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Personal Public Service Number


Your Personal Public Service Number (PPS number) is a unique reference number that helps you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland.

Before you can be allocated a PPS number, you must show that you need one for a transaction with a specified body. For example, if you are taking up employment, you need a PPS number to register with the Revenue Commissioners. However, looking for work is not a transaction with a specified body and employers should not look for your PPS number when recruiting. An employer should only seek a PPS number if you are actually taking up employment with the organisation.

You can find a list of State agencies that use PPS numbers to identify individuals on the Department of Social Protection's website.

A PPS number is always 7 numbers followed by either one or two letters.

The PPS number was known as the Revenue and Social Insurance (RSI) number. If your number is the same as your spouse's number but your number has a W at the end, you may need a new PPS number - see 'Phasing out of W numbers' below for more information.

Using the Personal Public Service Number

You can use your PPS number for:

A PPS number has already been issued to you if:

  • You were born in Ireland in or after 1971
  • You started work in Ireland after 1979
  • You are getting a social welfare payment
  • You are taking part in the Drugs Payment Scheme

PPS numbers are printed on the following documents:

  • Public Services Card
  • Social Services Card
  • Drugs Payment Scheme Card
  • Medical Card
  • GP visit card
  • European Health Insurance Card
  • P60 (the annual statement of pay, tax and social insurance contributions from your employer)
  • P45 (the statement of tax and pay to date issued by your employer when you leave employment)
  • Tax Assessment
  • PAYE Notice of Tax Credits
  • Temporary Payment Card

Phasing out of W numbers

Before 2000 when some women got married they had to use the same PPS number as their husband, but with a W at the end of the number. This W number was issued by Revenue to identify spouses in a jointly assessed relationship. The W number was linked to the PPS number of the assessable spouse (which is the term used in Revenue for the spouse who is charged tax on the income of both spouses).

These numbers are being slowly phased out and W numbers have not been issued since 1999.

If your PPS number is the same as your husband’s PPS number but the last letter is W, you must get a new PPS number in these circumstances:

  • If your spouse is deceased
  • If you are divorced or separated
  • If you were issued with a Social Insurance number before 1979

If you have a PPS number ending with W and you cannot access the Local Property Tax online system using this number you may need to request a new number.

If you were issued a PPS number after 1979 and before you married, the Department may re-issue you with your original number on request.

If you are changing your W number for a new PPS number you do not need to go through the same application process as everyone else. To get your new number or to be re-instated with your old number contact the Client Identity Section in the Department of Social Protection. The phone number is 1890 927 999 or (071) 967 2616.

When you get your new number from the Department of Social Protection you should inform any organisations that may hold your old number. For example, your employer, your bank, the National Driver Licence Service, the HSE and Revenue – you can inform Revenue using the Revenue’s online Jobs and Pension Service or contact your local tax office.

I'm moving to Ireland soon - how do I get a Personal Public Service Number?

You cannot apply for a PPS number before you arrrive in Ireland. You must be living in Ireland to apply for a PPS number. Before you can be allocated a PPS number, you must show that one is required for a transaction with a specified body.

You will be asked to produce documentary evidence of identity and residence in Ireland. Different documentary evidence will be required, depending on your nationality. A complete list of documents required as evidence of your identity is available.

I am not resident in Ireland but I need a PPS number - how do I get it?

In some cases people who are not resident in Ireland may need a PPS number. For example, someone who is a beneficiary under an Irish will may need to supply a PPS number before a grant of probate can issue.

The Department of Social Protection's Client Identity Services (CIS) provide a service for non-resident applicants who cannot attend at a designated PPS Registration Centre and who need a PPS number. If you want to use this service, you must show documentary evidence that you need a PPS number for a transaction with a specified body. You cannot use this exceptional application process if you are living in or intend to relocate to Ireland for any period of time. Audits of PPS applications are carried out periodically and you may be asked for additional information.

If you are living in Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom and are working in the Republic of Ireland (a frontier worker) you apply for a PPS number in the normal way at a designated PPS Registration Centre.

I need a PPS number for a deceased person - how do I get this?

Occasionally a PPS number may be required for a deceased person, usually when dealing with grant of probate.

