Information for international students on COVID-19
Updated on 15 October 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**
** DOWNLOAD THE COVID-19 TRACKER APP TO HELP SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID-19**
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.
International students who do not have a PPSN can register to be vaccinated by calling the COVID-19 helpline for free at 1800 700 700. Alternatively, you can attend a walk-in vaccination centre without an appointment.
Find your nearest walk-in vaccination centre here.
Travel to Ireland
The Irish government has removed all countries from the mandatory hotel quarantine list.
ICOS has also received confirmation that new international students can travel to Ireland to study English.
Government Plan to lift COVID-19 Restrictions
The government has announced a new plan for lifting most COVID-19 restrictions by 22 October 2021. Restrictions will be lifted on a phased basis and will be carefully monitored in accordance with public health advice.
From 6 September:
- Public transport can return to full capacity
- Organised indoor events and can take place with capacity limits of 60%
- Cinemas and theatres may have capacity limits of 60%
- All religious ceremonies may have capacity limits of 50%
- Live music is permitted in pubs
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.
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. Find your nearest GP here.
**It is currently compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport, in shops, and other places where social distancing cannot be observed.**
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.
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 15 January 2022. 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 15 January 2022. Please remember that you must be enrolled in a English language course or third level course.*
- Third Level Graduate Scheme Visa (Stamp 1G) visa holders who have been unable to secure work during the pandemic may apply for a 12-month visa extension.
- You may apply for a visa extension in the normal way that you would apply to renew your visa.
- The main thing you must demonstrate is that you have been unable to find work in your area, or have had limited opportunities to work in your area, as a result of the pandemic.
- You can do this by showing the efforts you made to find employment such as applying for jobs, signing up to agencies etc. If you were working in an area outside your field of studies, you could show proof of this through your contract / payslips, or if you were receiving the PUP, you could use this as proof that you were not working.
* English language students who have already renewed their visa 3 times for English language studies do not need to enrol in a new English language course, and can continue to legally work until 15 January 2022 (in accordance with immigration rules). However, they must enrol in an ILEP approved higher education course by 15 January 2022 to remain in Ireland legally.
- ICOS has also received confirmation that new international students can travel to Ireland to study English
- From Monday 13 September 2021, immigration will begin processing short stay visa applications.
- There is a new immigration services website - https://www.irishimmigration.ie/
- The Burgh Quay Registration Office in Dublin reopened 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.
- If you have a question about registering with immigration for the first time, renewing your visa ,or in relation to a re-entry visa, you can now contact immigration's new customer service support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 ISD 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.
- 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.
- Irish visa applications have been temporarily suspended by immigration. The only exceptions are for emergency or join family visa applications.
- 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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Staying well is important. Washing hands is particularly helpful in avoiding illness, see a guide to hand washing by clicking on this link.
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.
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.