Short stay exam visa

A short stay exam visa allows you to travel to Ireland for up to 90 days to sit an exam that is necessary for your current employment or course of study, subject to conditions below. All short stay visas are also called 'C' visas.

Check if you need a visa and plan your journey before you apply.

1. About this visa

A short stay 'C' exam visa allows you to travel to Ireland for up to 90 days to sit an exam that is necessary for your current employment or course of study, for example:

This visa does not allow you to:

  • Sit an exam that is not necessary for your current employment or course of study
  • Work in any way (paid or unpaid), including acting in an observer capacity
  • Rely on Irish public services, eg public hospitals

Read the general assessment criteria for all short stay 'C' visas.

Note: A visa allows you to travel to Ireland only. It does not give you permission to enter the country or to stay here. An immigration officer at border control can refuse you entry even if you have a visa.

2. Who needs to apply

You need a visa to come to Ireland if you travel using a passport issued by a country that is visa required or using a travel document issued by certain countries. Each traveller must apply for a separate visa.

You should not purchase travel tickets before you receive a decision on your visa application.

How to apply

You must apply for a visa from your home country or a country where you are a legal resident. Prepare your application 3 months before you travel.

Your application has 3 parts:

  1. Create a visa application online
  2. Pay the visa application fee
  3. Send your passport & other documents for processing
  4. Note: In some cases, you may also need to provide biometric information

You will be given information about where to send your documents after you create your visa application.

If your application is successful, an Irish visa will be placed into your passport/travel document and returned to you. In general, you can expect a decision about 8 weeks after we receive your documents.

Important: Do not include false or misleading information or documents in your application. If you do, your application may be refused. You can also be denied a right of appeal and blocked from getting an Irish visa for 5 years.

3. Create your visa application online

AVATS is the online visa application system. To apply for a visa, answer all questions in AVATS fully and honestly.

Apply for an Irish visa online via AVATS

Short stay exam visa

To travel to Ireland for up to 90 days to sit an exam, select the following options in AVATS:

  • Visa type: 'Short Stay (C)'
  • Reason for travel: 'Exam'
  • Purpose of travel: Enter the name your exam, eg 'PRES exam'
  • Journey type: 'Single' or 'Multiple' (as appropriate for you)
  • Note: Multiple entry visas are approved in limited circumstances only

Get answers to common questions when applying for a visa in AVATS.

Application summary

When finished, you will be shown a web page with important summary information, including your:

  • Visa Application Transaction Number: Keep a note of this number. You will need it to check progress on your application or when contacting us.
  • Application summary sheets: Print, sign and date these sheets and send them to your application office (as below), along with your passport and other documents.
  • Application office: Send your application to the office address shown on your summary sheet. Your application office may be the Dublin Visa Office, an international Visa Office or an Irish Embassy or Consulate worldwide, depending on where you apply from. (In some cases, your application office may send your application to a different office for a visa decision.)

4. Pay the visa application fee

Payment methods and currency options may differ between offices. Contact your application office to find out how to pay. Some applicants are exempt and do not pay visa fees.

Current fees are:

  • € 60: Single entry - Short stay 'C' visa
  • € 100: Multiple entry - Short stay 'C' visa
  • Extra charges may apply for some applications, eg consular fees

The visa fee covers the administrative cost of processing your application. It will not be refunded if your application is withdrawn or refused.

5. Send your visa documents for processing

You must send the documents listed below to your application office within 30 days of creating an application via AVATS. Your application will not be processed until everything is received.

Prepare your documents carefully. They contain information we need to make a decision about you. It is your responsibility to satisfy us that a visa should be granted.

+ Click here to read important rules for documents

Documents must be original

We do not accept photocopies (except where stated).

Letters must be original

Letters from companies, universities, schools, colleges, etc, must be on official headed paper and show the organisation's:

  • Full name
  • Full postal address
  • Telephone number
  • Website address
  • Email address (Yahoo and Hotmail email addresses are not accepted)
  • A contact person's name and title/position
  • Written signature of an authorised representative (electronic signature is not accepted)

Documents must be translated & certified

You must provide a full and certified translation into the English or Irish language of any documents not in English or Irish. Send us both the original documents and the certified translations.

Read a longer description about how to make a certified translation of a document.

Return of documents

We will return marriage, birth and death certificates to you after your application is processed.

