PPS numbers for returning Irish emigrants and their families
What is a PPS number (PPSN)?
When you return to Ireland, you will need a Personal Public Service (PPS) number to access social welfare benefits and public services in Ireland.
A PPS number is a unique reference number that lets you:
- Register with Revenue for tax (if you are working in Ireland)
- Apply for a social welfare payment (including Child Benefit)
- Apply for a driving licence
A PPS number is always 7 numbers followed by either one or 2 letters.
Do I have a PPS number already?
If you are returning home to Ireland, you may already have a PPS number.
You already have a PPS number if you:
- Were born in Ireland from 1971 onwards
- Started work in Ireland after April 1979
- Are getting an Irish social welfare payment
If you already have a PPS number, you do not need to apply for a new one.
Where can I find my PPS number?
Your PPS number is 7 numbers followed by either one or 2 letters.
You can find your PPS number on your:
I lost my PPS number
If you cannot find your PPS number, contact Client Identity Services in the Department of Social Protection. You can:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone +353 (0) 71 967 2616, if calling from outside Ireland
- Phone 0818 927 999, if calling from within Ireland
Apply for a PPS number as an adult
Before you apply for a PPS number, check if you already have one (see ‘Do I have a PPS number already?’ above).
When you apply for a PPS number, you must show:
- Proof of why you need a PPS number, for example, because you are starting a new job and need to register for tax with Revenue, or because you need to apply for a social welfare payment.
- Proof of your identity, including your birth certificate and photo ID. Read more about what is accepted as proof of identity to get a PPS number on Gov.ie.
- Proof of your address, such as a utility bill or bank statement. As you are returning home from abroad, you may not have a utility bill with your name on it. In this case, the Department of Social Protection will accept non-standard proof of address. For example, if you are living temporarily with friends or family, you can ask the named bill payer to write on their addressed utility bill to confirm you are staying at their address. You can also ask the manager of a hotel or hostel to confirm you are staying with them.
How to apply
There is a service that lets people apply for a PPS number when they live outside Ireland, in order to engage with a specified body in Ireland (for example, the Probate Office), but this service is not available to people relocating to Ireland.
Read more about applying for a PPS number.
Apply for a PPS number for a child who was born abroad
If you are returning home to Ireland with a child who was born abroad, you may need a PPS number for that child.
You can't apply for your children's PPS numbers until you are back in Ireland. However, you can download and complete the application form for a child's PPS number (REG1M) (pdf) so that it's ready to submit to your nearest PPS Number Allocation Centre when you arrive.
You'll need to complete a separate form for each child.
You need proof of:
- Your own identity
- The child’s identity
- The reason they need a PPS number (for example, to access medical services)
- Your relationship with the child
- Your address. If you are living temporarily with friends or family, you can ask the named bill payer to write on their addressed utility bill to confirm you are staying at their address. You can also ask the manager of a hotel or hostel to confirm you are staying with them.
The Department of Social Protection may contact you to confirm your relationship with the child.
Read more about getting a PPS number for a child.
Read our page about Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers.
You can contact Client Identity Services in the Department of Social Protection if you need help finding your lost PPS number, and to submit your application for a new PPS number: