Irish universities provide free “greet and transfer” service for arriving international students

The national service began at Dublin airport this month

Irish higher education institutions (HEIs) are providing a free “greet and transfer” service at Dublin airport for international students arriving for the upcoming semester.

Announced by the Irish Universities Association (IUA), the service began at Dublin airport on August 1 and is provided by Club Travel, a travel management company contracted by the HEIs. 

At “greet and transfer” desks in the arrival halls, international students will be greeted by welcome teams who will coordinate their transport from the airport.

International students are instructed to pre-book the free service seven days before arrival. A student’s HEI directly issues the booking form. An arrivals form for students of Trinity College is available on the website.  

The service is available to both new and continuing international students traveling to Ireland for this academic year. 

A bus service from Dublin airport was provided for all international students last year. However, the safety of the service was questioned after students arriving from different countries and travelling to different universities were allocated to travel on the the same buses. 

The announcement follows the Plan for a safe return to on-site further and higher education and research (Safe Return Plan) published by the Department of Further and Higher Education on June 15, and the HEIs’ joint confirmation in August that they would adopt the plan. 

HEIs have also committed to develop a specific joint protocol for the arrival of international students and researchers “to be managed in a safe manner in accordance with the most up-to-date public health advice”. The protocol will include measures to implement specific public health accommodation requirements and the provision of medical and pastoral care services. 

In a video update, Vice-President for Global Relations Professor Juliette Hussey said that “further information and guidelines to support the safe arrival of international students are being finalised and will be available on our arrival website”. 

According to Education in Ireland, a Government agency that promotes HEIs overseas, international students travelling to Ireland should “clearly understand the testing, vaccination, and quarantine requirements” and “comply with international travel requirements”. 

The entry requirements for international arrivals depend on students’ country of departure and vaccination status. 

Students arriving from within the EU or EEA who have a Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) are not required to undergo testing, or to self-quarantine. If EU/EEA students without a DCC provide a negative PCR test, they are not required to undergo further testing or quarantine. EU/EEA arrivals without a DCC and negative PCR test will be required to take Mandatory Hotel Quarantine (MHQ). 

For students arriving from outside the EU/EEA, including their origin of travel and any transit airports en route, entry requirements depend on whether they have departed from or travelled through any designated states in the previous 14 days. Designated states are deemed by the Department of Health for Mandatory Hotel Quarantine, and are subject to change.

Students travelling from or through a non-EU/EEA designated state with proof of recognised vaccination are to provide a negative PCR test. They are also required to self-quarantine and undertake an HSE Covid-19 test at least five days after arrival. Without a negative PCR test, MHQ is required. 

Students travelling from a designated state without proof of recognised vaccination must book MHQ before arrival out of pocket, regardless of a negative test result.

For students travelling from outside the EU/EEA who have not been in any designated states, neither testing nor self-quarantine are required if proof of recognised vaccination is provided. Those without proof of vaccination travelling from the same country must provide a negative PCR test, self-quarantine and undertake an HSE Covid-19 test at least five days after arrival. People travelling from non-EU/EEA countries not on the designated list who cannot provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test are also required to take MHQ. 

Students who are taking up residencies in Trinity-owned accommodation, Kavanagh Court, or Dominick Place are able to complete required post-arrival self-quarantine there, with further information of regulations and supports to follow. 

Students who are staying in other student residencies or private rented accomodation and are required to quarantine, are advised by College to follow government guidelines and enquire with their provider about available supports, such as the provision of meals. 

Last September, students arriving from countries outside of Ireland’s Green List were required to restrict their movements for 14 days. It was reported that regulations were strictly enforced in Trinity-owned accommodation while Kavanagh Court allowed students more freedoms. In addition to paying rent for an additional two weeks, students completing quarantine in Trinity-owned accommodation were charged €350 for a meal service, leading to costs upwards of €694. 

Sarah Emerson

Sarah Emerson is currently a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Sophister English Literature and Jewish and Islamic Civilizations Student.