Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Guide to emigrating from Ireland to Europe

The third of a series of factsheets from Crosscare Migrant Project outlines what Irish people should consider when preparing to move to Europe, including preparing employment documentation and transferring social welfare payments.

Wed, Jul 25, 2012, 01:00


The third of a series of factsheets from  Crosscare Migrant Project outlines what Irish people should consider when preparing to move to Europe, including preparing employment documentation and transferring social welfare payments.

(This factsheet is available for download from the Crosscare website here).

FÁS EURES Advisers specialise in providing information on working in Europe

Where can I get information about living and working in another European country?

You can contact your local FÁS EURES (EURopean Employment Services) Adviser who specialises in providing information on working in Europe. They will be able to give you details about the country you are planning to move to, and can give you advice on finding and accepting a job abroad. They will also have access to job listings in different European countries, so you will be able to get an idea of what type of work is available.

You can find your local EURES Adviser by contacting your local FÁS Office or by checking online at

What documents do I need to get before I leave Ireland?

In addition to your passport, other useful documents to bring with you include: Your birth certificate; driving licence and/or international driving permit; student card; any visas or work permits you may need; European Health Insurance Card and/or other documents relating to health insurance; your CV; any relevant certificates from education or training courses you have completed; references for work; a record of your employment and social insurance contributions in Ireland; contact names and numbers of your family/friends/next-of-kin in Ireland; contact information for your nearest Irish embassy/consulate in the country to which you will be travelling.

How much money do I need to bring with me?

You should keep in mind that it may take some time to find a job in the country you are going to, and even when you do find a job, you might not get your first pay cheque for a few weeks. You should budget for expenses you may have before you receive your first pay cheque.

The types of expenses you may have include the following: temporary housing while you are looking for permanent housing; housing deposit (usually equivalent to one month rent); one month rent in advance; transportation costs when looking for work; transportation to and from work; food; clothing.

If possible you should also bring a credit card, as it is accepted in most places and can provide you with emergency funds if anything goes wrong.

Can I get a record of my employment in Ireland?

Before you leave Ireland, you should get form S1 (formerly E104) and form U1 (formerly E301) from the Department of Social Protection. These forms provide details of your Irish social insurance record and will be required if you need to claim sickness, maternity or unemployment benefits while you are living in another European country.

For your own records you should also keep a record of your employment history (for example contracts, payslips, letters from employers, references).

How can I get forms S1 (formerly E104) and U1 (formerly E301)?

If you want to bring forms S1 (formerly E104) and form U1 (formerly E301) with you, you can request the forms by completing an application. You can download the application form here. Include a copy of your P45,  your P60 and your address abroad.

How long does it take to get forms S1 (formerly E104) and U1 (formerly E301)?

Processing your application can take up to a few months as sometimes it is necessary for the Department to make enquiries with your former employers. You may contact the International Records Section by phone one month after you submit your application. The more documents you can supply (your P45 and P60) the easier it is to issue the forms.

If you don’t bring your S1 (formerly E104) or U1 (formerly E301) with you, or if you have not received them and you need to claim a sickness or unemployment benefit in another European country, the country you have moved to should contact Irish authorities to get a record of your insurance contributions. A request from another EU member state for your social insurance record will be prioritised by the Department of Social Protection.

I am getting Jobseeker’s Benefit. Can I transfer it to another European country?

If you have been getting Jobseeker’s Benefit in Ireland for at least 4 weeks, it is possible to transfer it to another European country for up to 13 weeks, if you are looking for work there. Your Jobseeker’s Benefit will be paid directly to you at the same rate as it was paid in Ireland.

To do this, you must inform your local social welfare office at least four weeks in advance of leaving Ireland and ask for a completed Form U2 (formerly Form E303). You must bring this form to the social services office of the country you are travelling to and register with the unemployment services there within seven days of your arrival.

You may transfer your Jobseeker’s Benefit payment more than once while you are unemployed provided you do not exceed the total maximum period of 13 weeks.

Note: If you return to Ireland on or before the expiry of the 13 weeks in the other European country, you will continue to be entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit in Ireland if you return here. However if you transfer your Jobseeker’s Benefit payment to another European country and stay there for longer than 13 weeks you will lose your entitlement to it if you return to Ireland. You will need to apply for a means tested payment instead (for example Jobseeker’s Allowance).

Can I transfer Jobseeker’s Allowance or Supplementary Welfare Allowance to another European country?

No, you cannot. Jobseeker’s Allowance and Supplementary Welfare Allowance are means tested social assistance payments and cannot be transferred to another country.

