Pre-arrival arrangements

Detailed information in relation to your arrival to Ireland, the beginning of your student journey and the health and wellbeing supports available to RCSI students is available in our information booklets; 'Welcoming our new International Students to RCSI: Supporting your Health, Safety and Wellbeing' and 'Information Pack 2: Student Handbook'.

These have recently been circulated to incoming students and are also available to view below.

Welcoming our new international students to RCSI: Supporting your health, safety and wellbeing PDF | 3145.6 KB Student Handbook 2021 PDF | 15506.2 KB

The only documentation you will need to submit to RCSI between now and Registration Day is your final high school exams (or university exams for Graduate entrants) transcript to confirm your full offer status, as well as completion of the airport arrival transport service form so we can collect you at Dublin Airport and bring you to your new student accommodation.

There is no need to organise vaccinations* or police clearance records in advance of your arrival at RCSI. These will all be organised by the University within the first six months of the programme.

*Please note that if you can get vaccinated against COVID-19 in your home country before travelling to Dublin, we would urge you to do so. If it is not possible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before you travel to Dublin, you will included in the Irish COVID-19 vaccination programme and receive your vaccine at the same time as other Irish citizens of a similar age.

When arriving in Ireland, we are pleased to offer all RCSI students with a free high-quality transport service from Dublin Airport to anywhere in the Dublin area.

RCSI Travel's free transport service is dedicated to RCSI international students and family members travelling with them only. You will be greeted by an RCSI Travel staff member and allocated into vehicles along with your friends who have travelled with you on your flight. Even in the event that your plane is delayed, the transport will be waiting for you. The service also comes with all the necessary hygiene measures including face coverings and hand sanitisers.

Based on current government guidelines and the possibility that a number of international students will have to complete up to 14 days of self-quarantine on arrival in September 2021, we are asking all students to take advantage of our free travel service this year.

In order to manage these transfers, we will require all new students to complete an airport arrival transport form at least 10 days before arrival into Dublin. This can be accessed in the Non-EU section of the RCS Eye. You must include your term address in Dublin to enable us to arrange your transport and for contact tracing information.

All Non EU/EEA* students coming to and residing in Ireland for study purposes are required to take out private health insurance. The timing of when you are required to purchase this insurance depends on which of the two categories below you fall into:

  1. If you require a visa to study in Ireland, this insurance needs to be purchased before you arrive in Ireland as part of the Long Stay Study Visa application process.
  2. All other Non EU/EEA students who do not require a visa to study in Ireland are, however, required to secure an Irish Residency Permit (IRP). You will need to show proof of health insurance as part of your IRP registration but do not need to purchase this insurance until after you arrive in Ireland.

Please note that travel insurance will no longer be accepted as proof of health insurance for your IRP registration. You will need to provide proof of private medical insurance instead. We are awaiting confirmation from the Department of Justice (DoJ) on whether private medical insurance purchased in your home country which includes international cover will be acceptable, and we will update this section as soon as this is confirmed.

Private medical insurance is also recommended for your personal welfare. Your insurance policy should provide for accident and/or disease and should cover you for any period of hospitalisation. Please note that it is each student's responsibility to compare the available insurance options to ascertain which one(s) are best suited to their personal needs.

The following health insurance providers offer a variety of health insurance policies and will be happy to discuss a plan to cover your immigration and personal health insurance needs:

Irish Life Health
Tel: +353 1 890 717 717

Laya Healthcare
Tel: +353 21 202 2000

Voluntary Health Insurance (VHI)
Tel: +353 1 890 44 44 44

Study and Protect
Tel: +353 1 639 5800

You can access an independent price and plan comparison tool here. A reduced annual premium may be obtained by joining a student scheme.

Study and Protect operates Medicover for overseas students and offers the most competitive rates.

Further information on securing private medical insurance is available in the 'Non EU' section of the RCS Eye offer-holder website.

*EEA – European Economic Area comprising of European Union (EU) member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

We have received the following information from the main private medical insurance providers in Ireland regarding purchasing an insurance policy before you arrive in Ireland (only required for Long Stay Study Visa purposes):

  • VHI: Students can purchase an insurance policy (online or by phone) while they are still in their home country, but will need to confirm their arrival date and provide proof that they have a flight booked to Ireland.
  • Irish Life: Students can purchase an insurance policy (online or by phone) a maximum of 30 days before they arrive in Ireland and must provide proof that they have a flight booked to Ireland. The policy will not begin until the student arrives in Ireland.
  • Laya Healthcare: Students can purchase an insurance policy (online or by phone) a maximum of 30 days before they arrive in Ireland and must provide proof that they have a flight booked to Ireland, as well as provide an Irish postal address that can be attached to the policy.
  • Study and Protect: Students can purchase a policy at any time but the purchase can only be made online at

There are strict rules and regulations in place for opening new bank accounts in Ireland. New international students will need to:

  • Make an appointment with the bank beforehand, i.e. no walk in service is available
  • Complete Registration Day at RCSI and 
  • Complete their post-arrival quarantine period.  

