Public Services Card

Print page

What is the Public Services Card (PSC)?

The Public Services Card (PSC) helps you to access a range of public services easily. Your identity is fully authenticated when it is issued so you do not have to give the same information to multiple organisations. It was first introduced in 2011 and was initially rolled out to people getting social welfare payments. It is now being rolled out to other public services.

The front of the card holds a person’s name, photograph and signature, along with the card expiry date. The back of the card holds the person’s 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 the person holding the card is entitled to free travel, the card will 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 (because they are unable to travel alone for medical reasons).

Why do I need a PSC?

The PSC is currently a requirement for the following;

  • Access to Social Welfare Services (including Child Benefit and Treatment Benefits)
  • First time adult passport applicants in the state
  • Replacement of lost, stolen or damaged passports issued prior to January 2005, where the person is resident in the State.
  • Citizenship applications
  • Driver Theory Test Applicants
  • Access to high value or personal online public services, e.g. Social Welfare and Revenue services, via MyGovId, the mechanism for accessing public services online. To learn more about MyGovID click here

How do I get a PSC?

Face-to-face registration for a Public Services Card is called SAFE (Standard Authentication Framework Environment) registration.

SAFE registration takes about 15 minutes to complete (once all documents are presented). During this appointment your photograph will be taken and your signature recorded for your new Public Services Card, which will be posted to you. 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 your mobile phone, if you have one. Having your mobile phone with you when you are SAFE registered means that we can “pair” that mobile phone number with you.  This makes it much easier for you to verify your MyGovID account which is required should you wish to access public services online in the future.

Ordinarily, to get a PSC, a person must attend a face to face interview at a DSP Office.  However in certain circumstances and subject to a person’s consent a PSC can also be issued based on information provided to another state body, such as in a driver’s licence application.  Accordingly this Department intends to write to certain persons who have renewed their licence since March 2014 and in doing so has provided the Road Safety Authority with personal information and a photograph.  These people will be offered the opportunity to complete the SAFE registration process without attending a DSP office. See Privacy Impact Assessment on the use of RSA Driving Licence data here.

A PSC is usually issued to adult applicants for PPS numbers.

If you don’t yet have a PSC you can make an appointment to get one either by using or by calling into your local Intreo Centre or social welfare local office.  Details of the Department of Social Protection’s offices can be found here: 

Why might I need one in the future?

The Public Services Card (PSC) infrastructure is the Government’s standard identity verification scheme, which is to be used for access to all public services where appropriate. The list of commitments by Departments and Government Offices to adopt the PSC and MyGovID infrastructure for specified public services within the listed timeframes is here.  

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 1890 837000.


If you have general questions about the card or the registration process you can use the Department of Social Protection’s online query form or contact: 

Client Identity Services

Department of Social Protection
Shannon Lodge
Co. Leitrim

Tel: (071) 9672616

Locall:1890 927 999   ​​​​

Last modified:02/08/2017

 Application Forms


 Intreo/Local Office Locator

Search for your local office