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Know your rights: UK driver licences and Brexit

I’m living in the Republic of Ireland and have a UK driver licence. I would like to convert it to an Irish licence before the end of the Brexit transition period. How do I do this?

When the UK formally left the European Union on 31 January 2020, both sides agreed on a transition period to finalise arrangements. This transition period ends on 31 December 2020. Your UK driver licence will continue to be recognised in Ireland until that date.

You must apply in person at a National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centre to convert your licence to an Irish licence. You must book your appointment online before visiting an NDLS centre. During COVID-19 Level 5 restrictions, NDLS centres remain open for people with booked appointments.

On the day, you should bring:

The citizensinformation.ie website has a full list of documents accepted as proof of identity.

Your completed application form must be accompanied by:

  • Your UK driver licence. If your driving licence is lost or expired, you need a letter of entitlement from the licensing authority in the state that issued your licence
  • A fee of €55

In some cases, driving licence medical or eyesight report forms may be required

You can get information on medical and eyesight report forms on citizensinformation.ie.

It may take up to 3 months for your licence to be exchanged, as each foreign licence must be verified with the country that issued it.

The NDLS also has useful FAQs on Brexit and driving licences (pdf).


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

Citizens Information Centres are currently not open to drop-in callers. You can contact your local centre by phone or email for information and advice.

Know your rights: Support bubbles

What is a support bubble, and can I be part of one?

A support bubble is when an isolated person from one household has close contact with one other household. In a support bubble, also called a paired household, the 2 households can meet indoors, even though they do not live together. This is described as an extended household.

There are special rules about who can form a support bubble. You can only form a support bubble if you:

  • Live alone
  • Live alone with children under the age of 18
  • Share parenting or custody arrangements
  • Live with an adult you provide care for
  • Live by yourself and have a carer or carers who support you, including a live-in carer

Remember that support bubbles can only include 2 households. This means that you cannot:

  • Have close contact with anyone else outside your bubble
  • Join a bubble if the other household is already in a bubble with someone else
  • Be in multiple support bubbles

You can travel outside of your 5km radius to meet with your support bubble. However, you should try to form a bubble within your 5km radius, where possible.

If someone in your support bubble gets symptoms of COVID-19, they must self-isolate immediately and phone a GP for advice. You can find a GP in your area through the HSE website.

Read more about what to do if someone in your bubble gets COVID-19 on gov.ie.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

Citizens Information Centres are currently not open to drop-in callers. You can contact your local centre by phone or email for information and advice.

Ireland is moving to level 5 from midnight on Wednesday, 21 October

The Government has decided to move the whole of Ireland to level 5 on the
Plan for living with COVID-19.  The plan is a framework for managing COVID-19 in Ireland and sets out 5 levels that correspond to the severity of COVID-19 in a location.

Ireland will move to level 5 of the plan for 6 weeks with a review after 4 weeks. The Taoiseach has also announced a new provision of support bubbles – where people who live alone or are isolated can pair with another household. The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will both be increased and the the moratorium on evictions will be reinstated.

Level 5 means that you are asked to stay at home, with the exception of exercise within 5 kilometres of your home. There will be no social or family gatherings. You can meet with 1 other household in an outdoor setting which is not a home or garden, such as a park, including for exercise. Weddings can continue to have up to 25 people in attendance and up to 10 people can attend a funeral.

Only essential workers can travel to work and only essential retail and essential services can remain open. Construction and manufacturing can stay in operation. In addition:

  • Schools, creches and outdoor play areas remain open with restrictive measures in place.
  • People over 70 and people who are medically vulnerable should avoid public transport, shop during designated hours and limit their interactions to a small number of people. Read more about cocooning .
  • Visits to nursing and care homes are suspended except in critical and compassionate circumstances.
  • Public transport can operate with capacity restricted to 25%.

We will update citizensinformation.ie with full details of the measures when they are available. You can get more information from the Government press release and you can read more about level 5.

Budget 2021

Budget 2021 was announced on Tuesday, 13 October 2020. The Budget focuses on the challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit with an overall package of 17.75 billion.

Our Budget 2021 document sets out supports for people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit preparations as well as the main changes in taxation, social welfare, health, housing, education, employment and other areas.

You can access a range of Budget information from gov.ie:

You can also visit the Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform budget website for all the Budget documentation and follow #Budget2021 on Twitter.

