Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Ireland - Previous coverage abroad can count

Social Insurance and EC Regulations

If you are going to work in an EU country or other countries covered by EU Regulations, generally you will no longer be a part of the Irish social security system and the laws of your new country will apply to you.

If you have lived, worked and/or paid insurance in another EU country or other countries covered by the same regulations, your time living in another of these countries, the period you have worked or the contributions you have paid may be taken into account when your benefits are calculated in Ireland.

What benefits are affected?

The ability to combine your contributions paid in countries covered by EU Regulations applies to the following benefits:

Certain social security benefits from countries covered by EU Regulations may also be transferred to Ireland.

What do I need to do?

If you have been working in a country covered by EU Regulations and are returning to Ireland, you need to bring a record of your social insurance contributions using forms E104 and U1 (formerly E301) which you can get from your local social security office. Check with them to make sure you are bringing back all the necessary documentation.

If you have been getting Unemployment Benefit from a country covered by EU Regulations for 4 weeks, you can transfer it to Ireland for 3 months for job seeking purposes (in certain circumstances this 3 month period may be extended up to a maximum of 6 months). You need to bring a completed form U2 (formerly E303).

When you are applying for Irish social insurance payments there is a section in the form which asks if you have ever been employed in an EU country.

You will need to know:

  • The country where you worked;
  • The name and address of your employer there;
  • The dates you worked there; and,
  • Your Social Security Number there;
  • Other additional information, depending on the Member State involved in your claim.

Jargon busters

  • PRSI stands for Pay Related Social Insurance - the money your employer deducts directly from your wages. To claim a contributory benefit you need to have clocked up the relevant number of contributions.
  • Habitual resident - The term ‘habitual resident’ is defined under EU law - see: EU Regulation on the coordination of social security systems. In practice it means the place where you have your centre of interests.
  • Personal Public Service Number (PPS Number) - Your Personal Public Service Number (PPS Number) is a unique reference number that helps you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland.

Forms you may need to fill in

Forms E104 and U1 (formerly E301) (pdf).

Know your rights

The links below set out your rights in law, they are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:

From the Official Journal of the EU:

Commission publication and website:

Who do you need to contact?

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

List of Social Welfare Local and Branch Offices by County.

To find out more about Bilateral Social Security Agreements and how they affect you, contact:

Client Eligibility Services,
Social Welfare Services, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Cork Road, Waterford, Ireland
LoCall: 1890 690 690
If residing outside Ireland: + 353 51 356000

More information about your Irish Social Insurance record:
PRSI Records,
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, McCarter's Road, Ardaravan, Buncrana, Donegal, Ireland
Tel: (01) 471 5898
LoCall: 1890 690 690
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie/

To request a copy of your Irish Social Insurance record online: https://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/secure/RequestSIContributionRecord.aspx

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