Public Services Card

What is a Public Services Card?

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.

If you don’t yet have a Public Services Card - see 'Where to apply' 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.

Using your PSC to apply for social welfare payments online

If you have a Public Services Card, you can set up a MyGovID verified account to access a range of public services online.

Your mobile phone number must be verified by the DSP to set up a MyGovID verified account.

If you have a Public Services Card and want get your mobile phone number verified by the DSP, you can call: 0818 927 999.

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. 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:

Evidence of identity
Irish citizens born in Ireland Current Irish passport or current Irish or UK driving licence or Irish learner driver permit.
Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland and UK citizens Current passport, or your birth 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 citizen 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 or appointment notification.

You can read more about Public Service Identity on

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 (the document must show your name and address and not be older than 3 months):

  • 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 0818 837 000.

Changing the name on your Public Services Card

If you want to change your name on your PSC, you must attend a SAFE Registration Centre in person with the relevant documents (see below) as a new signature is required for your PSC.

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)

Changing your name 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.

Renewing your Public Services Card

Public Services Cards issued up to November 2018 are valid for 7 years. Public Service Cards issued after November 2018 are valid for 10 years.

Public Services Cards that were urgently renewed during the COVID-19 public health emergency may only be valid for 3 years.

You can renew your card by attending a PSC registration centre. You can also renew your PSC online.

Where to apply for a Public Services Card

To get a Public Services Card (PSC), you need to attend a PSC Centre. PSC Centres offer either an appointment or walk-in service.

If your local PSC Centre offers a walk-in service, you need to go to the centre during the opening hours for that centre. Find contact details to make an appointment and opening hours for walk-in centres on

Client Identity Services

Department of Social Protection

Shannon Lodge
Co. Leitrim
N41 KD81

Tel: (071) 967 2616 or 0818 927 999
Page edited: 4 July 2023