You’ve packed up your life in the U.S. and moved to the Emerald Isle for your new life. Perhaps you are an ex-pat working here, maybe you married an Irishman or lovely Irish woman, or your grandfather was an Irish citizen and you’ve just gained your own citizenship – whatever the reason here are my top three things to do within the first week (or day, if possible) you are living in Ireland.
1) Register with An Garda Síochána (Guardians of the Peace = Police).
If you are not an Irish citizen or if your domestic partner is not a citizen, the non-citizen needs to go to the Garda station to register and get your residency certificate. This certificate looks like an identification card and shows you are a legal resident of Ireland. You will use this for official transactions as well as in Passport Control at all Irish airports and arrival points. Depending on your status, you will have to renew annually (with a fee) or check in with them at certain times throughout the year.
2) Get a PPS number. It is like a Social Security Number. You need one, so just get it over with. The wait isn’t as bad as an American DMV if you go an hour before they close for lunch. With a PPSN, you may do many things, including apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme, a safety net for prescription costs within your family. No family will pay more than €120 per month for all the prescriptions. This is especially useful to have if you get sick, so sign up early so you don’t have to worry about it.
3) Open a local bank account.
Doing it sooner rather than later is best because you will establish your credit history in this country. For instance, when I applied for a new mobile phone in Ireland, I was denied four times because I did not have any credit history beyond two years – they only check within Ireland! Having a Laser card with the essential chip & PIN will make your life s much easier too.
Now, these are just my top three and there are many other things you need to attend to in your first six months of Irish residency, such as tend to obtaining a Provisional Driving Permit. If it encourages you at all to know this, when we first relocated to Ireland it took about 36 hours for us to get PPS numbers, bank accounts, Garda residency certificates, and an apartment. The government services can be slow, but be the momentum you want to see and it somehow works a little faster.
This kicks off a series of basics for new residents in Ireland. In the next post of the series, I review the next three things to do in your first day or week of living in Ireland:
4) Find a place to live.
5) Set up your utilities.
6) Get a mobile phone.
What do you think should be on this list?