Health Insurance


All students should have health insurance cover. This may be provided by your government through the public healthcare system or alternatively through private medical insurance. In the case of visa requiring students it is mandatory before a visa will be issued. Please review details below to learn about your health insurance requirements and options.

Health Insurance | ICOS (

Non-EU Students

*******IMPORTANT NOTICE- 29th September 2020*******

As a result of a high court ruling brought by the Health Insurance Authority all non-EU students intending to study for more than 12 months in Ireland will be considered 'ordinarily resident'. 

What does this mean?

Unfortunately, the previously available discounted student plans are no longer available to those students.  You must have a health insurance plan purchased in Ireland to satisfy immigration requirements and HIA (Health Insurance Authority) legislation.

Can this be reversed?

Various bodies are currently lobbying to reverse this ruling.  Minister of State at the Department of Health, Mary Butler TD, was present representing the Government and a number of AAIIS stakeholders Senator Malcolm Byrne, Senator Martin Conway and Senator Paul Gavan, all raised the matter of International Student Health Insurance with the Minister.  The Minister reaffirmed what we learned from Senator Malcolm Byrne’s commencement order, this is a matter that now rests firmly with the Department of Justice. 

The official line from the Government is they hope to have a “positive update” in the new year with a view to resolving the matter, while noting the work going on in the background between officials in the Department of Health and the Department of Justice.  Minister Butler also promised to keep the Senators appraised of developments on the issue in the meantime.


Study period less than 12 months

All non-EU students must have private health insurance for immigration purposes.  This must cover you from the date you arrive to Ireland until the date you leave.  Alternatively, you must produce a travel insurance policy that covers you from the date you arrive until the date you start college (i.e. start date of medical insurance policy). 

Immigration will only grant permission to reside in Ireland if you can produce private health insurance policy documentation.

You will need to arrange the health insurance yourself but UCC have agreed a special rate with Study and Protect for any student studying in Ireland for less than 12 months.  It is a minimal cost of between €150 and €180 per year. 

In the case of visa requiring students it is mandatory to submit private health insurance details with the visa application. (The health insurance document must be written in English).

See here for more information regarding the above.

Renewal of Registration

See here for more information regarding the above.

UK Citizens

UK citizens have the same rights as an Irish citizen if you are ordinarily resident.  This means that you are here to study a course of more than 12 months duration. 

If you are here as a visiting student for one semester or one year only, the UK government will pay for your healthcare. 

See here for more information. 

*Updated 12 August 2022*

Visiting EU Students

Visiting European students are expected to have their European Health Insurance Card, which is issued in their home country, prior to departure and before arrival in Ireland.

While EU students can avail of the public health service all students are advised that it is highly desirable to have cover for private medical care. Such cover would ensure that a student has choice of doctor, choice of hospital and choice of hospital accommodation in the event of illness.

All Students

Students are advised that in addition to medical insurance being a visa and immigration requirement the cost of Healthcare in Ireland is high. A one night stay in hospital can cost in excess of €1200. Therefore we would recommend that all students carry medical insurance in case they are taken ill or are involved in an accident whilst studying with us.  

Students often wonder why private health insurance is necessary given that UCC has a Student Health Department.  You need private medical insurance to cover any emergency situation where you might need to be hospitalised or access to private consultations.

Options for Private Health Insurance

A. Obtain health cover from home country. Please ensure that it is valid in Ireland. Please note that in cases where there is a high deductible (excess) it may be less expensive to purchase health insurance in Ireland.

B. Obtain private health insurance from providers operating in the Irish Market.

C. Some students have also availed of the services of Bupa Global.  Details are available at


Irish Health Insurance Companies:

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The most competitively priced insurance policy available is the Medicover Standard Medical Expenses policy underwritten by Chubb at €160 for cover for a year.  This is available for students intending to study in Ireland for less than 12 months.

Already a policy holder? Contact their concierge service with your policy questions on 083 378 8214.

VHI Healthcare


UCC Students may purchase private health insurance from VHI by going to: UCC Student VHI

In the case of international students the University has an agreement with VHI under scheme 33/2793 which enables you to avail of a group plan. Please indicate that you are a student at University College Cork.

Laya Healthcare

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Please check when cover commences what exactly is covered in the policy. Give consideration to repatriation.

International Office

Oifig Idirnáisiúnta

Roseleigh, Western Road, Cork, T12 R229

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