Transferring your social security entitlements abroad


If you move to live or work in a country covered by EU Regulations, this means that for social security benefits or services, you are entitled to be treated in the same way as the nationals in the EEA country that you move to. On a practical level, this means that you and your family are entitled to apply for any benefits or assistance available in the country in which you reside. If you are applying for insurance-based payments, any contributions made in other EEA countries should be taken into account.

Before you leave Ireland

You can get forms E104 and U1 (formerly E301) if you are moving within the EU/EEA - see 'How to apply' below. The U1 is called a portable document and it provides details of your Irish social insurance record. You can use them when claiming sickness, maternity or unemployment benefits abroad.

If you don’t bring your E104 or U1 with you, the country you have moved to will contact Irish authorities and obtain a record of your insurance contributions when you apply to them for unemployment, sickness or maternity benefits. A request from another EU member state for your social insurance record will be prioritised by the Department of Social Protection so that you don’t lose out on any benefits due to you when abroad.

If you are returning to Ireland from a country in the EEA, you should bring an E104 and U1 form back with you as they will provide details of the insurance contributions you made in that country. The forms are presented at the relevant social security agency of the country you are living in when you are making a claim.

Transfer of Jobseeker's Benefit abroad

If you go to another EEA country to look for work you may be able to transfer your Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) for up to 13 weeks. You must be getting Jobseeker's Benefit for 4 weeks before you can transfer it to another EEA coutry. From 1 May 2010 new EU Regulations came into effect (pdf) which mean that if you apply to transfer your Jobseeker's Benefit, it will be paid directly to you. You will still be required to register with the employment services of the country where you have gone to look for work within a week.

If you are leaving Ireland to move to Northern Ireland or Britain your Social Welfare Local Office will issue you with the Form U2 (formerly Form E303) which you take to the UK social services. If you are moving to another EU country the Department of Social Protection will send the U2 form to your new address in that EU country.

How to apply

A request for an E104 or U1 by another EU member state is always prioritised by the Department. This is because a person who is unemployed or sick abroad has made a claim for benefit and it must be dealt with as quickly as possible.

If you want to bring your E104 and U1 with you, you can request your Irish social insurance record for E104 and U1/E301 (pdf) before leaving. Processing your application can take some time as the DSP may have to contact your former employer before the E104 and U1 forms can be issued.

You should send the completed application form to the International Records Section of the Department of Social Protection (DSP) - see 'Where to apply' below. With your application, you must include a copy of your P45, a copy of your P60 and remember to include the address abroad where you will be staying when you leave Ireland.

Where to apply

International Records Section

Department of Social Protection
McCarter's Road
Tel: +353 (0)1 471 5898
Locall: 1890 690 690

Last Updated: 31/10/2013

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Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.

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