Student Pathway

You may only stay in Ireland as a student for a maximum aggregate time of 7 years.

Can I stay in Ireland after I complete my studies to seek employment?

It may be possible to stay in Ireland after you complete your studies for the purpose of seeking employment under the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme. This scheme exists to allow legally resident non-EEA third level graduates to remain in Ireland for the purpose of seeking employment and applying for a green card or work permit.

During the period of permission under the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme a student can work full time (up to 40hrs per week).

The permission the student will have will remain that of student.

The permission under the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme is non renewable.

A student can only avail of the Third Level Graduate Scheme once.

One Year Permission under the Third Level Graduate Scheme Permission

To be eligible for a one year permission under the third level graduate scheme a student is required to have

  • studied in Ireland and completed a qualification at Level NFQ 8-10,
  • an award granted by a recognised Irish awarding body (overseas accreditation will not be accepted), i.e.
    •  Dublin Institute of Technology
    • Higher Education Training and Awards Council
    • Institutes of Technology with delegated authority
    • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
    • Universities
    • Other bodies that have statutory award-making powers in Irish law

Six Month Permission under the Third Level Graduate Scheme

A six month permission under the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme is available to students who have graduated a course at Level 7 of the NFQ.

Students who avail of the Graduate Scheme within the 7 year limit as a student

Students who have completed a qualification in line with the courses as set out above and who are still within the 7 year overall limit for students in Ireland may avail of the Third Level Graduate Scheme starting on the date upon which the person receives their exam results.

If the full time non-EEA Student then re-enters education at a higher level the graduate scheme will count towards their 7 year maximum overall time limit in the State as a student. Where a student is eligible to avail of a one year Graduate scheme permission but only takes six months then the student will only be permitted to take the balance of six months if they then graduate from another course at a higher level.

For example – Student A completes a Level 8 Honours Degree over four years. Student A then avails of the Graduate Scheme for one year. Student A then returns to education to pursue a Masters Degree. The maximum time allowable for Student A to complete that course will be two years.

In addition the Student will not be permitted to avail of the Third Level Graduate Scheme at the end of their Masters course.

Stamp 2 will be issued in this situation.

Can I switch from Stamp 2 Student permission to Stamp 1A Trainee Accountant permission as a graduate?

Yes in certain circumstances this is permitted.

Non-EEA graduates, on Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A Student permission who having studied in Ireland complete a qualification (NFQ 7-10) granted by an Irish Authority (overseas accreditation will not be accepted) and who have not exceeded the overall 7 year time limit may transfer to Stamp 1A Trainee Accountant Permission for the balance of the 7 year time limit. To stay beyond the 7 years the graduate would be required to secure an alternative immigration permission from that of a Stamp 2 or Stamp2A student or Stamp 1A Trainee Accountant (for example as an employment permit holder).

Can I switch to work permit employment when I am in Ireland to study?

Permission to work is granted by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Check their website for details on how to obtain a working permit. (Available at


Flowchart for New Non-EEA Students (Size 14KB)