Personal Public Service number
Your Personal Public Service (PPS) number is a unique reference number that helps you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland.
Before you can be allocated a PPS number, you must show that you need one for a transaction with a specified body. For example, if you are taking up employment, you need a PPS number to register with the Revenue Commissioners. However, looking for work is not a transaction with a specified body and employers should not look for your PPS number when recruiting. An employer should only seek a PPS number if you are actually taking up employment with the organisation.
The Department of Social Protection (DSP) has a list of State agencies that use PPS numbers to identify individuals.
If you do not know your PPS number, contact your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and staff there can find your number for you.
A PPS Number is always 7 numbers followed by either one or 2 letters.
Using your Personal Public Service number
You can use your PPS number for:
- All social welfare services
- The Free Travel Pass
- Pupil ID
- Public health services, including the medical card and the Drugs Payment Scheme
- Child immunisation
- Schemes run by the Revenue Commissioners, such as mortgage interest relief
- Housing grants
- Driver Theory Testing and driving licences
A PPS number has already been issued to you if:
- You were born in Ireland in or after 1971
- You started work in Ireland after 1979
- You are getting a social welfare payment
- You are taking part in the Drugs Payment Scheme
PPS numbers are printed on the following documents:
- Public Services Card
- Social Services Card
- Drugs Payment Scheme Card
- Medical Card
- GP visit card
- European Health Insurance Card
- Tax Assessment
- PAYE Notice of Tax Credits
- Temporary Payment Card
If you are unsure as to whether a particular organisation, person or agent is entitled to request or use your PPS number, you should contact Client Identity Services in the Department of Social Protection. You can contact Client Identity Services - see 'Where to apply' below.
I'm moving to Ireland soon - how do I get a Personal Public Service number?
Before you can be allocated a PPS number, you must show that one is required for a transaction with a specified body.
You will be asked to produce documentary evidence of identity and address in Ireland. Different documentary evidence will be required, depending on your nationality. A complete list of documents required as evidence of your identity is available.
I am not resident in Ireland but I need a PPS number - how do I get it?
In some cases people who are not resident in Ireland may need a PPS number. For example, someone who is a beneficiary under an Irish will may need to supply a PPS number before a grant of probate can issue.
The DSP's Client Identity Services (CIS) provides a service for non-resident applicants who need a PPS number and cannot attend at a designated PPS Registration Centre. If you want to use this service, you must show documentary evidence that you need a PPS number for a transaction with a specified body. You cannot use this exceptional application process if you are living in or intend to relocate to Ireland for any period of time. Audits of PPS applications are carried out periodically and you may be asked for additional information. See 'Applying from outside Ireland' below.
If you are living in Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom and are working in Ireland (a cross-border worker) you apply for a PPS number in the normal way at a designated PPS Number Allocation Centre.
I need a PPS number for a person who has died - how do I get this?
Occasionally a PPS number may be required for a deceased person, usually when dealing with grant of probate.
In such cases, you should send a copy of the death certificate and details about why the PPS number is required to the DSP's Client Identity Services - the address is below.
Rules for getting a PPS number
To get a PPS number, you must show evidence of your identity and evidence of why you need a PPS number allocated. You must also provide proof of your address.
Evidence of your identity
|If you are:||You will need to produce the following as evidence of your identity:|
|An Irish citizen born in the Republic of Ireland||
|An Irish citizen via naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration||
|An Irish citizen born in Northern Ireland or a UK citizen||
|EU citizens (other than Irish and UK)||Current passport or national identity card|
|Non-EU citizens||Current passport|
Evidence of your address
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 hotel/hostel administrator or manager, school principal/administrator or accommodation/property owner*.
*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.
PPS numbers for children
Children born in Ireland are usually given a PPS number when their birth is registered with the General Register Office (GRO). This means you do not need to apply for a PPS number for an Irish-born child. However, if the birth is not registered within 3 months, a parent/guardian must make an application - see 'Child application' below.
A PPS number is not automatically allocated if both parents' addresses are outside of the State. If you need a PPS number in such a case, then you must apply at a PPS Number Allocation Centre.
PPS numbers for children living in, but not born in Ireland, must be applied for by the parent/guardian. One of the parents/guardians must have a PPS number for the child to be registered and linked with their data.
The parent, foster parent, guardian or school representative should attend the PPS Number Allocation Centre with the child, and provide evidence of his/her own identity, the identity of the child, evidence of the requirement for a PPS number, and evidence of the relationship between the parent/guardian and the child. Evidence of address should also be provided. The DSP may make further enquiries where it is considered necessary to confirm the relationship between the child and the person requesting a PPS number.
A person aged less than 16 years is considered to be a child for PPS number allocation purposes. You apply for a PPS number for a child using form REG1M (pdf).
PPS number fraud control
The DSP monitors identity fraud issues, helps to draw up procedures for processing applications and investigates suspect documents. Staff in social welfare offices are required to check the authenticity of supporting documents and refer doubtful cases for checking by document fraud experts.
How to apply for a PPS number
You can apply online for a PPS number using MyWelfare.ie, if you are living in Ireland and you are at least 18 years of age. You also need a basic MyGovID account.
When you apply online, you need to upload:
- A copy of your photo identity document (passport, driving licence, ID card etc.) If you do not have valid documents, you should provide whatever ID documents that you do have.
- Evidence of why you need a PPS number
- Proof of your address
You should ensure that the documents you upload are easy to read.
Applying in person for a PPS number
Face-to-face appointments for PPS numbers are currently suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic
Applying from outside Ireland
You can apply for a PPS number if you are living outside Ireland and need a PPS number for an interaction with a specified body in Ireland. However, if you are living in Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom and are working in Ireland (a cross-border worker) you must apply for a PPS number in the normal way.
You can find more information about applying for a PPS number from outside Ireland on gov.ie.
Where to apply
Change of address
If you change your address you should write to the DSP giving your name, PPS number, old and new address and evidence of your new address such as a utility bill. The Department will then update your record.
You can scan your completed forms and email or post to:.
Phasing out of W numbers
Before 2000 when some women got married they had to use the same PPS number as their husband, but with a W at the end of the number. This W number was issued by Revenue to identify spouses in a jointly assessed relationship. The W number was linked to the PPS number of the assessable spouse (which is the term used in Revenue for the spouse who is charged tax on the income of both spouses).
These numbers are being slowly phased out and W numbers have not been issued since 1999.
If your PPS number is the same as your husband’s PPS number but the last letter is W, you must get a new PPS number in these circumstances:
- If your spouse is deceased
- If you are divorced or separated
- If you were issued with a Social Insurance number before 1979
If you have a PPS number ending with W and you cannot access the Local Property Tax online system using this number, you may need to request a new number.
If you were issued a PPS number after 1979 and before you married, the Department may re-issue you with your original number on request.
If you are changing your W number for a new PPS number, you do not need to go through the same application process as everyone else. To get your new number or to be re-instated with your old number contact the Client Identity Section in the Department of Social Protection (DSP). The phone number is (071) 967 2616 or Lo-call 1890 927 999.
When you get your new number from the DSP, you should inform any organisations that may hold your old number. For example, your employer, your bank, the National Driver Licence Service, the HSE and Revenue – you can inform Revenue using the Revenue’s online Jobs and Pension Service or contact your local tax office.