If you are thinking of coming to Ireland to live, work, study or retire, it is important for you to be aware of the social security system in Ireland. There may be some significant differences between the system in Ireland and your home country so it will be worthwhile to familiarise yourself with the system in advance.
If you have come from a country covered by EU Regulations or Bilateral Social Security Agreements, your pension rights from the other country are protected when you move to Ireland. You may be able to combine your insurance records from Ireland and another country in order to qualify for a pension or social insurance payment.
Applying for a UK or other EEA pension: if you are resident in Ireland but you have never worked in Ireland you can apply for your contributory pension either to the country where you last worked, for example, the UK, or to the Department of Social Protection - see 'How to apply' below.
Many UK benefits including national insurance pensions can continue to be paid to you by the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you move from the UK to Ireland. You should always ask in advance if you can transfer your existing UK benefits outside the UK by contacting the DWP's International Pension Centre - see 'Where to apply' below.
If you do not have enough social insurance contributions from another country and/or Ireland, you may qualify for an assistance-based payment that is relevant to your circumstances. Assistance-based payments do not relate to your social insurance record. Instead, the Department of Social Protection (which is responsible for the administration of the social security system in Ireland) examines all your sources of income. If your income is below a certain amount, you may qualify for a payment appropriate to your needs. There are also residency requirements for social assistance payments in Ireland.
If you are coming from a country covered by EU Regulations (an EU/EEA country), you should bring forms U1 (formerly E301) and E104 with you. These forms are available at the relevant social security agency in the country you are coming from and provide details of your social insurance record.
When you come to Ireland, you will need a PPS Number (Personal Public Service Number). This number is a unique personal identification number that is essential for applying for State benefits and services in Ireland. You can find out about claiming a Irish social welfare payment.
Applying for a UK or other EEA pension
If you are resident in Ireland but you have never worked in Ireland you can apply for your contributory pension in Ireland or to the country where you last worked and paid social insurance.
If you are applying in Ireland you must complete the application form EU65 (pdf) and send it with the relevant documents such as birth and marriage certificates to the State Pension Contributory Section of the Department of Social Protection - see 'Where to apply' below. Your application will be then sent to the International Pension Centre in the UK or to the appropriate EEA authority.
If you are applying to the UK for your UK State pension and you have not been sent an application form, you should contact the International Pension Centre - see 'Where to apply' below.
Social Welfare Services
Opening Hours:This office does not offer a service to personal callers. All queries must be made using the online enquiry form, by telephone or in writing.
Tel:(071) 915 7100
Locall:1890 500 000
Department for Work and Pensions
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Tel:+44 191 218 7777
Fax:+44 191 218 7381
The International Pension Centre can also be contacted through their online form: https://secureonline.dwp.gov.uk/tps-directgov/en/contact-tps/ipc.asp
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.