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Public Services Card

Introduction

The Public Services Card (PSC) helps you to access a range of public services easily. Your identity is fully authenticated when it is issued so you do not have to give the same information to multiple organisations. It was first introduced in 2012 and was initially rolled out to people getting social welfare payments. It is now being rolled out to other public services.

A Public Services Card is usually issued when you are allocated a PPS number. If you apply for, or are currently getting a social welfare payment (including Child Benefit) you will be asked to register for your Public Services Card. All first-time passport applicants aged 18 and above who are resident in Ireland need to have a Public Services Card. This new requirement also applies to a small number of adult passport applicants whose last passport was issued before 1 January 2005 and has since been reported lost, stolen or damaged. From 19 September 2016 all applicants for a certificate of naturalisation aged 18 or over who are resident in the State must have a Public Services Card.

If you don’t yet have a Public Services Card you can make an appointment to get one either by registering with MyWelfare.ie to make an appointment online or by calling into your local Intreo Centre or social welfare local office (see below).

What information does this card display?

The front of the card holds a person’s name, photograph and signature, along with the card expiry date. The back of the card holds the person’s PPS number and a card number. It also holds a magnetic stripe to enable social welfare payments such as pensions to be collected at post offices

If the person holding the card is entitled to free travel the card will also display this information in the top left-hand corner. If FT-P is written on the card the holder is personally entitled to free travel. If FT+S is written on the card the holder can travel with their spouse, partner or cohabitant. If FT+C is written on the card the holder can have a companion (over 16) travel with them for free (because they are unable to travel alone for medical reasons).

Registering for a Public Services Card

Face-to-face registration for a Public Services Card is called SAFE (Standard Authentication Framework Environment) registration.

The Department of Social Protection will send you a letter with your SAFE registration appointment. SAFE registration takes about 15 minutes to complete and usually takes place in your local social welfare office or Intreo centre. It is important that you attend for your appointment. It will help to avoid any potential difficulty with access to social welfare payments in the future. During this appointment your photograph will be taken and your signature recorded for your new Public Services Card, which will be posted to your home address. You will also be asked for the answers to some security questions.

You must bring certain documents with you to your appointment to prove your identity and address. You should also bring the letter you got confirming your appointment and, if you have one, your phone. If you currently have a Social Services Card (a swipe card used to collect social welfare payments), bring that with you too.

You must prove your identify to receive a social welfare payment or benefit. If you comply with the SAFE registration process when requested you are considered to have authenticated your identity. If you do not comply with the SAFE registration process your social welfare payments (including Child Benefit) and/or your social welfare entitlements (such as Free Travel) may be suspended.

Documents to bring to your SAFE registration appointment

1.Evidence of identity:

Irish citizens born in the Republic of Ireland Current Irish passport or current Irish or UK driving licence or Irish learner driver permit. If you are adopted, please bring your adoption certificate with you.
Irish citizens via naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration Current Irish passport or Certificate of Naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration certificate and Irish or UK driving licence or Irish learner driver permit.

Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland and UK citizens Current passport, or your birth 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 or 1951 travel document

For Irish citizens born in the Republic of Ireland, birth details can be verified online in most cases with the General Register Office. However, in some cases, it is not possible to locate the birth registration, so the person will need to return with a copy of his/her birth certificate.

If you wish to get a copy of your Irish birth certificate for SAFE registration purposes, you can get it from the Registrar at a reduced rate when you show your SAFE invitation letter.

The Department does not have access to the adoption register, so adopted people should bring their adoption certificate with them when attending their appointment.

2. Evidence of address (applies to everyone, whether an Irish, EU or non-EU citizen):

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,
  • Verifiable employer's letter*
  • Confirmation of address by a third party such as a school principal/administrator, accommodation/property owner**or manager.

*Your employer does not need to own or provide the accommodation.

**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.

3. Additional helpful documents

If you have any of the items listed below, you should bring them along with you as they may also help to confirm your identity. If you do not have any of these, you should bring other documents or forms of photo ID instead*.

  • Irish Free Travel Pass
  • Medical card issued under the General Medical Service
  • European health insurance card
  • Credit/debit card
  • Student card

*The following items are not acceptable as proof of identity for the purpose of SAFE registration: Baptismal certificate, work ID card, Garda form ML-10, Garda age card, photocopied certificates or documents and expired documents generally.

Lost or damaged Public Services Cards

If your Public Services Card is lost, stolen or damaged, you should immediately contact the Public Services Card Helpdesk at 1890 837000.

Where to apply

Department of Social Protection customers may be invited to attend for Public Services Card registration.

You can also contact your local Social Welfare office or Intreo centre to arrange an appointment or make an appointment online.

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 MyWelfare.ie.

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 Public Service Card registration centres on welfare.ie.

Questions

If you have general questions about the card or the registration process you can use the Department of Social Protection’s online query form or contact:

Client Identity Services

Department of Social Protection
Shannon Lodge
Carrick-On-Shannon
Co. Leitrim

Locall:1890 927 999

Page edited: 30 September 2016

Language

Gaeilge

Related Documents

  • Personal Public Service Number
    Your Personal Public Service Number (PPS number) is a unique reference number that helps to you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland.
  • Applying for an Irish Passport
    Application procedures involved in getting your first Irish Passport, including for those living outside Ireland.
  • Renewing an Irish Passport
    Application procedures involved in renewing an Irish Passport, including for those living outside Ireland.

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.