What is Stamp 2?
A Stamp 2 visa is a permit for international students who wish to study in Ireland. It allows these students to reside in Ireland for a specified amount of time, so that they are able to complete their studies at an Irish educational institution.
This Stamp was introduced in 2008 due to larger quantities of international students wishing to study in Ireland.
The Stamp 2 visa provides a way to ensure that these students have the right to remain in Ireland for the duration of their studies.
- What is Stamp 2?
- Stamp 2 Conditions
- Stamp 2 Restrictions
- What you can do with a Stamp 2 Visa
- Documents needed for Stamp 2 Ireland
- How to apply for Stamp 2
- Stamp 2A Conditions
- How to apply for a Stamp 2A
- What is reckonable residence?
- Is Stamp 2 reckonable residence?
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Stamp 2 Conditions
In order to acquire a Stamp 2 Visa, you must have been accepted for a full-time course at an educational institution within Ireland.
Your course must be on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes, and you must be able to provide a confirmation letter from the educational institution in question.
In addition to the above, a Stamp 2 holder must also meet the following criteria:
- You must be financially sufficient during your entire stay in Ireland. This includes being able to afford all necessary resources such as food, accommodation and travel.
- You must be over the age of 18.
- You must not have any criminal convictions.
- You must have private medical insurance that will cover the entirety of your stay in Ireland. This medical insurance must be approved by the Irish government.
- You must have a valid passport and/or travel document.
- You must be a citizen of a country that is outside of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland in order to apply for a Stamp 2 visa. You must not be a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen who is already residing in Ireland.
- Students on a Stamp 2 visa may only study in Ireland for a maximum of 7 years. Within this time they must show progression in their course each year. English language students must have an attendance of at least 85%.
- You must meet the conditions of the Garda National Immigration Bureau’s (GNIB) registration.
Those in possession of a Stamp 2 must abide by the conditions that have been set for holders of this visa.
Stamp 2 holders have to leave the country either at the end of their course or when the visa expires.
Stamp 2 Restrictions
For those who are in possession of a Stamp 2 Visa, there are certain restrictions that must be noted which are as follows:
- You may only work up to 20 hours a week during the school year.
- Working more than 20 hours on a student visa in Ireland is allowed only in the summer and winter holidays, where you may work up to 40 hours a week.
- Stamp 2 holders are not permitted to bring their family to live with them in Ireland.
- Stamp holders cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services in Ireland, which includes public hospitals.
- If you wish to remain in Ireland once your Stamp 2 Visa has expired, you will have to renew your permit for a maximum of 7 years.
- Stamp 2 holders are not permitted to apply for an Irish residence permit or Irish citizenship.
It is absolutely vital to understand and comply with the restrictions of the Stamp 2 Visa, as violating these conditions may lead to having your immigration permission revoked.
What you can do with a Stamp 2 Visa
A holder of a Stamp 2 Visa is able to:
- Study at any of the educational institutions on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP).
- Bring a spouse or partner to reside with them in Ireland, as long as they meet the set eligibility criteria.
- Travel throughout the European Union. (Stamp 2 holders are automatically granted the Schengen visa).
Documents needed for Stamp 2 Ireland
When you are applying for your Stamp 2 Visa, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Your completed application form.
- Your passport, which must be valid.
- Your proof of financial support.
- Your birth certificate.
- Your educational qualifications.
- A letter of acceptance from the educational institution with which you will be completing your studies.
How to apply for Stamp 2
If you are successful in meeting the Stamp 2 conditions, you will be able to begin the application process by carrying out the following steps:
- Receive an offer letter from an Irish educational institution: the first and most important part of the process when applying for the Stamp 2 is to be in possession of a valid offer from an educational institution within Ireland. The offer must be valid for a full-time course that lasts a minimum of one year.
- Fill out your online application and pay the fee: when you have received an offer from the educational institution, the next step will be applying for your Stamp 2 either online or through your local Irish embassy or consulate. The online application process is often much faster and less expensive, so it is typically the recommended course of action. The Stamp 2 Visa fee will be €300, which you will pay upon submission of your application.