Banking costs vary and many banks offer special student rates or even 'free banking' so it is well worth shopping around before opening an account. However, the banks that are familiar with RCSI students and where most RCSI students choose to bank are:

  • Allied Irish Bank (AIB), Baggot Street branch
  • Bank of Ireland, St Stephens’s Green branch

An information sheet on both banks is available on the RCS Eye website.

To open a new bank account, you must:

  • Make an appointment with the bank
  • Fill in the required application form
  • Present your passport
  • Present the Registration (TWIC) letter from RCSI which must include the address at which you will be living for the academic year (banks will NOT open bank accounts if you cannot provide proof of residence in Ireland)
  • Provide your student number (available on your RCSI student card)

If a landlord is looking for your Irish bank account details and you are not in a position to open an account until after completion of your post-arrival quarantine period, please inform the Student Services Office ( and we will provide you with a Pre-Registration letter (via email), confirming that you are a newly-arrived RCSI student required to undertake a period of quarantine on arrival into the country.

Please do not visit the Student Services Office or the bank during your post-arrival quarantine period.

Please be reminded that your local ATM/debit and credit cards will operate in Ireland without the need to have an Irish bank account during your post-arrival quarantine period. Students who have difficulty obtaining euro currency in their home country should buy UK Sterling or US Dollars, which can be changed into Euro at a bank or bureau de change on arrival in Dublin.

Police clearance, or 'Garda vetting' is required as part of your clinical teaching and is a standard protocol for all individuals working and training in the healthcare sector.

You do not need to complete police clearance in advance of Registration Day at RCSI.

This process will be organised by RCSI's Student Academic and Regulatory Affairs (SARA) office after Registration Day and during your first year on the programme. You will be required to complete a form outlining all of the permanent addresses that you have lived at from birth up to your current address in Dublin.

Your own personal mobile/cell phone may operate in Ireland so it is essential that you check with your local service provider. You may, however, want to buy a new mobile phone or SIM card when you arrive in Ireland. Mobile phones and SIM cards can be purchased from a variety of shops located around the city and prices generally start at €20.

When purchasing a new mobile phone and/or SIM card, you should compare the cost of a 'pay as you go' mobile phone and a phone with a monthly bill. There are several mobile phone companies in Ireland, including Vodafone, 3, Tesco Mobile and Eir. Each company has outlets on Grafton Street, which is located close to the RCSI campus.

Credit for mobile phones can be purchased in local newsagents. Once you open a bank account you can also buy mobile phone credit at an ATM. Most mobile phone provider websites provide information about mobile phone prices and call rates, so you can get an idea of which phone would suit you best. Phones can be purchased online and each website gives a store locator. You can also purchase phones and/or compare phone and plan prices at the Carphone Warehouse store on Grafton Street, close to campus.

The first week of semester one is known as Orientation or Freshers’ Week.

The aim of the week is to welcome all new students and assist with the settling-in process. This year, as a result of COVID-19, Orientation/Freshers' Week activities, including the White Coat Ceremony, will take place online.

For more details on this year’s orientation programme, please see the admissions-related enquiries information.

Non-EU students registered in RCSI's Medicine, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy programmes are entitled to take up casual employment (defined as up to 20 hours part-time work per week, or full-time work during normal university vacation periods).

If you choose to work you will need a social security number, known as a Personal Public Service (PPS) number. More information on securing a PPS number is on page 52 of the Student Handbook, available below.

Student Handbook 2021 PDF | 15506.2 KB

Although RCSI does not offer meal plans, we have a number of restaurants and cafes on-campus which serve a wide selection of freshly-made food and drinks, including vegetarian and halal-friendly options.

There is a wide choice of food shops and restaurants nearby, catering to all tastes and budgets. As the number and variety of overseas nationals has grown in recent years, so too has the diversity of food and ingredients. Students should therefore have no difficulty satisfying special religious or dietary requirements.

An array of supermarkets, located close to the college and your on-campus accommodation, cater for all food tastes at reasonable prices and remove the need for on-campus meal plans.

More information on where to shop, where to eat and how to budget will be available in our Pre-arrival information booklet #3, later this summer.

The cost of living in Dublin will vary from student to student. Please see below for an estimate, but bear in mind that these are estimates only and that each individual will have their own financial needs based on their lifestyle and circumstances.

Monthly budget estimate:

  • Accommodation: €700–€1,600 (depending on type of accommodation)
  • Utility bills (electricity, gas, refuse): €50
  • Transport: €120
  • Books and course materials: €30
  • Clothes: €50
  • Mobile phone (plans start at): €20
  • Social life: €130
  • Groceries: €200
  • Takeaways: €50

Estimated total: €1,350 upwards (depending largely on your accommodation choice).

More information on the cost of living in Dublin is on pages 45–46 of the Student Handbook, available below.

Student Handbook 2021 PDF | 15506.2 KB