Frequently Asked Questions

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Should I buy a mobile phone?

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Where can I buy appliances and electronics?

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Where do I buy bed-linens and towels?

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Where can I go to do my grocery shopping?

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How do I get my medication sent to me from the U.S.?

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What is the process for Immigration Registration? (Republic of Ireland Students only)

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Can I work while I study here?

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What is meant by “no-frills” airlines?

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What about student travel discount in Ireland?

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Where is my local U.S. Embassy?

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What security measures do you recommend for students?

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Most students use a mobile phone, and you will find it difficult to get along without one (we call cell phones mobile phones here!). Most students use them for text-ing more than anything else. You should get a Pay-As-You-Go plan which allows you to pay for only the calls you have used. You do not pay for incoming calls here. If you choose the same network as your friends calls and texts between those phones are much less expensive. All town centres have mobile phone shops for the different networks and it’s a matter of tracking down the best offers. You should get free call credit with any phone your purchase.

Sometimes the offers on-line are even better than in shops so check that option out also.
See www.vodafone.ie; www.o2.ie; www.meteor.ie; www.3ireland.ie

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The cheapest option for many of your needs will be your local Argos or Curry’s. Argos is a catalogue shop that has everything from hairdryers to microwaves. Catalogue shop means you choose your product from a catalogue in the shop, then pick it up at the counter without seeing it beforehand. Curry’s is usually where students go to find their electrical goods, e.g. Ethernet cables for their laptops.

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The cheapest and most popular places to pick up inexpensive bed-linens are at Dunnes Stores, Penney’s and Heaton’s. You can find them in every large Irish town. In Northern Ireland Penney’s is known as Primark.

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Buying groceries will form a basic part of your weekly routine. You can find ways to spend less on groceries, by going to chain stores and purchasing the supermarkets’ brand products.

Look for Dunnes Stores and Tesco, or if you live near an Aldi or Lidl, check out their prices. Also check out open-air markets for fresh fruit and vegetables. Local shops, like at home, are convenience stores and therefore products there cost more. They should be used for the emergency carton of milk, but not your weekly shopping.

A levy of 22cent per bag on plastic bags has been introduced in Ireland in recent years. Bring your backpacks with you when shopping, or buy the strong recycling bags and re-use them throughout your time here. The proceeds of the levy go towards environmental improvement, and the money collected is paid into the National Environment Fund used to fund litter, waste management and other environmental initiatives.

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You may take a maximum of 90 day prescription medication with you into the country when you first arrive. We then advise students to register with a doctor here and get their future prescriptions renewed at an Irish doctor. If you choose to have your second and subsequent prescriptions sent to you from the U.S. you must follow procedures. A 90 day supply can be sent with a copy of the prescription included in the package. When the package is en route the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) should be contacted by the sender (tel. + 353 1 6343432 or e-mail enforcement@imb.ie ) with the package Tracking Number (Airway Bill Number). Customs officials have the right to open or stop any package coming into the country but if the package contains what appears to be prescription medication they will verify it with the IMB.

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All non-EU visiting students register in person with the Garda National Immigration Bureau when they arrive in (the Republic of) Ireland. This is a red-tape process, and although it may be annoying and time-consuming, is a necessary part of your study abroad process. Each university town has its own individual financial requirements from students, ranging from €1,000 to €1,500 in an Irish bank account, and so we cannot define a set amount of money needed in bank accounts for registration. Please be patient.

We have been advised that you will need the following to register:

  • passport
  • host university student I.D. card
  • Letter from your Irish university showing that you have registered there and that your fees are paid. All universities provide students with these documents.
  • A bank statement from an Irish bank. Please bring any documents you have showing your financial security while studying here. It’s a good idea to bring your IFSA-Butler Student Validation Document with you as added support.
  • Evidence of health coverage, so be sure to take the relevant paperwork for any policies you may have, including your Seven Corners insurance ID card.

Students pay €150 to register with Immigration. Payment can be made by credit card or bank giro, NOT CASH. If you pay by credit card you will be able to get your registration card on the day you register. If you pay by bank giro you will receive the giro form from the Immigration Bureau, then you must go to a bank to deposit the €150 into the Immigration Office account and wait until the transaction is processed. You return to the Immigration Bureau 7 – 10 days later to collect your card. We would advise as many students as possible to pay the €150 fee by credit card to avoid having to return to the office and line up a second time.

Offices are located as follows:

City Address/Hours Telephone
CORK Gárda Station, Anglesea Street
9.30am – 12.00 noon and 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Tel. 021 427 1220
DUBLIN 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 Tel. 01 666 9100
GALWAY Unit 2, Liosban Industrial Estate
(beside Westdoc & Kenny’s book bindery)
Tel. 091 768 002
LIMERICK Henry Street Garda Station Tel. 061 212 488
MAYNOOTH Garda Station Tel. 01 629 1444
BALLYVAUGHAN register on-campus

If you have questions, contact the IFSA-Butler Ireland office immediately.

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In Northern Ireland: If you are here for more than 6 months (full year students), and therefore have obtained Entry Clearance your passport is stamped at the airport to allow you to work for 20 hours per week.

In the Republic of Ireland: If you are a full year student you are entitled to work without a work permit for 20 hours per week. Semester only students are not permitted to work. Even though you do not need a work permit to work, you will need to get a PPS (Personal Public Service) number for tax purposes. You apply for this through your local Social Welfare office. Your nearest social welfare offices are as follows:

Bring with you:

  • Your Passport
  • Garda Registration Card (received when you register with the gardai)
  • Your Irish university/college student I.D. card
  • Proof of address
  • Letter from your Irish university stating you are a student
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These are cheaper airline services that you can only access on the Internet, but they have excellent value flights from Ireland, and are well worth checking out. You need a credit card to pay for your booking, and will print-off your booking confirmation number which you bring to the airport to check in with when travelling. Details can be found on www.ryanair.ie and www.easyjet.com

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As a student with an Irish University student I.D. card you get student rates on Bus Eireann buses, the national bus network. For discounts on trains you need to purchase a Student Travel Card. It offers discounts of up to 40% on Irish Rail, DART, Dublin Bus and LUAS. As well as that, you can get over 200 discounts nationwide on production of the card in-store. It costs €12, and can be bought at your on-campus Students Union Offices.

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Republic of Ireland:
Embassy of the United States
42 Elgin Road
Ballsbridge
Dublin 4
Tel. 00353 1 6688777
To register: dublin.usembassy.gov/ireland/registration_online.html

Northern Ireland:
U.S. Consulate General’s Office
Danesfort House
223 Stranmillis Road
Belfast
Tel.0044 28 9038 6100
www.usembassy.org.uk/ukaddres.html#cgbelfst.

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  1. Blend in to the local community. Socialise and study with host university degree students
  2. Speak softly. Americans tend to speak loudly and attract attention.
  3. Follow local security instructions. If police or other government officials have instructed certain behaviour, follow the rules, politely and quietly.
  4. Carry your IFSA-Butler laminated emergency card with you at all times.
  5. Don’t travel in large groups, but travel with at least one other person, especially after dark. Have money for a taxi in case you feel uncomfortable.
  6. Don’t frequent American hangouts (fast food restaurants, clubs, U.S. Embassy or Consulate).
  7. Make a copy of the front page of your passport and give a copy to the IFSA-Butler overseas office. If your passport is lost or stolen, the local U.S. Embassy will be able to replace it more quickly.
  8. Stay away from political rallies or protests.
  9. Avoid risky behaviour (e.g., excessive alcohol consumption, walking alone at night, bringing home someone you’ve just met, illegal drug use).
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