Know your rights: National Childcare Scheme (NCS)

I just got a new job. I have a 10-year old child who needs care after school. What help can I get with the cost of childcare?

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) helps parents to meet the costs of childcare. The NCS provides an income assessed subsidy for children up to 15. This is means-tested. As you are working, you can apply for an income assessed childcare subsidy.  The number of subsidised childcare hours you get depends on the number of hours you work and the age of your child. The amount of subsidy you get depends on your income. You can use your subsidy for childcare hours and costs for childcare before and after school and during school holidays.

To qualify for subsidised childcare:

  • You or your partner must be the parent of the child or acting as the child’s parent
  • You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland and have a legal right to live here
  • You must provide your PPS number and the PPS number of your child
  • Your child must be aged between 6 months and 15 years

Your childcare provider must be registered with Tusla. You must apply for the subsidy, but it is paid directly to your childcare provider and they then subtract your subsidy from your childcare bill.

Your income can be assessed in 2 ways:

  • Automatically using information from Revenue and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP). This is the fastest way to be assessed.
  • Manually – you must provide documents such as payslips or DEASP declarations that show your income. 

If you are living with a partner (such as a spouse, civil partner or co-habitant) your combined reckonable income is assessed.   Your reckonable income is the total amount of your net family income from all sources after tax, PRSI and USC have been deducted.  However, some social welfare payments are treated as ‘allowable deductions’.  The citizensinformation.ie website has more details about the allowable deductions.

You get the maximum subsidy rate if your reckonable income is €26,000 or less. Your subsidy rate decreases as your income increases up to the threshold of €60,000.  You can use the subsidy calculator on the NCS website to help you work out how much you will get.

The number of childcare hours you get depends on the hours you (and your partner, if you have one) work, study or train.  As you are working, you are entitled to up to 45 hours of subsidised childcare per week. You will get a reduced number of hours during term time (because your child is in school).  But during the school holidays, you are entitled to the full 45 hours’ subsidy. 

You apply online at ncs.gov.ie. You can also apply by post by contacting the National Childcare Scheme Parent Support Centre. Call (01) 906 8530 (9am – 5pm Monday to Friday) or email NCS@dcya@gov.ie .

The NCS website has a step-by-step guide to the online application process. You can read more about the NCS on the citizensinformation.ie website.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

I’ve just lost my job because my employer had to shut their business during the COVID-19 pandemic. I got a redundancy payment but I’m not sure what social welfare payments I can get. What are my options?

As a newly-unemployed person due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). PUP is a social welfare payment for people who have lost all their employment due to the COVID-19 emergency. You must be aged between 18 and 66 and you must live in the Republic of Ireland. You must also be genuinely looking for work

If you get a redundancy payment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you are eligible to apply for PUP. This applies to both voluntary and compulsory redundancy. If you were temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 and later get a redundancy payment, you are eligible for PUP as long as you continue to meet all the other eligibility criteria. Your redundancy payment does not impact your eligibility for PUP.  

However, PUP may not be the right payment for you if you have a family as PUP does not pay anything extra for dependants. If you have children or a partner or spouse, you may get a higher payment if you apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) instead of PUP.

Your PUP rate of payment is linked to your previous earnings.  If you earned over €300 a week you get €300 a week on PUP. This is reduced if you earned less than €300 weekly. You can get more information on how your payment is linked to your previous average weekly earnings on citizensinformation.ie.

You can apply online for PUP on MyWelfare.ie.  You need:

  • A basic MyGovId account (all you need is an e-mail address and password)
  • Your personal details
  • Your bank details (payment can only be made to an Irish bank account)

PUP payment rates will be reduced in February 2021. PUP will close to new applicants at the end of 2020 and will end on 1 April 2021.

You can read more about who qualifies, other benefits and how to apply on the citizensinformation.ie website.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Ireland is moving to Level 3

Dublin and Donegal are currently at level 3 in the Plan for living with COVID-19. The plan is a framework for managing COVID-19 in Ireland over the next 6 months and sets out 5 levels that correspond to the severity of COVID-19 in a location. Different levels can be in place in different locations in the country.

The Government has announced that the whole country will move to level 3 from midnight 6 October 2020. There will be enhanced measures to make sure people comply with the guidelines.