In such cases, you should send a copy of the death certificate and details about why the PPS number is required to the Department of Social Protection's Client Identity Services - the address is below.


To get a PPS number, you will need to fill out an application form in the PPS number centre, provide evidence of your identity and evidence of why you need a PPS number allocated. You must also provide proof of your address.

Evidence of your identity

If you are: You will need to produce the following as evidence of your identity:
An Irish citizen born in the Republic of Ireland


  • Photographic ID, such as your passport or driving licence
An Irish citizen via naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration
  • Your current passport or Certificate of Naturalisation


  • Your Foreign Birth Registration certificate and Irish or UK driving licence or Irish learner driving permit

An Irish citizen born in Northern Ireland or a UK citizen
  • Current passport


  • Your birth certificate showing your mother’s birth name or adoption certificate and current driving licence
EU citizens (other than Irish and UK) Current passport or national identity card
Non-EU citizens Current passport

Evidence of your address

You need to show evidence of your address. You can use any of the following documents to do this (it must show your name and address):

  • A household utility bill
  • An official letter/document
  • A financial statement
  • Property lease or tenancy agreement
  • Confirmation of address by a third party such as a hotel/hostel administrator or manager, school principal/administrator or accommodation/property owner*.

*If you are staying with friends or relatives, an original household bill plus a note from the bill holder confirming your residency at the bill address is acceptable. This note can be written on the bill itself.

Child applications

Children born in Ireland are usually given a Personal Public Service Number (PPS number) when their birth is registered with the General Register Office (GRO). This means you do not need to apply for a PPS number for an Irish-born child.

However a PPS number is not automatically allocated if both parents' addresses are outside of the State. If you need a PPS number in such a case then you must apply at a PPS number allocation centre.

PPS numbers for children living in, but not born in Ireland, must be applied for by the parent/guardian. One of the parents/guardians must have a PPS number for the child to be registered and linked with their data.

The parent, foster parent, guardian, or school representative should attend with the child, and provide evidence of his/her own identity, the identity of the child, evidence of the requirement for a PPS number, and evidence of the relationship between the parent/guardian and the child. Evidence of address should also be provided. The Department of Social Protection may make further enquiries where it is considered necessary to confirm the relationship between the child and the person requesting a PPS number.

A person aged less than 16 years is considered to be a child for PPS number allocation purposes.

PPS number fraud control

The Department of Social Protection monitors identity fraud issues, helps to draw up procedures for processing applications and investigates suspect documents. Staff in social welfare offices are required to check the authenticity of supporting documents and refer doubtful cases for checking by document fraud experts.

How to apply

Only the Department of Social Protection can provide you with a Personal Public Service Number (PPS number) . You can find a list of PPS registration centres on the Department of Social Protection's website. You should attend your nearest PPS registration centre. Please note that some centres operate an appointment only system. You should contact the registration centre to check if an appointment is required. A Public Services Card is usually issued when you are allocated a PPS number. This means that you will also have your photograph taken when you attend a centre for registration of a new PPS number. It will take approximately 4-5 days for notification of your PPS number to arrive after your appointment.

Online appointments

If you want to get a PPS number or to be registered for a Public Services Card, you can now make an appointment online at

You will first need to register with the site. To do this you need a mobile phone number and two email addresses (a main address and an alternate address).

When you have made your appointment, print the notification and bring it to your appointment along with the required documents (listed in the notification).

You can access a list of PPS online registration centres on

If you do not know your PPS number, contact your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and staff there can find your number for you.

If you are unsure as to whether a particular organisation, person or agent is entitled to request or use your PPS number, you should contact Client Identity Services in the Department of Social Protection. You can contact Client Identity Services using the secure online request form or by phone at 1890 927 999 or (071) 967 2616.

Change of address

If you change your address you should write to the Department of Social Protection at the address below giving your name, PPS number, old and new address and evidence of your new address such as a utility bill. The Department will then update your record.

Client Identity Services

Department of Social Protection
Shannon Lodge
Co. Leitrim

Locall:1890 927 999

Page edited: 13 July 2017



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Contact Us

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.