If there are other documents you want returned, type or write a list of the documents you want and then:

  • Include the list with your visa application
  • Include the original documents from the list (we will return these after processing)
  • Include a photocopy of each document (we will keep these)

Note: Do not send photocopies only. You must include the original documents.


Your application may be refused if you do not submit all documents. Even if you submit everything required, there is no guarantee that a visa will be granted.

i. Application summary sheets

Print, sign and date the Application summary sheets (from AVATS) and include them with your application documents.

ii. Application letter

Type or write a letter explaining why you want to come to Ireland. Sign and date the letter and submit it with your documents.

Your letter must include your full name and postal address, and the:

  • Reason you want to come to Ireland
  • Dates you plan to arrive and leave
  • Names and addresses of any members of your family who currently live in Ireland or any other EU/EEA country or Switzerland

Your letter must contain an estimate of the total cost of your visit to Ireland (in Euro), including separate estimates for:

  • All costs and expenses you personally will pay for (if any)
  • All costs and expenses paid for by a third-party (if any), eg your employer (see viii. Finance plan if your visit is being paid for)

Your letter must also include a commitment from you that you will:

  • Obey the conditions of your visa in full
  • Not apply to any hospital (public or private) to gain experience in any capacity, eg acting as an observer
  • Not rely on public services (eg public hospitals) or become a burden on the State
  • Leave Ireland before your immigration permission expires

iii. Proof of exam & registration

Type or write a description of the exam you wish to attend in Ireland and include it with your application. The description must contain information about:

  • Why the exam is necessary for your current employment or course of studies, eg:
  • Why you need to sit the exam in Ireland
    • Note: For a distance learning course you must prove that there is no testing centre in the country where you live and that Ireland is your nearest testing centre

You must also include proof that you have registered and paid for your exam. To do so, include the following (original) documents from the institution that is organising your exam:

  • Confirmation of registration, ie confirming that you will attend the exam in Ireland
  • Receipt of payment that confirms your exam fees (if any) have been paid in full

If you wish to sit more than one exam, you must include a separate description and proof of registration (& payment) for each exam.

iv. Accommodation plan

In your application letter, type or write a description of everywhere you will stay in Ireland (eg hotel, hostel, B&B, etc), including the dates you will stay at each place.

Include printed reservation confirmations (emails or letters) of your accommodation, from:

  • Hotels, guesthouses, hostels, B&Bs, AirBnBs, campsites, etc.
  • Shared or free accommodation, eg couchsurfing
  • Any other type of accommodation

Reservation confirmations must show the dates you intend to stay at each place.

If you are staying with a host in their home

For each host you stay with, ask them to send you a letter with the information listed below. Include this letter with your application.

The letter must contain:

  • The host's full name
  • The host's home address in Ireland
  • Confirmation by the host that you have been invited to stay
  • The dates you will stay with the host
  • A statement by your host about what they will contribute to the cost of your visit (if anything):
    • The statement must indicate if they will pay for 'all', 'some' or 'none' of the costs of your visit
    • If 'all' or 'some', the letter must include an estimate of everything they will pay for, eg airline tickets, accommodation, living expenses, etc (see viii. Finance plan for more)

You must also ask your host to include proof that they live at their address. To do so, ask them to send you an original utility bill (on headed paper) from within the last 6 months and include it with your application, for example:

  • Electricity or gas
  • Fixed line telephone, TV or broadband
  • A print of a bill from the internet cannot be accepted

Travel & medical insurance

If your application for a visa is approved, you must get travel/medical insurance before you travel. You will not be allowed to enter Ireland without it.

In some cases, you may be asked to submit proof that you have travel/medical insurance before a visa is granted.

v. Proof of fee payment (where relevant)

In some circumstances, you may have to include proof that you have paid the visa application fee. Contact your application office to find out if you need to provide proof and what to include.

If you are exempt from the visa fee, you may have to include documents that prove you are exempt. Contact your application office about proof of exemption.

Proof of payment/exemption may differ between offices. Extra charges may also apply for some applications, eg consular fees..

vi. Passport

You must submit:

  • Your current passport
  • A photocopy of each page from any previous passports you have (where available)

Your current passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you plan to leave Ireland.

Your application will be delayed if you do not provide copies of any previous passports you have.