If you are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance you can go on holiday for a maximum of two weeks and get the two weeks payment on your return. You must notify your social welfare local office before taking your holiday.

Will I get a once-off lump sum benefit payment if I leave Ireland?

No, you will not.

Can I get tax back when I am unemployed or when I am leaving Ireland?

If you have worked and paid tax since the 1st January and if you are now unemployed and/or leaving Ireland, then you may be entitled to a tax refund if you have unused tax credits. If you have not paid any tax, you will not be due a refund.

To claim a tax refund, you need to complete a form P50. It is available online here or from any Revenue office. You should fill in the form P50 and send it to your local Revenue (tax) office along with Parts 2 and 3 of your P45 given to you by your employer. If you are due a refund, your local Revenue office will send you details of the refund and a cheque for the amount overpaid.

Can I get a refund of my social insurance contributions (PRSI contributions)?

Refunds of PRSI contributions can only be made to employers and employees in certain limited circumstances, usually in cases where contributions have been paid in error or paid at the wrong rate. This can be due to a change of class of contribution income or earnings under the threshold or over the ceiling health contributions paid in error.

For more information on PRSI refunds see

If you think you are eligible for a refund you should contact the PRSI Refunds Section in the Department of Social Protection who will send you a refund application form to fill out.

The application form is also available online here. You should complete the form and send it back together with a copy of the P60 for the previous tax year.

Should I give up my PPS number when I leave Ireland?

No, you cannot give up your PPS number. It is a unique reference number given you for life. You will be able to use the same number even if you come back to Ireland after many years.

Am I entitled to healthcare in another European country?

If you are planning a temporary stay in Europe for holidays or a business trip for example, you should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Local Health Office. This card allows you to access public healthcare services if you become ill or get injured when visiting other European countries. It does not cover private treatment or the cost of transporting you back to Ireland if you become very ill.

You should apply for the card at least one month before travelling if possible. You will need to provide your name, address, date of birth and Personal Public Service Number (PPS No.). There is no charge for the EHIC card.

If you are planning to move permanently to another European country, your rights regarding access to healthcare will depend on which country you are going to, and your economic status – whether you are employed, self-employed, unemployed, retired, a student, or other.

More information on entitlement to healthcare in Europe is available from the European Commission website.

You could also contact your local Europe Direct information centre in Ireland. See for a list of centres in Ireland.

Other information on your rights and entitlements within Europe

The Europe Legal Advice Service provides free advice on your rights within the European Union and can clarify European law that may apply to your case.

You can make an appointment with a European Legal Advisor by phone at 01-634 1111, by email at or through the European Commission Representation in Ireland at European Union House, 18 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, or through the Your Europe Advice website.

Queries can also be submitted via a web form or the free phone number 00800 678 91011. Advice is provided through your own language and within a week of your request.

Useful Contact Details

Irish Government offices

EU/International Records Section, Department of Social Protection, McCarter’s Road, Ardarvan, Buncrana, Co. Donegal, Ireland. Tel: 1890 690 690  or +353 1 471 5898 from abroad. Website:

PRSI Refund Section, Department of Social Protection, Oisín House, 212-213 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel: 01 673 2586 or + 353 1 673 2586 from abroad.

List of local social welfare offices in Ireland:

List of Irish Embassies and Consulates abroad:

Crosscare Migrant Project, 1 Cathedral Street, Dublin 1, Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)1 873 2844. Email: Website:

Irish websites – information on public services and entitlements in Ireland – information on social welfare in Ireland – information on tax in Ireland – information about redundancy and redundancy payments – information about unemployment and leaving Ireland – National Employment Rights Authority - The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) – Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice for European countries

European websites (available in all European languages) – official EU website – Your Europe website – help and advice for EU Nationals and their families – Europe Direct website – EU information service – EURES website – information on living and working in Europe.

Useful publications

Going to the UK? A Practical Guide to Emigrating

Your Social Security Rights in Ireland – a Guide for EU Citizens: Available in English, Irish, French, Polish, German, Lithuanian, Spanish and Latvian

EU Guidelines

Crosscare is a Dublin-based information and advocacy service for emigrants, returnees and immigrants. See for comprehensive pre-departure factsheets for intending Irish emigrants, and monthly emigration news bulletins.

Disclaimer: Crosscare Migrant Project has made every effort to ensure that the information in this guide is accurate; however, policies and legislation can change at any time. All information should be clarified with the relevant government department or authority before any decision is made. Please contact Crosscare Migrant Project if you have any questions.

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