can also find regular updates on the World Health Organisation's website.

Some 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.

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

Students are advised to avoid all non-essential travel.

If you have a COVID-19 related travel query, you can call the Department of Foreign Affairs advice centre on (01) 613 1733 or via webchat.

You can download the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Travel Wise App which helps people to stay safe and informed while travelling.

From 28 May, 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.
 

Immigration

All international students whose visas expired between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020 were given an automatic visa extension. The government has announced another visa extension between 20 May 2020 and 20 July 2020. If your visa is due to expire in this period, then your visa has been renewed automatically. Anyone who already received a visa extension will also have their visa automatically renewed for 2 more months.

Where an English language school has closed due to Government advice regarding COVID-19, all international students will be considered to have met their attendance requirement.All other rules will remain in place and students will be required to renew their registrations as usual.

 

  • Immigration has introduced a new online Registration Renewal System for visa required international students. If you need to renew your visa, you must renew online. See here for full details. 
  • ICOS has received confirmation from INIS that the 2 automatic visa renewals between 20 March and 20 July will count towards a student’s immigration permission.
  • This means that English language students whose visas have expired, and who plan on renewing their Student Visa, will only receive a new IRP card from the date that their last IRP card expired, for example, if your card expired on 7 May, then your new IRP card will start on 8 May.
  • 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 the end of the year provided they re-enrol in an online course of study for the remainder of the year.
  • International students that have recently arrived to Ireland for the first time can now apply for their visa by emailing scanned copies of their documentation to bqregofficeapplications@justice.ie. See here for full details.
  • INIS say that English language students must enrol in a new course as soon as their previous course has finished, and that it is not possible to freeze classes until the lockdown ends.
  • INIS has announced a new temporary arrangement for eligible international students who have completed their studies and are planning to avail of the Third Level Graduate Scheme Visa (Stamp 1G).
  • 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 burghquayregoffice@justice.ie. Visit the INIS website for more details.
  • International students on a Stamp 2 visa may work up to 40 hours per week while schools and colleges are closed because of the pandemic.
  • For more information, see the immigration services' Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.

Temporary Financial Support

Students who have lost their job as a result of COVID19, and who have a PPS number, are eligible to apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This payment will be available for the duration of the crisis.

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

If you are a student who has lost their job, but does not have a PPS number, you can still apply for Exceptional Needs Payment. However, you must first apply for a PPS number online. Once you have a PPS number, you can apply for the payment Exceptional Needs Payment.

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

Accommodation

The government has introduced measures to assist landlords and tenants (students) who have been affected by COVID19, for example, you cannot be evicted during the coronavirus pandemic.

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.   

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.

Trinity College have advised students that they will close their on campus residence as a result of COVID-19.

If you work as a healthcare worker, for example in a private nursing home or as a home care assistant, then you may be able apply for temporary accommodation close to your work.

Public Transport

Dublin Bus is operating a reduced service. Bus services throughout Ireland have also been reduced, including in Cork, Galway and Limerick - visit Bus Eireann for more details.

The Luas continues to operate a normal service. The Dart and intercity train services have been reduced.

For more 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.

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.

Staying Connected

Self-isolation can be boring or frustrating. It may affect your mood and feelings. You may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping.

Some helpful advice is contained in this article from New Zealand The general advice is to stay 1 metre from people, so gardening and attending to pets can go ahead within this guidance.

You may find it helps to stay in touch with friends or relatives by phone or on social media.

You can visit Irish tourist attractions virtually, such as the National Gallery of Ireland and the Natural History Museum. Find more ideas here.  

If you are unable to attend religious ceremonies, they are often broadcast live online. For example the Archdiocese of Dublin. broadcasts a live mass daily.

Racism

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