Once you become an international student in Ireland, you will need to get a visa to stay in the country. It gives you permission to reside in Ireland for 8 months and be able to work as a part-time employee to improve your English even more. You can only get the visa once already in the country. For that, you need to schedule an appointment for a specific day and time with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).
And that’s where the problems usually start. Students often find trouble trying to get the appointment as only a few dates are available per day.
During my process of getting a visa, I have learned some useful tricks that can make your life easier, check them out:
Why the GNIB website can be so problematic?
It is through the Irish Immigration website that you need to schedule your visit to the Garda National Immigration Bureau, where your fingerprints will be taken and your passport will be stamped.
Unfortunately, the online system can be a bit slow and troublesome. Sometimes even when accessing the website at different times during the same day, no available times would appear. This happens because of the higher flow of immigrants coming to Ireland recently, and once the website updates, the appointment times are taken very quickly.
On some occasions, students need to wait for a month or more to get the GNIB appointment and the Resident Permit card. During this time, they are not allowed to work so getting the visa as soon as possible after coming to Ireland is very important.
Start looking for available dates even before arriving in Ireland
To avoid the feeling of frustration after arriving in Ireland, I recommend you to start looking for available dates while you are still in your home country. Normally, the time between scheduling your appointment and attending the immigration post is about a month. That is why, once you get your tickets and know the exact date of your arrival, you should start accessing the GNIB website often. Check regularly if the available dates match with your first days in Ireland.
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Visit the website at specific times
Usually, the website’s system updates every day at 10 a.m., so this is the best time to try your appointment. Attempt to access the website a little bit earlier, filling in all your personal information and be ready when the system shows new dates. If no available appointments show up, try to refresh the page a few times, maybe other students tried to get that date but could not finish the process.
However, remember that this is not a strict rule and available dates may appear at other times. If you happen to have a free minute during the day, do not forget to refresh the immigration website and you will get a slot if all chances are on your side.
There are mobile apps that notify you about new available times
One of the things that helped me most during the process of receiving a visa was the official app of the Irish Immigration. It is available on both IOS and Android. In the app, you can save your personal information, and choose to be notified every time new dates are available on the website. The app will insert your data automatically once you click on the available date, and you will just need to confirm. For both Android and IOS systems, the official app is paid but the cost is totally worth it.
After getting your appointment, you just need to wait until your date comes up and attend the Garda National Immigration Bureau post with all the documents needed and the fee of 300 euros. If you want to know more about the Immigration interview and the documents, you will need to bring with you, check our article on the topic here.
Author: Juliana Hansen