Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Policy Documents for ILEP

What is ISI doing to make it safe to study at ISI during the COVID19 pandemic?

Please, read our guidelines here.

Before arrive

Can I get your brochure?

Do I need a visa?

That depends on where you come from. Students from the EEA, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein do not need a visa to travel to or study in Ireland. Students from visa-waiver countries such as Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Panama, Argentina, Mexico, USA, Canada, Japan, Korea and Taiwan do not need a visa to enter Ireland but must register after arrival. Students from visa-requiring countries such as Turkey, Colombia, China, Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and India require a visa in advance of traveling to Ireland. For full information please visit www.inis.gov.ie. Go to ‘check if you need a visa’ for further information.

How much money should I bring to Ireland for long-term study?

If you are from a country outside of the EEA, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and studying on our Academic Year programme you will be required to show evidence that you have access to a minimum of €3,000 to cover your expenses while living in Ireland. You’ll need to provide eivdence of this when you register with local imigration on arrival in Ireland (GNIB). You can show evidence of this in a number of ways:

a) A current foreign bank statement less than one month old showing €3,000, together with a past statement within the last 6 months, for an account in the your name (as in your passport) accompanied by a debit card in the same name and same bank account. The bank statement does not have to be in English once the text is in the Roman alphabet and the your name and currency are clear. If the text is in a different script it must be professionally translated and certified/stamped. Students may also use their parent’s bank statement if they are funding them. Any statement from a parental account must share the same surname of the student and be accompanied by a colour copy of their passport.

b) Documentary evidence that money is held in trust for a student by a financial services body regulated in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland.

c) A pre-paid credit or debit card(s) with a verification of the amount(s) in credit.

We can help you open a bank account however due to increased fraud compliance it currently takes an average of 4 weeks for international students to open an Irish bank account. Students are advised to use an alternative means to show proof of funds to GNIB.

Do I need medical insurance?

If you are a student from within the EU you should apply for the European Health Card and bring this with you in Ireland.

If you are a Non-EU student you must purchase travel insurance for the duration of your course in Ireland. We supply suitable insurance cover for € 125 per year in case you have an accident or suffer an illness that incurs medical costs. Download the policy below.

Download:  Medical Insurance Policy

Can you meet me at the airport in Dublin?

Yes, an ISI representative can meet you at the airport and bring you to your ISI accommodation. All students under 18 must be met at the airport by an ISI representative, or an authorised person(s) approved by ISI. Please consult our price list and stipulate on your application if you require this service.

When can I start my course?

You can start English programmes and Academic Year programmes on any Monday, except during Christmas vacation. All other courses have specific course start dates. See the course description page here, for further information.

How many students are in each class?

There is a maximum of 15 students in each language class.

Do I need to pass a test in order to enter your school?

All new ISI students are required to complete our online English test prior to their course start date. ISI students will also complete a speaking test on their first morning. You can take our online English test here. Fill in the first page with your personal information, before proceeding to complete the test.

Do you have any activities I can participate in after class?

ISI offers a full social programme all year round, as well as a range of free clubs and evening events. Students who are taking programmes in the afternoon, cannot participate in the afternoon social programme.

However, ISI clubs which commence after the afternoon classes, and at least one evening activity and one Saturday activity per week are available to all students.

See our Social Programme section for further information, and follow our Facebook page, Instagram and YouTube channel to keep up to date with our social events.

What qualifications do your teachers have?

All English teachers have a degree and an ACELS recognized TEFL certificate.

Can I get a certificate at the end of my course?

All students must attend at least 85% of their English classes to receive the full certificate. Students who complete an English programme receive an in-house English certificate. Those who complete an International test such as Trinity ISE, FCE, CAE or IELTS, will also receive that certificate from the relevant examination body

Can I use my laptop computer in the school?

Yes. There is free WiFi access throughout the building. We also have computer suites with modern computers and webcams available to ISI students

Will there be internet access or WiFi in my accommodation?

Internet access is widely available on both ISI Student Residence and ISI Host Family Accommodation. If students encounter any problems with internet accessibility they should speak with their host family, or contact info@isi-ireland.ie.

When are school holidays?

The school is closed for Christmas / New year vacation for approximately one week. Please email us at info@isi-ireland.ie for the exact dates each year.

The school is also closed on the following national and bank holidays: March 17th, Easter Friday, Easter Monday, first Monday in May, June and August and the last Monday in October. There will be no classes on these dates and no reimbursement for classes missed.

After you arrive

I am from outside the EU and staying in Ireland for more than 90 days, what do I need to do?

A country outside of the EEA, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and studying on our Academic Year programme you will be required to show evidence that you access to a minimum of €3,000 to cover your expenses while living in Ireland. You’ll need to provide evidence of this when you register with local immigration shortly after arrival in Ireland (GNIB). You can show evidence of this in a number of ways:

a) A current foreign bank statement less than one month old showing €3,000, together with a past statement within the last 6 months, for an account in your name (as in your passport) accompanied by a debit card in the same name and same bank account. The bank statement does not have to be in English once the text is in the Roman alphabet and your name and currency are clear. If the text is in a different script it must be professionally translated and certified/stamped. Students may also use their parent’s bank statements if they are funding them. Any statement from a parental account must share the same surname of the student and be accompanied by a colour copy of their passport.

b) Documentary evidence that money is held in trust for a student by a financial services body regulated in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland.

c) A pre-paid credit or debit card(s) with a verification of the amount(s) in credit.

