How to become “Irish” (or everything you need to start living in Ireland)?

How to become “Irish” (or everything you need to start living in Ireland)?

(This will be a bit longer post, but I’d like to have the whole procedure for the future new “Irish” on one page)

If you are among those who decided to leave their country of origin and move to Ireland, you can find
the procedure that every new inhabitant of “The Emerald Island” must follow. If you are here accidentally,
you can read here how our procedure looked like. 🙂

Those coming from EU countries don’t need anything special, just a bit of knowledge about this procedure, some patience and some money. In case that you are coming from countries whose citizens are required to hold a valid working permit, you will have to read some more information here.

As Croatia recently joined EU and we have one big thing less to provide (working permit) we decided to start our procedure of “becoming Irish” 10 000 meters above the ground, with a shot of Jameson. You will figure out that Jameson in Ireland is like water in the rest of the world, so get used to it. 🙂


OK, that is not the complete and formal procedure. This was just a short intro, and this is how it looked like at the end of 2013:


In order to get paid in Ireland, you must obtain your PPS number. It is some sort of tax number / social number. To get PPSN, you must be able to prove your living address in Ireland, and in order to prove your address, you need to have a signed contract which proves that you work somewhere in Ireland, or you must be related or married to someone working here (I got it because of my wife 🙂 ).

In order to be able to get the apartment and the address, you must provide PPS number, employment contract and reference letters from previous landlords, and again to get PPS number you must be able to prove your Irish address of residence.
(To prove that you live on mentioned address, you must provide some bill or governmental letter sent to your name on given address!)
Does this sound confusing to you?

But do not worry, the system works just fine. You are new in the country, have no address, have no PPS number, and rental agencies will wait 2-3 weeks for you to get the PPS number, and they will not bother you with references as they are aware that there is no one that can provide them. Even if this whole system sounds impossible, it’s not, it is confusing as it is not described in details and you have to ask for information. 🙂

Finding an apartment:

I’ll assume that you have a signed employment contract and that you did not arrive in Ireland just like that. In that case the first and maybe even hardest step is finding a good apartment. There are many agencies and there are private renters. Hm…

People who live in Ireland for a while told us to go with agencies only, but not a single agency replied to any of our e-mails sent from Croatia. We were quite scared because of that, and we thought that there are no apartments to let, but… Dublin is a very busy place, and there are many apartments that change tenants on daily basis, and beside that we arrived in time of the year when students are back in town after the summer break. Agencies simply have no time to reply to some strange people writing from “the far far far away land” as apartments that you like and would like to get information about will be let on the viewing day. Things get much better when you arrive to Ireland, and give them a call from an Irish phone number or even better when you get to the agency in person. In that case, they will call you back and do their best to get you an apartment.

The thing that is quite different than in Croatia is renting apartment from private renters. They organize viewings for all who are interested. That means at certain date and time everybody interested is there. 60 people in 50 Sq.m., commenting, making noise, 45 of them are there with references from previous renters, most of them have cash money ready to pay the advance and all of them try to convince the renter that they are the best choice. It sounds like being on “Mora Cantada” tournament or on the Wall street. (Mora cantada)

Well, that did not work for us, we had no reference letters and no experience with this kind of rent, but we needed to check. But at this point we decided to go to all possible agencies and ask for help. 🙂

If you come in the wrong time of the year, even agencies cannot guarantee you that you will get the apartment easily. We added all the agencies to our Nokia Maps, and we defined the strategic route to visit all the agencies, and get the apartment right away.

Most of the apartments here in Dublin are rented on a yearly basis, so finding a “temporary” solution is not such an easy task, and living in some shit-hole for a year is not really an option. We started our day full of confidence, we went through all the agencies but none of them had a free apartment in the city centre and within our budget.

We sat down in the St. Stephens Green park to take a rest, and to discuss our next move. We thought of going back to the hotel, and check the apartments far away from the centre, and to raise the budget a bit, but at that very moment the phone rang. It was one of the agencies offering a viewing of one apartment that just became free. The viewing was set for 6:00 PM. We packed our stuff and headed toward the hotel, but on the way we found an “anonymous” agency and we arranged one more viewing at 4:00 PM.

So later, there we are, on the address of our first viewing. Place not really close to centre, on the wrong side of the city (north) and the ugliest of all houses is the one we should be viewing. Old Gregorian style, ceilings are somewhere 3 meters in the sky, building was built somewhere in 17xx and renovated back in 1845.
Each floor is a story per se, one leans toward the windows, entrance leans toward the bedroom, and floor in the kitchen is dancing tango. In order to keep your furniture levelled you must put the bible under each side of things in there. Again, we were depressed. That place is far from centre, it is expensive and it is not something where you would stay for a year.

