Applying for a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN)

Put simply, a PPSN (Personal Public Service Number) is just the Irish version of the United Kingdom’s National Insurance Number (NINo). Your PPS Number is a unique identifier for use in any dealings that you may have with public bodies or persons authorised by those bodies to act on their behalf.

Use of the unique identifier eliminates the possibility of confusing one person with another and makes it possible for public bodies to operate more efficiently and effectively with their customers. For this reason we have a variety of these unique identifiers – IE:

  • The UK: National Insurance Number (NINo)
  • USA: Social Security Number (SSN)

To find out more about your PPSN in Ireland then please visit the Irish Welfare – PPSN Webpage.

If you are ready to apply for your PPSN then check out How to apply for a PPSN on Welfare.IE and you can also view Where To Apply for a PPSN.

We registered for our PPSN in the Parnell Street Intreo Office.  You need to arrive pretty early, and leave plenty of time to register for your PPSN – the queues are pretty long, and you can expect to be waiting in excess of two hours.  The best time is obviously to be one of the first ones into the building.

Everywhere in Ireland appears to open at about ten am (10:00).  But the queue starts forming at the Dublin Parnell Street Intreo Office as early as SEVEN AM.  You have to decide on what time you wish to arrive.

At Parnell Street the process put simple is:

Arrive at the door.  There may well be a queue that forms out of the building and around the corner.  This is not anything unusual.

You will need to join this queue to get to the PPSN Enquiries Reception.  You show the guy (or lady) at the desk your passport, and explain that you need the PPSN so as to work / register for self employment.

The guy will give you a PPSN Application Form to complete, and a ticket number.  THERE IS TWO SIDES TO THIS FORM! – MAKE SURE YOU COMPLETE BOTH SIDES, OTHERWISE THE NEXT TICKET WILL BE CALLED AND YOU’LL NEED TO WAIT AGAIN! – Don’t worry, you can expect to wait in the queue for at least an hour – so theres plenty of time to complete the form.

You will notice in the Parnell Street Intreo Office that there are two queues going on:

  1. PPSN Applications
  2. PPSN Enquiries

The PPSN Applications queue appears to be for singular / couple applications, whilst the PPSN Enquiries queue appears to be for groups containing children (whether or not this is true, I am not certain, but after four visits to the PPSN office and observation of the calling, it appears to be the case).

When you get to the desk, you can expect the following:

The guy (or gal) behind the desk, will have a little chat with you – getting friendly and all.  Just ensure you let them know that you need the PPSN to work / register as self employed.

They will then scan all of your documents.  You will need to provide photographic proof of identity (Passport / Driving License ETC) and a right to work / nationality  (Therefore Passport is the best) as well as proof of address.  This proof of address can be a simple letter from your landlord stating: “I (NAME) certify that (Applicants name) lives at my address (Full Address). Name: (NAME) Signed: (Signature) Date: (DATE).”.


Along with the letter, you will require proof that the person providing certification lives at that address – such as a utility bill, PPSN letter of their own ETC dated within the last three months (although, the newer the better).

They will take your photograph.  This photograph will be for your Public Services Card.

They will ask you to write down the answer to two questions on a list (for security purposes).  Remember the answers to what you write.  Should you contact them over the telephone they will use these answers as identity verification.

Once completed, you will be on your way.  You will recieve a letter in the post within about a week, followed by your Personal Public Services card in about three weeks time.

To Register for Tax or Register for Self Employment you will require your PPSN.  You can either call the local welfare office the next day (bear in mind the telephone lines are ALWAY VERY BUSY) or take my prefered approach and actually go into a Welfare Office with Photographic Proof of Identification (Such as passport or Driving License).


Health Care In Ireland

The Irish Healthcare system is different to the UK.  You will be required to pay for a number of your treatments.  However, as UK residents, you do have some “cover” by way of your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).

An EHIC means that you can get necessary healthcare in the public system of any EU / EEA country or Switzerland, if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay in that country.

You should apply for the European Health Insurance Card if you:

  • Plan to go on holiday to another EU / EEA country or Switzerland
  • Regularly visit any of these countries, for example, on business, as a frontier worker or for leisure
  • Plan to go to any of these countries to seek work
  • Are being sent by your employer to work in any of these countries temporarily but will continue to pay tax in your EU country of residence
  • Intend to undertake a course of study in any of these countries but still consider yourself as ordinarily resident in your EU country
  • Intend to visit any of these countries for any other type of temporary stay where healthcare in itself is not the aim of the visit

An EHIC is the replacement for the old Form E111. Therefore, Ireland also has an EHIC.  In addition to the EHIC, Ireland also has a Medical Card available for those on a low income.  The Irish Medical Card is a plastic card, about the size of a credit card, issued by the HSE. People who hold a Medical Card are entitled to a range of Health Services free of charge.  You can find out more about this here.

