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Prior to moving back to Ireland, prepare a file of documents related to your or your child’s educational history. These can prove helpful upon arrival in Ireland when enrolling in school and ensure that your or your child’s unique needs are met. Some documents to gather include:

  • School reports
  • Reference letters from teachers and/or principals
  • Course outlines (including titles of textbooks used)
  • Exam results
  • Examples of classroom work
  • Medical and immunisation records


If your children are of primary or secondary school age, research the Irish education system. The Citizens Information website offers a comprehensive overview of the Irish education system to get you started.

We recommend beginning the application process for school places well in advance of your return, noting that the school year in Ireland starts in late August/early September and runs until June (secondary) or July (primary). Research and find schools on the Department of Education’s website. The website’s ‘Find a School’ feature is a map-based application that allows you to find schools in an area near you and see information about the school(s), including school inspection reports.

Irish Language Exemption

Although the Irish language is a core subject in Ireland, students educated abroad or those with learning needs may be eligible for exemptions. An application for an exemption is made to the school principal upon enrolment, but often supporting documentation is required so it is best to gather this in advance. Learn more here.

Third-Level Education (College, Institute of Technology, University)

There are a variety of third-level education options available in Ireland upon your return. For a detailed overview of the Irish system and necessary qualifications, visit the Citizens Information website.

Fees for third level education vary by course and educational institution. Generally, to avail of free fees or student grants for college, students must have been living in Ireland, EU, EEA, UK, or Switzerland for three of the last five years. See the SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) website for further details on available financial supports and eligibility requirements.

Children of Irish emigrants who have spent at least five years in school (primary or secondary) in Ireland may be eligible for the European Union (EU) rate of fees for undergraduate study in Ireland. See the Department of Education website at or contact the relevant higher education institution for more information.

Page last updated on 12 September, 2023

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