We walked upset toward the next location in the centre and had no idea what to expect.

As we arrived at the address we saw huge and ugly wooden doors and broken post boxes and realised that it is exactly at the bus stop. We looked at each other and the conversation went something like this:
– This?
– Here?
– At the bus station?
– promising…

Finally this kind lady showed up, and struggling to open the door she asked us:
– Are you here for the viewing?
– Yes we are
– Grand, follow me. You will like this place, it is relatively new…

When she finally opened those ugly doors, there was a completely different story behind them – a newly built nice and clean hallway leading to the first floor. Wow, that looked much much better than it was at the first sight. And on the level one, behind another wooden door, there is this apartment that is not bad at all…
– It is available in 2 days. There are some other viewings but you were first here, you do not have to…
– Here, money, we are taking it. It’s ours! 🙂


In the next couple of days we signed all the forms and contracts and here we are, finally with our first address in Ireland.

Now, the rest of the procedure differs for those having the employment contract, and for those that don’t:

Opening a bank account for the person having an employment contract:

Even though opening the bank account in Croatia is just a formality it is not like that here in Ireland. To get the chance to use the banking services, the bank must have good reason to work with you. Beside “good reason” you must be able to prove your address in Ireland, or someone must guarantee that you are “OK”. So, in order to open the bank account, my wife got a recommendation letter from here company that guaranties that she will really work here in Ireland, that she passed different reference checks, and that she needs to get a bank account in order to get paid.

Even though she had all needed documents, lady in the bank told here to go to the different branch office of the same bank. She needed to go to the exact office where her company opened the business account because she was still without a PPS number.

Luckily in that office they had no problems with the paperwork, and my wife finally got the bank account.

PPS number application:

When we finally collected all the necessary documents (Passport, tenancy agreement, employment contract, and paper from bank addressed to our Irish address) we headed to closest welfare office. The list of all these offices is available on-line, but depending where you live you can go only to those offices that are in charge for your part of the city. When we arrived at the welfare office, the queue of about 60 people was the best sign where we need to wait. We were in that line for a while, moving slowly, and we finally got to the reception where we got number 72 and information that there are 39 people before us waiting for PPS application to be processed.


Usually, when there are 10 people in the police station in Umag (back in Croatia) that means I would have to wait at least an hour to get things done, and so I thought we will camp here for a couple of days. However, everything was over in about two and a half hours. Our applications were accepted, they took our photos and we were informed that our PPS numbers will be sent to our address.

And that’s how it was. In a couple of days we got our PPS cards, and we are allowed to stay in Ireland, work here and get paid! 🙂

Opening a bank account with the PPS number:

As we got the PPS numbers and the address it was my turn to open my bank account. As we already said, I must be able to prove where I live, right? Well, that could have been done with a document containing my PPSN and address, or a bill addressed to my name. Since I was “the smart one”, I went to the bank with the PPS card (that does not contain my address, just my PPS number and a photo) and a bill with my misspelled name. Yep, that does not work here in Ireland, so I went back home to get the proper document, and then my problem was resolved in just a couple of minutes.

Temporary or permanent checkout and emergency tax:

After all of this there are two more things to be resolved. 1) temporary or permanent checkout from your Croatian address (for those coming from Croatia) and 2) having in mind that you must apply for tax credit.

The first issue is resolved with one phone call and with our pleasant ladies in the Croatian Embassy. The “hardest” part is this “Emergency tax” which no one mentions. But I do! 🙂

As you just arrived and this is your first employment in Ireland, you must fill in the form 12A, which proves that this is your first employment and that you apply for tax credits. Until revenue office processes this application, you are considered “loaded” and you have no tax credits, so you are taxed with “emergency tax” that is around 52% on your whole pay. So your first paycheck arrives, and it is about 30% less than you expected. Nice cold shower and thousand questions can be really scary, especially if you did not leave some funds for the “dark days”.

Luckily, when the 12A form is processed the missing 30% of your paycheck will be added to your second paycheck, so you will not lose this amount. The best thing would be if your employer would fill that for you on the very first day of your employment, because there is a chance that your 12A form will be processed faster.

So, if you plan to live in Ireland and you were patient enough to read this through your life could be much easier. In case you gave up reading this… well, you will learn from your own mistakes 🙂

In short, here is what is needed to start living in Ireland:

1. Employment contract
2. Tenancy agreement (that depends on employment contract)
2.a. Recommendation letter from employer to open the bank account without PPS number
3. PPS number (and you need to prove where you live and have employment contract)
4. Bank account (depending on 1,2, and 3 if you did not get one with 1,2 and 2a)
5. Checkout in Croatian embassy
6. 12A application form on the very first day of your first employment.


IS! 🙂

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