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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. State agencies that use PPS Numbers to identify individuals include the Department of Social Protection, the Revenue Commissioners and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

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.

Changes to PPS Numbers in 2013

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) is extending the current stock of PPS Numbers from January 2013. The extension was necessary because of the exhaustion of the remaining stock of usable numbers.

The format of the new numbers will be 9 characters: 7 numbers followed by 2 letters. For individuals, the second letter in the new PPS Number will be 'A' (for example, 1234567FA) and for non-individual cases, such as limited companies, trusts, partnerships and unincorporated bodies, it will be 'H' (for example, 1234567WH).

The DSP started issuing the new format PPS Numbers (for individuals) in the first quarter of 2013. Before then they continued to issue old format numbers from the remaining stock of old numbers.

All companies, trusts, partnerships and unincorporated bodies newly registered after 1 January 2013 will be assigned the new format number.

Existing PPS Numbers and Tax Registration numbers will remain unchanged and will continue to be valid.

Using the PPS 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 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 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 Personal Public Service 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 Joint 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 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 just 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 must inform Revenue of your new PPS Number using Form 12A (pdf).

I'm moving to Ireland soon - how do I get a PPS 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. 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 Registration Service for non-resident applicants who cannot attend at a designated PPS Registration Centre and who need a PPS Number for a transaction with a specified body.

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.


To get a PPS Number, you will need to fill out an application form and provide proof of your identity.

If you are an Irish citizen born in Ireland, you will need to produce the following documents:


  • Photographic ID, such as your passport or driving licence


  • Evidence of your address, such as a household bill (electricity, telephone, gas, etc.) in your name.

If you are an Irish Citizen via naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration you will need to produce the following documents:

  • Your current passport or Certificate of Naturalisation


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


  • Evidence of your address, such as a household bill in your name.

If you are a UK citizen, you will need to produce the following documents:

  • Current passport


  • Your birth certificate showing your mother’s birth name or adoption certificate and current driving licence


  • Evidence of your address, such as a household bill in your name.

If you are not Irish, you will need to produce the following documents:

  • EU/EEA citizen - Your passport or national identity card
  • Non EU/EEA citizen - Your passport


  • Evidence of your address, such as a household bill in your name.

Child applications

Children born in Ireland are usually given a 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/guardian should provide evidence of his/her own identity, address and evidence of the date of birth of the child, for example, the child's own passport or child's entry on the parent's passport. If the child was born in the United Kingdom a birth certificate may also be used as evidence of the date of birth.

PPS 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 PPS Number. You can find a list of the social welfare local offices that can register Personal Public Service Numbers on the Department of Social Protection's website.

If you do not know your PPS Number, contact your Intreo Centre or social welfare local 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.

Page updated: 23 January 2014



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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.