It is very wise to read the NHS’s country information regarding Healthcare in Ireland.

The NHS also states that “I understand that should any person on this application decide to remain abroad to live or work, then the relevant authorities must be informed and the EHIC returned.“.  I highlight that the Irish website (as above) states: “You should apply for the European Health Insurance Card if you …… Plan to go to any of these countries to seek work“.  I have sent an email to the NHS to clarify at what point you need to return your EHIC.

Finding a place to live in the Republic of Ireland

When you move to Ireland, you will obviously need somewhere to live.  For the first few days or weeks, it is possible to either stay at a hotel, hostel or campsite.  After that, you will obviously want a proper place to live.

What are your priorities

If you have children, you may want to consider what the schools in the area are like. If you travel abroad often, you may need to be close to an international airport. If you’re travelling back to the UK every week or two, then perhaps even close to the ports for the ferry.

Your Lifestyle

What kind of life do you live? Do you want the excitement of a city, or are you looking for the quiet, rural life? You may wish to focus your search on cities like Dublin, Cork and Galway, or you may prefer the more tranquil areas like those along the west coast.

Popular Areas

Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, and there’s no doubt that it can be an exhilarating place to live. However, the cost of living in Dublin is higher than that in the rest of Ireland’s cities, so it is worth some careful consideration. Many visitors are familiar with Dublin, so it often becomes the first port of call when looking for a home in Ireland. But don’t forget that Ireland has other great cities as well. Visit Cork, Galway, Shannon, Kilkenny, Waterford and Limerick to see how they compare to the capital.

Check house prices

These can vary greatly from area to area, and this will probably be a big factor in your final decision, especially if you are planning to buy a home. Have a look at the House Prices Index, which will tell you the average price paid for a house in Ireland, as well as the regional variations. Housing tends to cost significantly more in Dublin than in the rest of the country. Prices in the commuter counties of Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow also tend to be higher than those in the rest of the country, but not as high as Dublin’s.
County Leitrim is a popular alternative. House prices are significantly less than Dublin, which is a positive for some people.

Consider Where you will find employment

A lot of people may well go to Ireland as a self employed person – trading online in one form or another. Other’s will need to find employment. For this reason, despite the price of homes in Dublin – the increased living cost may be acceptable due to the obvious employment opportunities in such a large city.

There are many useful resources to help you with your search:

Self Employment in the Republic of Ireland

I have compiled a quick Guide To Setting Up As A Sole Trader in Ireland.

See Also: Self Employment as an Individual.
Self Employment in Ireland.
Registering for self employed taxes

Also note: Unlike in the UK where you can just trade under a business name without registering that name (IE: John Murphy T/a Murphy Builders).  In Ireland you must register any business name you trade under (even if a sole trader), unless that name IS YOUR NAME – IE:

A builder called “John Murphy” could trade under the name of “Murphy” “John Murphy” or “J Murphy” without registering this business name.  Should he wish to trade as “XYZ Builders” or even “Murphy Builders” he would be required to register the business name. See more here: Business name registration in Ireland

Finding a job in the Republic of Ireland

One of the major parts of the Surinder Singh route is that you need to be economically active.  This means that you are required to either work for an employer, or be a self employed person.

Finding a job in the Republic of Ireland is therefore one of your main priorities – although it is not essential for the first three months of residence.

EEA Nationals

You are entitled to be treated just like an Irish national when you apply for any job in Ireland.  You are free to apply for any job vacancy, including jobs in the public sector. These include jobs in the Irish army and the Irish police force (An Garda Síochána), but not the Irish diplomatic service.

Non-EEA Nationals

In general non-EEA nationals (apart from some exceptions) must have a employment permit to work in Ireland.  One of the exceptions is that Persons with permission to remain as spouse or a dependent of an Irish/EEA national do not require a work permit.  Note: If you applied for a visa to join your EU spouse, you will therefore fall into this category and not require a work permit.  You are not required to wait for your EEA National family member to work before you can start employment.  This is because for the first three months of residence, there are not any conditions for the EEA National to be a qualified person.

Some of the most popular jobs to find in Ireland are:

It is worth printing off a ton of CV’s and covering letters to these types of companies to just have a walk around town and hand them in.  It might also be worth taking a look on Google to find some email addresses and applying for jobs before you leave for Ireland.

A Rough Guide to Filming the Police during a Stop and Search

On the 8th August 2013, I submitted a FOI request due to the possibility of being classed as a Terrorist for filming / photographic police officers ETC. – Section 58A of the Terrorism Act 2000 (to date, I’ve still recieved no response).  I noticed that another user on What Do They Know has also submitted a request regarding filming: Filming Constables in a Public Place.

It is from this second request that I have came across the link: A rough guide to filiming the police during a stop and search. A nice useful article, that many people should read and take the advice of. Even more so with the recent Stop and Search by the Home Office of “Immigration Offenders”.