Returning to Ireland in a crisis


If you return to Ireland in a crisis, there are housing, social welfare and medical supports available. This document has information on these supports.

Emergency accommodation

You should try to arrange somewhere to stay before you return to Ireland. If this is not possible, read the information below.

Returning with nowhere to stay on arrival

If you are homeless when you return to Ireland, you should contact the local authority in the area that you have a local connection to apply for emergency accommodation assistance. As part of the assessment, you must apply for social housing.

In Dublin city, you can call Dublin City Council’s Central Placement Service homeless freephone on 1800 707 707 (2pm to 2am Monday to Friday and 10am to 2am weekends and Bank Holidays). Visit for more information.

There are also day service supports available in urban parts of Ireland such as Dublin and Cork from agencies providing services for homeless people. Many of these services provide showers, lockers and mental health supports.

Homeless abroad

If you are homeless abroad, you should contact the nearest Irish embassy or consulate for local supports. Depending on what country you’re in, there may be Irish support organisations that can help you.

Social welfare assistance

To apply for a social welfare payment without an Irish address, you will need to show that you are engaging with your local authority for emergency accommodation assistance. You will need a PPS number.

If you are homeless in Dublin, you should contact the Homeless Persons Unit on 1800 724 724 to apply for a social welfare payment.

If you are homeless and outside Dublin, you should contact the local authority for details of where to apply for a social welfare payment.

Applying for a social welfare payment can take time and you must satisfy the relevant conditions to qualify. You may need to show that Ireland is your main place of residence as part of the habitual residence condition, and satisfy a means test.

Read more information on accessing the Irish social welfare system as a returning Irish emigrant, and satisfying the habitual residence condition as a returning Irish emigrant.

Emergency medical needs

If you need emergency medical help, go to the accident and emergency department in the nearest hospital or call 999 or 112 free of charge. For more information, please read emergency health services in Ireland.

You can access the public healthcare system as a returning Irish emigrant if you:

  • have been living in Ireland for at least a year, or
  • intend to live here for at least one year

When you are either of these, you are considered ordinarily resident in Ireland.

Returning to Ireland after release from prison or being deported

Contact the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) before you are released and return to Ireland. The ICPO is a charitable organisation that supports Irish prisoners in prison overseas and when they return.

If you are in a prison overseas and wish to apply to transfer to a prison in Ireland, read the ICPO’s information on repatriation.

Crosscare Migrant Project and the ICPO have a step-by-step guide (pdf) for returning to Ireland if you are being released from prison overseas or are being deported back from abroad.


If you are being deported to Ireland, the local Irish embassy or consulate can provide you with consular assistance. Make sure to request a copy of your deportation papers before your return. You may need these when applying for social welfare payments, and engaging with other statutory services. You will also need to provide photo ID, ideally a passport.

If the Irish embassy or consulate gives you an emergency travel document, make sure to request a copy as passport control will keep your travel document when you arrive in Ireland.

Further supports

Crosscare Migrant Project is a Dublin based non-profit organisation that provide information and advocacy support to people returning to Ireland in crisis. They offer support especially in relation to homelessness and social welfare. You can read their guide on returning in crisis.

Safe Home Ireland is a Mayo based non-profit organisation providing support and information for returning and recently returned Irish emigrants. This includes a limited outreach and home visiting services throughout Ireland.

If you’re in a crisis abroad, you should contact the Irish embassy or consulate in that country for consular support.

Page edited: 3 November 2020