Do I need to get a Public Service Card?

A PSC can help you access different public services

Written by spunout


Notice: In line with the latest HSE and WHO advice around social distancing, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has taken the decision to temporarily postpone Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) and Public Service Card (PSC) appointment services with immediate effect. You can apply for the payments available from the Department using your PPS number.

The Public Service Card (PSC) is a card issued by the Irish Government which verifies your identification. It was first introduced in 2011 and given to people receiving social welfare payments. It is now being rolled out as the preferred proof of identity for other public services such as for your driver licence and all first time passport applicants aged 18 and above. 

Why would I need a Public Service Card? 

A PSC can help you to access different public services. Currently all first-time passport applicants aged 18 and above who are residents in Ireland need to have a PSC. All applicants for a certificate of naturalisation aged 18 or over who are residents in Ireland must also have a PSC. For a full list of public services which plan to use PSC by the end of 2018 click here.

Do I need a PSC to get my driving licence? 

Since June 2017, you need to have a Public Services Card if you are sitting the Driver Theory Test. Since 9 April 2018, you can use the PSC as evidence of identity when applying for a driving licence or learner permit, but you do not have to use one as ID.

In February of 2018 the Road Safey Authority said that from April 2018 all applicants for a licence would need a PSC but this was later changed. Now, when applying for your licence in person you can choose to use your PSC or another form of ID. If you are not using a PSC you must bring photo ID, evidence of your PPSN, evidence of address and evidence of residency entitlement to your appointment instead.

If you want to renew your driving licence online you can only do so with a PSC and a MyGovID verified account. The online service is not available to anyone without a PSC. For more information about renewing your licence online click here

For more information on applying for your driving licence click here

What information is on a Public Service Card?

The front of the PSC shows the person’s name, signature and photograph. The card’s expiration date is also on the front of the card. The back of the card displays the person’s PPS number and a card number. The PSC has a magnetic strip inside it which allows you to collect social welfare payments in the post office.

The card will also show whether or not you can avail of free travel and if you are entitled to bring a companion with you.

How do I get a Public Service Card?

To get a PSC you need to apply for one. You can do this by making an appointment at or by calling into your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. The appointment to register is called Standard Authentication Framework Environment (SAFE) registration.

Standard Authentication Framework Environment (SAFE) registration

Once you apply to make a SAFE appointment the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will send you a letter with the date of your appointment. Your appointment will take around 15 minutes at your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. At the appointment your photo and signature will be taken for your card and will also have to answer some security questions.

You need to bring certain documents to your appointment to prove your identity and address.

Documents you need for your PSC card

Irish citizens born in Ireland:

  • Current Irish passport or current Irish or UK driving licence or Irish learner driver permit. If you are adopted you will need to 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.

EU citizens (other than Irish and UK):

  • Current passport or national identity card.

 Non-EU citizens

  • Current passport or 1951 travel document

You also need to bring the letter you got confirming your appointment and your mobile phone to verify your number by the Department. If you currently have a Social Services Card you should bring that too.

For more information on PSC click here

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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