At level 3, you can have a maximum of 6 visitors to your home from 1 other household only. This may be reduced further in line with public health advice for your area. You should not meet socially in other settings – except for weddings and funerals.

In addition:

  • You should continue to work from home unless it is absolutely necessary to attend in person.
  • You should not travel outside your county.
  • Schools, creches and outdoor play areas are open with restrictive measures in place.
  • People over 70 and people who are medically vulnerable should avoid public transport, shop during designated hours and limit their interactions to a small number of people. Read more about cocooning.
  • Visits to nursing and care homes are suspended except in critical and compassionate circumstances.
  • Public transport can operate with capacity restricted to 50%.

Read more about level 3.

Know your rights: Fuel Allowance

I’m getting a State pension. Can I get help with my heating costs?

You may qualify for a Fuel Allowance. This is paid to people on long-term social welfare payments who are unable to pay for their own heating needs. If you are getting a State pension you may qualify for the allowance as long as you live alone or only with:

  • A dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and/or dependent children
  • Other people getting one of the qualifying payments who would also be eligible for a Fuel Allowance in their own right
  • A person who is getting Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit and is caring for you or for your dependent spouse, partner or cohabitant on a full-time basis
  • A person getting COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), short-term Jobseeker’s Allowance or basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance

You also need to satisfy a means test. A means test examines your income to establish your means. If you are on a State Pension (Non-Contributory) you automatically satisfy the means test. If you are getting the State Pension (Contributory) you satisfy the means test if you have means of €100 or less per week.

If two or more people living in the same household qualify for the allowance, only one allowance is paid. If your heating needs are met in other ways (for example, if you live in local authority housing where heating is provided) you do not qualify for Fuel Allowance. The Fuel Allowance season usually runs from October to April each year for 28 weeks. You can choose to get the allowance paid weekly, €24.50 per week or in 2 lump sums of €343 – one paid at the start of the season and the second, in January.

If you think you are eligible, you should apply immediately. The allowance is not backdated. You can get an application form for Fuel Allowance (NFS1) from your post office or Intreo centre.   You can read more about the Fuel Allowance on the citizensinformation.ie website.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in theFind a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: COVID-19 and school attendance

When should I keep my child home from school during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Keeping schools open during the COVID-19 emergency is a Government priority.

However, many parents have questions about when to keep primary school children at home during the pandemic.

Your child should not go to school if they have:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 – common symptoms are a high temperature,  a cough, shortness of breath, loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • Been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
  • Been living with someone who is unwell and may have coronavirus
  • An existing breathing condition that has recently got worse

If any of these apply, you should:

  • Keep your child at home and completely avoid contact with other people, as much as possible. This means they must self-isolate. They should only leave your home to see your GP or have a COVID-19 test.
  • Phone your GP. They will advise you if your child needs a test.
  • Treat your child at home for their symptoms.

No one in your household should go to school, childcare or work until your child gets a diagnosis from their GP or a COVID-19 test result. This means they should restrict their movements.

If your child has other symptoms

You should keep your child at home for at least 48 hours, if they have:

  • Headaches or a sore throat – usually, after 48 hours you can send your child back to school as long as their symptoms do not get worse, they do not develop new symptoms and they do not need paracetamol or ibuprofen during the period.
  • Diarrhoea – they should stay at home until they have had no diarrhoea for 48 hours.

You and your family can continue your normal routine.  You do not need to restrict your movements as long as you are not ill.

If your child has travelled abroad

Your child needs to stay at home and not go to school if they have returned from a country that is not on the green list. They need to restrict their movements for 14 days. They do not need to see a GP unless they develop coronavirus symptoms. You should always check travel advice on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Citizens Information and COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, public service information is rapidly changing. The Citizens Information website collates information from across the full range of government sources and our team works hard to keep the information accurate and focused on citizens’ needs. There may sometimes be a time lag between information being published by another government department or agency and our content being updated. This is because we want to make sure we check the information fully and integrate it on our website.

If you want to give us feedback on information published on this site or if you think anything is missing you can email us directly at ciofeedback@ciboard.ie

You can also contact us via our social media channels  – on Twitter at @citizensinfo and on Facebook at @citizensinformation

Note that we cannot respond to queries through our feedback channel. If you need information and advice you can contact:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centre offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in our Find a Centre page.