Travel to-and-from Ireland via a different country

Type or write a letter that describes your travel plan to-and-from Ireland if you intend to:

  • Travel to Ireland directly from a different country (ie not your home country or a country where you are a legal resident), or
  • Travel from Ireland directly to a different country

The letter must also state if you need visas for those countries (or not). Include the letter with your application.

If relevant, apply for those countries' visas before you apply for an Irish visa. Your application for an Irish visa may be refused if your passport does not contain the expected visas.

If you do not get the expected visas before you apply for an Irish visa, explain why in your letter. The visa officer will include those reasons when reviewing your application.

If you are not a citizen of the country you are applying from

You must submit proof you have permission to be in the country you are applying from, if you are not a citizen, eg a photocopy of your residence card.

You must also show you have at least 3 months' permission to remain in that country after the date you plan to leave Ireland.

vii. Photographs

Include 2 passport-sized colour photographs of the visa applicant.

On the back of each photo:

  • Sign your name (in your native script and language)
  • Write your Visa Application Transaction Number from AVATS

Each photograph must meet all the following rules for visa photographs.

viii. Finance plan

You must show that you have enough finance (money) to support yourself fully in Ireland.

Note: There is no minimum amount of finance for approving or refusing a visa application. The visa officer will decide if you have enough based on your own circumstances.

If you are paying for your own visit

Include an up-to-date bank statement with your documents. The bank statement must:

  • Be original and on headed bank paper
    • Note: You may use a printed internet statement but it must be officially certified by your bank. We will not accept uncertified internet statements
  • Show your name and address
  • Show the bank account number and account type, eg checking/current account, savings/deposit account
  • Show money paid in and out of the account over the last 6 months

If you submit a bank statement from a savings/deposit account, you must include an original letter from your bank (on headed paper) that confirms you can withdraw money from it.

You must also include a written explanation of any large movements of money in or out of your account, if appropriate.

If your accommodation host is helping to pay for your visit

Include the letter from your host that lists everything they will pay for, eg cost of airline tickets in Euro (as above).

If someone else (a third party) is helping to pay for your visit

Type or write a description that explains how and why your travel is being paid for by a third party. You must also include the third party's:

  • Full name and address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address (if available)
  • Website (if appropriate)

You must also include:

  • Proof of the relationship between you and the third party, eg copies of letters, emails, photographs together, etc.
  • Your own personal bank statement, following the same rules as described above

ix. Proof you will return home

You must include proof that you will leave Ireland when your visit ends.

To do so, you must show that you have a strong obligation to return home (ie to your country of residence) for economic, social or family reasons.

Work

If you have a job at home, you must show that you have an obligation to return to it. To do so, you should provide:

  • Your 3 most recent original payslips
  • A letter from your employer that states:
    • How long you have been employed there
    • The dates you will be absent
    • The date you will be returning to work

Education or study

If you are a student at home, you must show that you have an obligation to return to continue your studies. To do so, you should provide:

  • A letter from your school or college that states:
    • The course you are studying
    • How many years you have been a student there
    • How many years/semesters you have left there
    • That your school/college expects you return to your studies after your visit to Ireland

Family

If you have a family at home, you must prove that you will return to them.

To do so, type or write a description of your family, including:

  • Your family status, eg married, co-habiting, separated, divorced, bereaved, etc.
  • Any children or dependents, eg elderly parents

If you are married and your spouse is not coming to Ireland with you, you should include your original Marriage Certificate with your application.

If you have children aged under 18 and they are not coming to Ireland with you, you should include their original Birth Certificates with your application.

Property

If you own or rent property in your country of residence, type or write a description of it and include it with your application.

You should also include other documents as proof, eg your original tenancy/rental agreement or your property title deed.

x. Visa refusals

If you were ever refused a visa by any country, type or write a description about it.

You must also include the original letter sent to you by the authorities that refused your application.

Note: Your application for an Irish visa will be refused if you do not include information about past visa refusals.

Submit your documents

When you are satisfied that you have prepared your application documents, put them into a strong padded envelope and send them to your application office.

Be sure to pay the correct postage for large packages.

6. After you apply

When we receive your application, we will check that you have included:

  • Signed and dated Application Summary Sheets
  • Proof of payment of the visa application fee (if applicable)
  • All other documents listed above

When reviewing your application we may contact you to ask for more information or documents. We may also:

  • Send your passport/travel document for official authentication
  • Contact An Garda Síochána (Irish police) for information about you
  • Contact government departments or other agencies for information about you, eg INTERPOL

Biometric information

In some cases, you may need to provide biometric information as part of your application.

