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Health insurance - A guide for international students

What are the regulations for EU / EEA students?

Under EU / EEA regulations students from other member states who are attending a course of study are entitled to medical services in Ireland. In order to be eligible for any of these services, you will be required to provide the Irish health authorities with documentation from your home country that validates your entitlement.

You should therefore contact the Health Authority in your home country, well in advance of travelling to Ireland, to fulfill any registration requirements and to obtain the necessary forms that you will need.

Please note that you will normally have to pay for all optical and dental services while in Ireland. With regard to hospital services, if you have not obtained the necessary documentation entitling you to free or minimum-cost services, costs can be as much as EUR 550 per day.


What are the regulations for non-EEA students?

The Irish immigration service requires that all non-EEA students have at least a basic policy covering emergency medical expenses, e.g. cover in the event of an accident requiring hospitalisation. Proof of insurance is required at the time of registration with immigration authorities. For short-term students and newly arrived first year students, travel insurance may suffice in some circumstances. ยป Read more


What are my options if I am going to obtain insurance?

You may obtain private medical insurance in your home country, but you must be certain that it is valid in Ireland and meets the requirement of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). The policy documentation must be issued in English.

Medical insurance meeting minimum immigration service requirements is likely to be available through your college in Ireland. Many have a group medical insurance scheme in place. The premium for this type of policy from a college is likely to be between €100 and €150.

There is, however, no requirement for you to obtain medical insurance through your host institution, rather than another provider, and no college should make purchase of their medical policy compulsory.


What other types of medical insurance are available in Ireland?

Policies offering more extensive health cover, rather than simply emergency medical expenses, are available from Irish private providers for higher fees. The main private health insurance companies in Ireland are VHI, Aviva, Irish Life Health and Laya Healthcare. Please note that in order to apply for a health insurance policy from one of these companies you will need to have an address in Ireland and may also require a PPS number. It is important to feel clear on the type of policy you are buying and to assess whether it fully matches your requirements. Non-emergency provisions of more extensive policies may only become effective following a qualifying period of several months.


Last updated: January 2016