If you are from a Visa country such as Saudi Arabia, China, Colombia, Turkey, Russia, etc., you do not need to show evidence of €3,000 when registering with GNIB as you have already completed this step at the visa application stage.

We can help you open a bank account however due to increased fraud compliance it currently takes an average of 4 weeks for international students to open an Irish bank account. Students are advised to use an alternative means to show proof of funds to GNIB.

Where do I open the bank account and what do I need?

We can help you open a bank account but you should note:

  • Due to increased fraud compliance, it currently takes an average of 4 weeks for international students to open an Irish bank account.
  • Students are advised to use alternative means of showing proof of funds to GNIB and wait until they have a job offer to open their bank account.
  • Due to increased fraud compliance, all students will need to supply a foreign bank statement from their home country as part of their application to the bank. The statement must show six months of transactions.
  • Students may also use their parents’ bank statements if they are funding their trip. Any statement from a parental account must share the same surname of the student and be accompanied by a colour copy of their passport.
  • Statements do not have to be in English if is presented in the Roman alphabet and once any names and financial transactions are clear. If the text is not in the Roman alphabet it will need to be professionally translated and certified/stamped.

To open an account you will need:

  • ISI Bank Letter (reception will provide this to you) and a job offer if available
  • A current foreign bank statement in your name (as in your passport), or in your parent’s name, less than one month old showing six months of transactions
  • Medical Insurance Policy – with your address printed on the policy document (we can provide this if your purchase ISI insurance)
  • Your passport
  • PPS Number
  • Revenue statement

What documents do I need to register with GNIB (immigration)?

To register with GNIB students must apply for an appointment online. Once completed they will be given a date & time to visit GNIB. The average lead time for an appointment is 4 weeks from application, but students are advised that it could be up to 6 weeks. To apply students must visit www.inis.gov.ie & follow the instructions. New appointment times are released every day at 14:30 GMT.

During the appointment you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of suitable finance or proof of access to €3,000.
  • Evidence of suitable medical insurance.
  • Your passport.
  • Registration fee of €300. GNIB only accept card payments and do not accept cash or cheque.

ISI sends a list of registered students to GNIB every week. Your name will be on this list if you confirm your appointment date and time for us. You must confirm your appointment date to reception on your first day, or at least 1 week prior to your appointment if you are awaiting a date and time.

Can I take holidays from my course?

If you are from the EU or Switzerland there are no restrictions on the number of holidays you can take. However, you will lose your tuition weeks and will not get a refund for lessons missed due to holidays.

If you are from outside the EU and studying on an Academic Year course, holidays are included. You can check at reception to see your holiday dates. You can change these dates, but ISI has a holiday policy that you must follow and all holiday change requests are subject to approval.

Download:

Can I work in Ireland?

Students from the EEA, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein can work legally in Ireland with the same conditions as Irish citizens.

All students from outside these countries can work in Ireland only if they are in full-time education on an approved programme for a period of 25 weeks or more. At ISI, these programmes include all Academic Year English programmes.

However, students on these programmes are limited to working part-time, 20 hours per week during their course term. Students may work full-time, 40 hours per week during approved holidays periods which must take place in June, July, August & September or from 15 December to 15 January.

ISI runs a free jobs club, where a staff member assists students who are looking for jobs within their permitted allowance.

What do I need to work? Do I need a PPS number?

Whether you are from the EU or outside the EU, you will need a Personal Public Service (PPS) number to work in Ireland. You should have a job offer before applying. Go to ISI reception and tell the staff you wish to have a PPS number. You need:

  • Letter of Job Offer from employer
  • Letter from ISI confirming your course and ‘fixed’ address. Unfortunately, you cannot use your host family, hostel, or residence address as this is not ‘fixed’ or ‘permanent’.
  • Other proof of address, i.e. bank statement, telephone bill etc.
  • Passport
  • GNIB card (if any)

Do I need anything else to work?

Your employer might ask you for other proof, such as a letter from the school. If your employer is offering you ‘full-time’ work during holidays, you will need a letter from the school confirming that you are enrolled and that you have approved holidays. Go to the ISI reception to request this letter.

Can I change my level or my class?

Yes, it is possible, but subject to approval. Follow the steps provided below:

  • Talk to your teacher first and ask if you can move to the next level. Your teacher will advise you on your progress and what you need to do next.
  • If you don’t agree with your teacher, OR if you want to move to another class, same level, but different teacher, then send an email to academic@isi-ireland.ie explaining why you want to move. Give your full name, level and teachers’ name. One of the Academic Managers will contact you within 24 hours.

Can I move from afternoon classes to morning classes?

