Apply as soon as possible

Getting a PPS Number is one of the first things you will have to do when you arrive in Ireland. The sooner you apply for it, the easier the transition will be and you will be able to avoid paying more tax on your income than you should. It can seem like a complicated process but we’ve some great tips on how to make it as easy as possible.

What is a PPS Number?

A Personal Public Service (PPS) number is a unique number that government bodies and others will use to identify you. You will need this number for tax purposes and will need to inform your employer as soon as you get it. Your employer will use your PPS Number for the purposes of advising Revenue and Department of Social Protection of your tax deductions and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions. You might also need to use this number when applying for access to other public services and when setting up a bank account. A PPS Number is similar to the National Insurance Number in the UK, and Social Security Number in the USA.

How do you get a PPS Number?

You will need to apply for your PPS Number with the Department of Social Protection. Call in to your local registered PPS Number Registration Centre. In Dublin the centre is the Intreo Centre, Parnell Street while in Cork it is located at the Social Welfare Office, Hanover Quay. There are specific opening hours for this service in Cork so be sure to find out before you go there so you don’t make a wasted journey. It’s also usually a good idea to try and go there early to avoid the queues.

Proof of identity

When you go to get a PPS Number you’ll need to show them proof of identity, usually a valid passport or National Identity Card, and evidence that you are living in Ireland.

If you haven’t found a place to live yet but want to get your PPS Num­ber, your employer can make the applic­a­tion on your behalf.

If you are from the United Kingdom, European Union or European Economic Area you’ll need to provide a current valid passport along with another form of photographic ID such as a driving licence and evidence of your address such as a household bill or a tenancy agreement in your name.

It’s a good idea to bring along some supporting documents such as your birth certificate, employment details and education history as you may be asked to provide further information. It doesn’t hurt to bring more than you think might need – you won’t want to queue up there more than you have to!

Can you apply for a PPS Number before you arrive in Ireland?

You can’t usually apply for a PPS Number before you arrive in Ireland. Normally, you must be living in Ireland to apply.

In addition to evidence of address, a person must also show that s/he has a requirement for a PPS Number before one will be issued. Taking up employment is a requirement as the employer will require a PPS Number to pay income tax and PRSI to the Revenue Commissioners. However, looking for work is not a requirement, and an employer requiring a PPS Number as part of a job application is in breach of the legislation.

What does a PPS Number look like?

Your PPS Number will have 9 characters: 7 numbers followed by two letters. It will look something like this: 1234567FA. Don’t worry if you already have an Irish PPS Number and it looks different,  changes were made in January 2013 so that the number now has 9 characters.

Where will you see your PPS Number?

You will find your PPS Number on tax documents, letters from a social welfare or tax office, your payslip and on cards that may be issued to you to avail of social welfare and medical payment schemes among others.

More information

The Department of Social Protection website provides a list of PPS Number Registration Centres throughout Ireland. This will help you to find your local centre. If you have a query regarding your PPS Number, you should contact the Client Identity Services at the Department of Social Protection.