- Attend an interview at your local Irish embassy or consulate: when your application has been submitted, you may be asked to attend an interview in order to discuss the whole process and give your reasons for wanting to study in Ireland.
- Get your Stamp 2: when all previous steps have been completed satisfactorily, you will be issued your Stamp. This will be placed in your passport and allow you to enter Ireland and remain there for the duration of your studies.
Stamp 2A Conditions
Much like the Stamp 2, the Stamp 2A is a permit that allows you to study in Ireland.
The key difference to note between Stamp 2 and Stamp 2A is that the Stamp 2A allows you to study courses that do not feature on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes.
One example of applicants for a Stamp 2A would be students who are only doing one semester abroad in Ireland, but are otherwise enrolled in an overseas school.
Stamp 2A holders are not allowed to work in Ireland at all during their stay, along with these key conditions:
- You must be over the age of 18.
- You must have proof of acceptance on a course that lasts for over a year.
- You must be able to financially support yourself during your stay in Ireland, including the cost of your course, accommodation and all living expenses.
- You must prove your financially independent status with a bank statement or letter from your Visa sponsor.
- You must have health insurance for the entirety of your stay in Ireland.
- You must meet the English language requirements of your course.
- You must not have any criminal convictions.
How to apply for a Stamp 2A
You can apply for the Stamp 2A through either your local Irish embassy or consulate, but as with the Stamp 2, completing this process online tends to be the most straightforward and cost-effective approach.
The fee for a Stamp 2A permit will be €300, and this will need to be paid as you submit your initial application.
If you want to apply for your Stamp 2A permit via your local Irish embassy or consulate, you will need to follow these steps:
- Get your passport, birth certificate, and proof of financial support ready.
- Make an appointment with the Irish embassy or consulate in your home country.
- Fill out your application form, submitting it with all supporting documents as required.
- Once this application has been processed, if you meet all requirements you will be granted a Stamp 2A Visa.
- You may then travel to Ireland and begin your studies.
What is reckonable residence?
Reckonable residence means having residence in Ireland that can count towards eligibility for naturalisation.
Your reckonable residence will equate to the number of days in which you have resided in Ireland before submitting an application for Irish citizenship.
This also applies to those with applications based on marriage or a civil partnership with an Irish citizen.
The periods that count towards reckonable residence are as follows:
- Time spent on an employment permit in Ireland (usually with a Stamp 1)
- Time spent as the spouse or partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder or on the Third Level Graduate Scheme (with a Stamp 1G)
- Time spent as the dependent of an employment permit or other legal resident (usually with a Stamp 3)
- Time spent on a Stamp 4
- Time spent on a Stamp 5 (Without time restriction)
Is Stamp 2 reckonable residence?
Time spent on a student visa in Ireland will not be a reckonable period of residence. This includes both Stamp 2 and Stamp 2A.
The only exception to this will be if you are making an application as a ‘young adult.’
You may use your parents reckonable residence if you are a young adult and your own period of residence is not reckonable.
You will only be applicable for this process based on the requirements as follows:
- You are aged between 18 and 23 when making your application
- You entered Ireland legally with family members
- You are in school or you went straight from school to a third level college in Ireland
- You are dependent on your parents
All citizens of an EEA country, Switzerland or the UK who want to become Irish citizens will have to show reckonable residence by enclosing documents that show their history of residing in Ireland.
How Can Total Law Help?
Total Law is an expert immigration law firm. We can help you with any Ireland visa and immigration matter, including obtaining a Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A.
We will help you prepare a high-quality application and guide you through the whole process, ensuring that you have gathered every document required. Our expert team will be able to make the whole process straightforward, and help you to obtain your required Visa as soon as possible!
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If you are a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you do not need Stamp in order to live and work in Ireland.
If you are a non-EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you will need a Stamp in order to reside and work in Ireland.
You are able to move to Ireland without a job if you apply for the relevant Stamp. Upon successfully acquiring a Stamp you will be allowed to stay in Ireland for the set period of time dependent on the visa type.
Each Stamp type will have different conditions. For example, you may be unemployed on a Stamp 2 but you will have to be in full-time education.