PPS number: all you need to know about it

By Carlotta Cutrale / February 26, 2020
PPS Number Ireland

Probably one of the first things people keep on repeating once you’ve set foot in Ireland is to have a PPS number. It is indeed one of the basic requirements the Irish government will ask you whether you’re looking for a job or looking to benefit from any number of government initiatives. It can be challenging to understand how to get one and what the standard procedure is about.

Don’t despair, here’s all the information you need to know about the PPS Number, how it works and how to use it. 

What’s the PPS number?

A PPS number is a unique reference number that allows you to undertake work in Ireland and avail of government benefits and programs, access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland. It always starts with the digit ‘7’ and covers services such as public health care, housing grants, and driving licence applications. You also need a PPS number when enrolling your children into a new school.

You can use your PPS number for:

How to get one

To get a PPS number, you have to provide evidence of your identity and why you need a PPS number. You must also provide proof of your address. However, the same rules do not apply to all foreigners coming to Ireland. In terms of evidence of your identity: 

An Irish citizen born in the Republic of Ireland The long version of your birth certificate and photographic ID, such as your passport or driving licence
An Irish citizen via naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration Your current passport or Certificate of Naturalisation OR your Foreign Birth Registration certificate AND Irish or UK driving licence or Irish learner driving permit
An Irish citizen born in Northern Ireland or a UK citizen Current passport OR Your birth certificate showing your mother’s birth name AND current driving licence
EU citizens (other than Irish and UK) Current passport or national identity card
Non-EU citizens Current passport or 1951 Convention Travel Document

Concerning the evidence of your address, the documents should contain your name and your address and they shouldn’t be older than 3 months. You can either produce as a proof of address: 

  • household utility bill
  • an official letter or document
  • a financial statement
  • property lease or tenancy agreement
  • confirmation of address by a third party such as a hotel or hostel administrator or manager, school principal or property owner (if you’re still living with a friend or relatives, an original household bill plus a note from the bill holder confirming your residency at the billing address is acceptable).

Once you have all the documents you need to, there are two general ways to book an appointment for the PPS number. In-person or online. 


Mind that if you were born or started working in Ireland after 1971, you’re likely to have already your PPS number. However, if you prefer to get an appointment in person for the PPS number, the Department of National Welfare is the only one that can provide the number. That’s why you should be able to find and check the list of PPS Number Allocation Centres on the department’s website. 


It’s necessary to login to the website MyWelfare.ie to make an appointment online. When you have made your appointment, print the notification and bring it to your appointment along with the required documents. These documents are listed in the notification.

Why you need one

First, it is important to note that unless you are an Irish citizen, who will probably already have an existing PPS number, you must have a specific need in order to be able to apply for one. This could be in the form of a job offer, enrolling your children in school or applying for social welfare.

The bodies entitled that may ask for your PPS number are:

  • All Social Welfare Services
  • Bodies responsible for administering the Free Travel Pass scheme
  • Schools, in particular, staff responsible for enrolment and Pupil ID
  • Public Health services, including Medical Card and Drug Payment Schemes
  • Child Immunisation Programmes
  • Revenue Schemes – including Taxation and Mortgage Interest Relief
  • Housing Grant officers
  • Driver Theory Testing and Driver Licences staff
  • Civil Registration Service – all Birth, Death, Marriage & Civil Partnership transactions
  • Your employer, for the purpose of advising Revenue and Department of Social Protection of your tax deductions and contributions.

It is important to keep your PPS number private in order to avoid any situation where the possibility of scamming could be involved. Contact Client Identity Services at the Department of Social Protection for advice both via phone or email: 01-7043281 or at  cis@welfare.ie if you think you may be the victim of identity theft.

PPS number and children

For children born in Ireland, a PPS number is generally given to them once their birth certificate has been produced and registered at the General Register Office (GRO). However, if birth is not registered within three months, the parent or guardian must make an application in order to get a PPS number for their child. 

PPS numbers for children* living in, but not born in Ireland, must be applied for by the parent or guardian. One of the parents or guardians must have a PPS number for the child to be registered.

In this case, as for the normal application, the parent, foster parent or guardian should attend the PPS Number Allocation Centre with the child, and provide evidence of:

  • his or her own identity
  • the identity of the child
  • the requirement for a PPS number
  • the relationship between the parent or guardian and the child
  • Evidence of address

*Any individual up to 18 is considered as a child and then treated as such in terms of PPS number application.

About the author

Carlotta Cutrale

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