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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 DEASP 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 DEASP 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 MyWelfare.ie or by calling into your local Intreo Centre or social welfare local office.  Details of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s offices can be found here: http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Intreo-Centres-and-Local-and-Branch-Offices.aspx 

Documents to bring to your SAFE registration appointment

1.Evidence of identity:

Irish citizens born in the Republic of Ireland Current Irish passport or current Irish or UK driving licence or Irish learner driver permit. If you are adopted, please bring your adoption certificate with you. *
Irish citizens via naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration Current Irish passport or Certificate of Naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration certificate and Irish or UK driving licence or Irish learner driver permit. *
Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland and UK citizens Current passport, or your birth or adoption certificate and current driving licence
EU citizens (other than Irish and UK) Current passport or national identity card
Non-EU citizens Current passport or 1951 travel document

 * If you are an Irish or UK citizen and do not have a Passport or Driving licence as identification, you may still be issued with a PSC. When you attend you will have an in-depth interview and additional information gathered during this interview will be verified in order to confirm your identity.    

For Irish citizens born in the Republic of Ireland, birth details can be verified online in most cases with the General Register Office. However, in some cases, it is not possible to locate the birth registration, so the person will need to return with a copy of his/her birth certificate.

If you wish to get a copy of your Irish birth certificate for SAFE registration purposes, you can get it from the Registrar at a reduced rate when you show your SAFE invitation letter.

The Department does not have access to the adoption register, so adopted people should bring their adoption certificate with them when attending their appointment.  

2. Evidence of address (applies to everyone, whether an Irish, EU or non-EU citizen):

You need to show evidence of your address. You can use any of the following documents to do this (it must show your name and address):

  • 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 school principal/administrator, accommodation/property owner*or manager.

*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.

3. Additional helpful documents

If you have any of the items listed below, you should bring them along with you as they may also help to confirm your identity. If you do not have any of these, you should bring other documents or forms of photo ID instead*.

  • Irish Free Travel Pass
  • Medical card issued under the General Medical Service
  • European health insurance card
  • Credit/debit card
  • Student card

*The following items are not acceptable as proof of identity for the purpose of SAFE registration: Baptismal certificate, work ID card, Garda form ML-10, Garda age card, photocopied certificates or documents and expired documents generally.  

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.


For further information regarding the Public Services Card, you can visit the PSC website at https://psc.gov.ie/.

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

Client Identity Services

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Shannon Lodge
Co. Leitrim

Tel: (071) 9672616
Locall:1890 927 999   ​​​​

The rates charged for using 1890 (LoCall) numbers may vary among different service providers.

Last modified:18/01/2018

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