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The First Month of Admin in Ireland

Getting lost in the ghettos in Athens, stepping on a sea urchin while swimming in underwear in Croatia or even getting food poisoning in a Prague hostel does not compare to the emotional roller coaster I have endured while trying to set myself up in Ireland. Would I recommend the move? Probably not. Do I regret the move? Not at all. The system is actually so twisted and unorganised that it has broken me more than once, walking around Dublin in tears is not my ideal situation…

I walk through the streets of Ireland and see so many homeless people and I now realise how it might happen, how they might suddenly find themselves without money to survive. I know that sounds dramatic, but if I didn’t have the amazing Murphy family to live with. It would either be, live on the streets once my savings ran out, or fly home. Literally, I could of been one of them people.

When I got here I had already paid and organised a work holiday visa in Australia. Once I got to the security at the airport they told me I needed to get a card from the Guarda National Bureau of Immigration (GNIB), what I didn’t realise (as I heard you just showed up early in the morning and waited for an appointment) is that you needed to make an appointment and that the next appointment would be in over a months time. I got to Ireland on the 1st of October, the next appointment was the 23rd of November… Now this wouldn’t usually worry me, however without the GNIB card I’m technically not meant to be working. How the hell does the Irish government expect me to survive, without working, for over a whole damn month? Luckily I thought smart before getting to Ireland and didn’t spend all my money in Europe and I have an amazing family to live with!!. But seriously?! How is this even a damn system? I assumed that once I got my visa everything else would fall into place? That’s not the case. 


After calling multiple numbers and getting referred to other numbers, or being told I should email this email and that email I still had no answers, and I was still waiting until the 23rd. By this point I was stressing because I had savings, but do I have enough savings to last me for another month? Plus the €300 I would need to even get the card. After receiving no helpful replies I decided to go to the GNIB hoping that there would be some way that I could get an earlier appointment, considering my passport was stamped and I was meant to be getting it before the 1st of November. Negative, I got told by the lady sitting by the counter with absolutely no sign of a soul “I don’t care, go online and book an appointment” I told her I already had an appointment, she then said “I don’t care, go online” and handed me a piece of paper with the same site on it that I had already visited. I walked out with tears in my eyes, not sure if I wanted to scream, cry or go back in and throw a tantrum. There was nothing I could do, but wait.

Next was my PPS number, which is like the Australian equivalent to a Tax File number, I needed one before I could get paid and before I could get an Irish bank account. However to get one, you needed a letter from an employer saying they will have you working with them, but I couldn’t technically get a job until I got my GNIB card. Luckily I finally found someone who was willing for me to work a few hours a week until I got my GNIB card, so they could write me a letter. No GNIB card means no job, no job means no PPS number, No PPS number means no bank account, its one big vicious circle.


By this point the fees for using my Australian cards is actually becoming ridiculous. So I got all my stuff together to get my PPS number on the 7th of November (this was the first appointment when I checked on the 6th of October) That morning I got up and went to the bus stop (would of been at least 45 minutes early to the appointment) The first bus didn’t arrive and the second bus was late,  I knew I was going to be late for my appointment. I got into town and all but ran to my appointment and the girl at the counter said “Sorry, you’re too late. Go online and check for another appointment”  I was sobbing uncontrollably and searching for a new appointment. The next appointment was the 30th of November, this was not going to work (Remember I need a pps number to get paid and to get a bank account) So I walked out and called my parents (Yep, love them) we talked about it while I cried and tried to breathe, we decided I should go back and wait for someone to not show up to their appointment or cancel. I went back and there was a new person on reception, I told her what had happened while I tried to breathe and calm myself down. She questioned me and checked that my passport was real before slotting me into a new appointment. LIFE SAVER, actually considered sending her flowers or something. All sorted, that came in the mail and it was all done. I then had to organise a bank account.


To organise a bank account, I went into the bank and asked what I would need. They said I needed my name on a utility bill or lease, now because I’m just living with friends that was pretty much impossible, I asked if there was some other way to get it and she said “Or you can call the tax office and get a tax certificate.” For me to get a tax certificate, I would need a job, to get a job I needed my GNIB card. See whats happening here? One big vicious circle! Keeping in mind, that to get a GOVERNMENT PPS number I could just use a letter from the Murphys to say that I’m living with them. Nope not a bank account, I’m literally asking for them to take my money and they don’t even want to give me an account. The way they work actually confuses me constantly, So I’m still working on getting a bank account.


PPS number √


GNIB card √


Bank account…. Still trying to sort that out.

But after all this, I’m living in Ireland guys!! I’m bloody doing it!! Next step is finding an apartment to move into to get out of the Murphy’s hair, get another job to go with my weekend job I have and start saving for my next adventures!

Tips for moving to Ireland:

  • If you know the dates you will be getting to Ireland, book a GNIB meeting in advance, at this website. Keep in mind you will need €300 and a few documents, you will find the document requirements for the visa you have, also on this website… https://burghquayregistrationoffice.inis.gov.ie/


  • You need to book a PPS appointment by signing on and registering with the government social welfare website, you should also see if you can book this appointment in advance as well. You will need your passport, a household bill (no older than three months) and a letter from the owner saying you live there, keep in mind you can’t get a number until you have a letter from an employer saying that you will be working with them. http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Personal-Public-Service-Number-How-to-Apply.aspx


  • The rent is high and the wages are low, start looking for a place well before coming to Ireland if you don’t have anywhere else to stay. BED SHARING is a thing?! And its just as expensive as a room on your own, but because rooms are in such high demand people actually go for it.  http://www.daft.ie/ http://www.rent.ie/


  • Look for jobs before getting here, depending on what you want, set yourself up as soon as possible! http://ie.indeed.com/


  • Dublin County has numbers, Dublin 1 is the city center.


  • To get a bank account you will need your passport, a pps number, a lease or your utility bill or a tax certificate.


Bring woolly socks, an umbrella and a love for Guinness or Whisky. See you soon!


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