Public Services Card
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. 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.
It is now being rolled out to other public services (pdf). For example, all first-time passport applicants aged 18 and above who are resident in Ireland need to have a Public Services Card. This 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. All applicants for a certificate of naturalisation aged 18 or over who are resident in the State must have a Public Services Card. Since June 2017, you need to have a Public Services Card if you are sitting the Driver Theory Test.
If you don’t yet have a Public Services Card you can make an appointment to get one either by using MyWelfare.ie or by calling into your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office (see below).
What information does this card display?
The front of the card holds your name, photograph and signature, along with the card expiry date. The back of the card holds your 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 you are 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.
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 Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. 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 mobile phone. Having your mobile phone with you means that your number can be verified by the Department. You will need phone verification to access public services online. 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 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 born in Northern Ireland and UK citizens||Current passport, or your birth or adoption certificate and current driving licence*|
|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.|
|EU citizens (other than Irish and UK)||Current passport or national identity card|
|Non-EU citizens||Current passport or 1951 travel document|
*If you are an Irish or UK citizen and do not have a passport or driving licence as identification, you may still be issued with a Public Services Card. Additional information which can be verified to confirm your identity may be gathered at your appointment interview.
For Irish citizens born in 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.
You can read more about Public Service Identity on welfare.ie.
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
- Confirmation of address by a third party such as a school principal/administrator, accommodation/property owner*or manager.
*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*.
*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.
Changing your name on your Public Services Card
Change of name by use and repute
To change the name on your PSC, you must show 2 years' usage of your new name. To do this, you must submit at least 2 of the following documents, dating back for at least 2 years:
- Official communication with a government department
- Educational certificate
- Bank statement or card
- Utility bill
- Student or employee identification card (or similar)
Following marriage or civil partnership
To change your name on your Public Services Card following a marriage or civil partnership, you must submit:
- Photo ID in your pre-marriage/civil partnership name (for example PSC, passport or driving licence), and
- Your marriage or civil partnership certificate.
Returning to your pre-marriage or pre-civil partnership name
To change your name on your Public Services Card back to your pre-marriage or pre-civil partnership name, you must submit:
- Divorce, dissolution or legal separation agreement documents, or
- Correspondence from a solicitor showing that a separation, divorce or dissolution has been initiated.
Name changed by deed poll
If you have changed your name by deed poll, you must submit a deed poll registered with the Irish High Court.
Where to apply
Department of Social Protection customers may be invited to attend for Public Services Card registration.
You can also contact your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office to arrange an appointment or make an appointment online.
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).
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 Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Tel: (071) 967 2616 (If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call +353 71 967 2616)
Locall: 1890 927 999 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)