Changes from afternoon to morning classes are possible as long as there is availability for the dates requested. Afternoon to morning class changes may incur payment of the difference in course fees, for the remainder of the course.

If you would like to check availability to change class timetable or confirm prices, please email info@isi-ireland.ie.

NB: ISI doesn’t refund students who move from morning to afternoon – sorry!

How can I check my attendance? Is it important?

Students can collect their attendance rate from ISI reception during their breaks or after class.

If you are from outside the EU, or in receipt of a grant to study in Ireland, it is important to check your attendance regularly and keep it above 85%. Just go to ISI Reception and ask the staff for your attendance rate. Please note the following:

  • Your attendance must be over 85% at all times.
  • Students who are absent for medical reasons must show a medical certificate from a doctor practicing in Ireland.
  • Students who are absent to go to GNIB must show proof to their teacher (a card, passport).
  • If you miss 10 minutes of a lesson you will be deducted 1-hour attendance – don’t be late for class.

What is an ‘elective’ and how can I take part? How much does it cost?

An elective is a skill-based class available in addition to 15-hour courses. Topics include:

  • Grammar and Writing
  • Structured Grammar
  • Grammar in Context
  • Pronunciation
  • Reading and listening
  • Conversation Skills
  • Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) preparation
  • Cambridge Advanced Certificate (CAE) preparation
  • IELTS preparation

These electives are available at 8.00 – 9.00 or at 12.25 – 13.25 Monday to Friday. The electives are level specific so for advice on which electives you can take, please email academic@isi-ireland.ie.

One elective is included in GE20 and AY20 courses, but not included on GE15 and AY15 courses. You have the option of adding on 1 or even 2 of these electives by following the below steps:

  • Email academic@isi-ireland.ie with your name and level and stating which elective you wish to participate in and at what time.
  • The Academic Manager will check availability.
  • Once confirmed, go to reception and pay the required fee.
  • For information regarding prices for electives, please email info@isi-ireland.ie.

Do I have to take an official English examination such as Cambridge, IELTS, TIE?

Note, new restrictions apply to students who start their course after October 1st, 2015

See: End of course exam entry policy

If you are a Non-EU Academic Year student you MUST finish your course with an official examination. You have paid a €170 deposit (€225 from January 1st, 2019) for this when you made your booking. This deposit is NOT refundable. We recommend that you start thinking about which exam you want to do after 12 weeks. Talk to your teacher about it. You may wish to take extra lessons (see question above) in one of our examination preparation classes, though this is not obligatory. When you decide which examination suits you, email exams@isi-ireland.ie and the Academic Manager will assist you in booking the exam. You will have to pay the balance of the fee owed, this can be done at ISI reception.

If you are from the EU or Switzerland and you have booked a FCE or CAE course, then email exams@isi-ireland.ie to ensure you have paid the examination fee and booked an examination date.

Whether EU or non-EU you will need:

  • Application form
  • Copy of passport and GNIB card (if any)

Exams are non-refundable once booked. It is the student’s responsibility to check their emails, ensure they are prepared, and follow the information and advice of ISI teachers and staff in advance of examinations.

How can I print something at the school?

Send the document to be printed to reception@isi-ireland.ie and collect the printed page at reception. We do not print from USB keys due to network security. Students can use ISI computer suites where required in this case.

We charge the following printing fee:

  • Black and White pages: 10 cent
  • Colour pages: 20 cent

How can I extend my course?

You can go directly to ISI reception and they will show you the relevant prices and information. Alternatively, you can go to reception and ask to speak to our Admissions Manager or email info@isi-ireland.ie for all relevant information.

Once availability is confirmed, students must pay the extension fee in full prior to their course start date. This can be done at reception, or by bank transfer.

I am an Academic Year student and I’d like to study during my holiday or extend for just a few weeks, is there a discount?

Non-EEA students will not be allowed to change their current course duration or extend their current course into their holiday period. It is possible to add a new tuition course during their academic year holiday segment. The attendance during this new tuition course will not impact, positively or negatively, the academic year course attendance rate or performance records.

Can I extend my accommodation in my host family or residence?

Yes, you can go directly to reception and ask to speak to our Accommodation Manager or email us at info@isi-ireland.ie 

All extensions are subject to availability and must be paid in full prior to students’ accommodation start date.

I am finishing my course this week, where do I get my certificate?

If you have over 85% attendance, you can go to reception and collect your Certificate on your last day after class. Students studying in the afternoon should note that reception closes at 16:30, so certificates may be collected during their break of class also.

If you need the certificate earlier or have further queries, please email academic@isi-ireland.ie and a member of ISI Academic Team will respond within 24 hours.

I am a Non-EU student, finishing my course shortly, and I need to go to the GNIB with a course finish letter to extend my visa. What do I need to do?

Your course finish letter will be sent to the GNIB on your last day of study at ISI. We do not give you the course finish letter directly. Please wait 1 week from your course finish date before going to the GNIB to extend your visa.

If you have any doubts you can come and speak to reception, or email reception@isi-ireland.ie for further information.

If you need any other letters to confirm attendance email reception@isi-ireland.ie.