Contact your application office (as listed on your application summary sheet) to find out if you need to provide biometric information and how to do so.

7. Visa decisions

Visa applications are processed in the order they are received. Processing times differ between application offices and application types and may also vary during the year, eg at holiday periods.

In general, you can expect a decision for a short stay 'C' exam visa about 8 weeks after your documents are received.

Note: Your application may take longer if documents are missing, need to be verified or because of personal circumstances, eg if you have a criminal conviction, etc.

Check your visa decision

Dublin Visa Office

If your application was sent to the Dublin Visa Office:

All other offices

If you send your application to an international Visa Office, Irish Embassy or Consulate, contact that office for an update on your application.

If your application is approved

An Irish visa will be placed into a blank page of your passport/travel document.

Your passport/travel document and certain original documents (eg marriage/birth/death certificates and other documents listed by you) will be returned to you by post or arranged for collection at an international Visa Office, Irish Embassy or Consulate.

If your application is refused

You will be sent a 'letter of refusal' that explains why your application was not approved.

Your passport/travel document and certain original documents (eg marriage/birth/death certificates and other documents listed by you) will be returned to you by post or arranged for collection at an international Visa Office, Irish Embassy or Consulate.

Appeal a visa decision

You can appeal a negative visa decision at no cost. To do so, you must submit an appeal within 2 months of the date on your letter of refusal.

8. When you travel

An Irish visa allows you to travel to Ireland. It does not give you permission to enter the country.

You can be refused entry even if you have a visa.

Border control

When you arrive at border control, you must prove that you have a valid reason for entering Ireland to the immigration officer.

To do so you will need your passport, visa and other documents. For example, you should bring copies of documents from your application with you when you travel.

Read a longer description about what to expect at border control.

+ Click here for suggested documents to present at border control

Passport & visa

  • Valid passport with Irish visa

Application summary sheet

  • A photocopy of your application summary sheet from AVATS

Application letter

  • A photocopy of the application letter submitted with your application

Proof of examination

  • A photocopy of the exam description submitted with your application
  • A photocopy of the confirmation of registration that confirms you will attend the exam in Ireland
  • A photocopy of the receipt of payment that confirms your exam fees (if any) have been paid in full

Accommodation plan confirmations (printed emails or letters), for example:

  • Names and addresses of any friends/family you will stay with
  • Hotels, guesthouses, hostels, B&Bs, AirBnBs, campsites, etc.
  • Shared or free accommodation, eg couchsurfing
  • Any other type of accommodation
  • Confirmations must show the dates you intend to stay at each place

Finances

If you are paying for your own trip:

  • An original up-to-date bank statement covering the last 6 months
  • Note: You may use a printed internet statement but it must be officially certified by your bank. We will not accept uncertified internet statements

If your accommodation host is helping to pay for your trip:

  • The letter from your host that lists everything they will pay for, eg cost of airline tickets in Euro, and
  • Your own personal bank statement (as above)

If someone else (a third party) is helping to pay for your business trip:

  • A description that explains how and why your trip is being paid for by a third party, and
  • Your own personal bank statement (as above)

Travel/medical insurance

  • An original insurance certificate (or confirmation document) that indicates you have travel/medical insurance adequate to cover you when in Ireland.


If you cannot satisfy the immigration officer, you will not be allowed into Ireland.

If you are given permission to enter, the officer will place a 'landing stamp' in your passport.

The landing stamp shows the reason for your visit (eg exam) and how long you can stay, up to a maximum of 90 days.

Leaving Ireland & returning home

The time period you are permitted to stay in Ireland is shown on the landing stamp in your passport.

You must leave the country before your permission expires. It is against the law to remain here without permission.

Extend a stay for unforeseen circumstances

In rare and exceptional circumstances, you may apply to extend your permission to stay in Ireland.

To apply for an extension, the circumstances of your visit must change in an unforeseen way after you arrive in the country.

An extension will not be granted to attend another exam or any non-emergency or foreseeable reason.

You must be in Ireland to apply and submit an application before your existing permission expires.

 

Contact

If you have questions, contact us.

Updated: 7 September 2017

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