Tips for Moving to Great Britain from Ireland // Getting Proof of Name, Address and Photo ID

Elizabeth Tower on the Thames

Tips for Moving to Great Britain from Ireland // Getting Proof of Name, Address and Photo ID

I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for a while. There are a few things people tend to forget when moving from Ireland to Great Britain.

Here are a few tips to make life easier for you.

If you are living in a country other than the one that you were born in, you really should have proof of name, address and photo identification from that country.  There are lots of reasons why you will want these but first you will need a few things.

Irish Passport Cover - nessymon

Hold a Valid Passport

Although you don’t need a passport to travel to Great Britain from Ireland, you will need to show your future employer that you are eligible to work in Great Britain.  Make sure you have at least a year validity left. This shouldn’t matter but the way things are here at the moment with Brexit, this shows that you have the same work / live entitlements in Great Britain as British citizens.

Get a Passport Card

This is a driving licence / bank card size card that you can stick in your wallet and travel anywhere around the EU with. It’s valid for five years and it costs €35 euro plus postage from It should be with you in about ten days plus postage time.

Now, it’s time to get your British Identification!

There's a computer on a table, a person holding a phone, a cup of tea and chocolate and a badge saying Keep Calm and Carry On

Get a National Insurance Number

A National Insurance Number is the same as an Irish PPSN number. It’s your social security number. If you want to work in Great Britain, you need to apply for one.

When I got mine, way back in 2001, I had to wait for about 4 weeks and then go for an interview.

You can apply online. If you have any questions you can ask at your local Job Centre.  You can start working before you have one but you may be emergency taxed. Once your employer knows that it’s on the way, they should be fine.

Get a British Driving Licence

‘But I don’t drive’, I hear you cry. Neither do I but I still have a British provisional driving licence. It’s an amazing piece of identification to have if you’re living in Great Britain.

It will state your name, address, date of birth, place of birth and your photo. This means it could be used for proof of name, proof of address, photo ID.

Now remember that Passport Card you got? Send that to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) when you are applying instead of your Passport Book. Things can get lost. A lot. If you lose your passport card, it’s not the end of the world, you still have your passport book.

You can apply online for your provisional licence here.

Open a Bank Account

When I moved back to London in 2013, I didn’t have a permanent address but I did have a job.

You will need proof of name / address and a passport for this. I also had proof of name / address for Ireland.

You need to bring any letter stating that you have applied for a National Insurance number. With many of the banks, they will also allow you to open an account with them if you have a letter from your employer stating that they need to pay you for the work you are doing for them. In this case, the bank may also ask to see your Contract of Employment.

Doctor's stethoscope

Register with a Doctor / Dentist

It’s important to register with a GP or medical practice, not only if you get sick, but letters from your GP / NHS are great proofs of name and address.

Basically go to the NHS website and give it a read. There are a few things to take into consideration including where your potential GP is.  You must be in the catchment area for the medical practice and they must have the capacity to take on new patients. You can put your new postcode into this website and it will show you all available practices.

You will have to go to the medical centre and get the once over, but you’ll be fully registered then.

Doctor’s and hospital visits are free but this can mean it can take a week or two, depending on the surrounding population, to get an appointment.

Please don’t take the piss out of the NHS, I had a work colleague tell me he ended up in A&E on a Sunday afternoon with stomach pains  – it was indigestion, he had too much to eat. NHS workers are heroes.

A dentist is easier to deal with, you don’t have catchment areas to contend with. You can find out more here.

Roof of a House

Register To Pay Council Tax

If you are renting an apartment / flat, you need to pay council tax. Everyone does. Sometimes your landlord with include this in your rent. Also, if you are in full time education, you do not need to pay Council Tax. (Don’t take my word for it – double check this). Council Tax is paid to your local council and pays for things like refuse collections, street lighting and libraries. You can get some info here.

If there are a few of you sharing a house / apartment, make sure that each of you are named on the council tax. It’s another proof that you are living in Great Britain. Plus, you don’t want to get landed with a bill if everyone else moves out. Keep the names updated.

Register To Vote

If you’re Irish, you can vote in Great Britain if you’re resident here. You need to get your National Insurance number before you can do that.  But please do vote and vote well.

You can register to vote here.

Citizen Card - Great Britain. Picture of young lady with her name date of birth and photograph.

Get British Photo Identification

There are two other possibilities for photo ID that you can use. You could use these to travel to / from Ireland with anyone except Ryanair (Check out my blog post on that here).

A Validate Card an identification card recognised by the British Government. Anyone can get this card, you don’t have to be over 18.

It costs between £15 and £40 depending on how fast you need it. £40 will get you a card overnight.

You can apply online or you can fill in this application form.

A Citizen Card is an identification card recognised by the British Government. Think of these equivalent of a Garda Age Card.  You can get that in a few days and it costs £30 for a 2 day turnaround. A five day turnaround will cost £15. (You can also apply for replacement cards if you lose it.

You can apply for a Citizen Card using a referee who knows you and any of the following:

  • birth certificate
  • certified copy of a birth certificate
  • NHS Medical Card
  • CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) Check document
  • European Health Insurance Card.

You can also a referee who doesn’t know you as long as you have

  • passport
  • UK photo driving licence
  • EU National ID Card
  • Home Office approved photo ID
  • PASS card (bearing the PASS hologram).

You can apply here

Finally you have your Proof of Name and Address!

Once you get these things together, plus a rental / tenancy agreement, life will become easier for you.

You will need to register for energy bills, water, internet. Keep all this documents together, keep payslips, polling cards, all in a safe place. If you get your bills online, put them in a folder in the cloud that you can access. Good luck, off you go and be a proper citizen!