Difference between Personal Public Service Number and Verification of Identity Number

Difference between Personal Public Service Number and Verification of Identity Number

Navigating through various identification numbers can be confusing, especially when dealing with systems from different countries. In Ireland, the Personal Public Service (PPS) number plays a crucial role, while a Verification of Identity (VOI) number serves a different purpose. Let’s dive into the distinctions between these two types of identification numbers and understand their specific uses and importance. Understanding the Difference between Personal Public Service (PPS) Number and Verification of Identity Number when you want to register a company in Ireland is important. You will not be required to register a PPSN before a company registration in Ireland.

Personal Public Service (PPS) Number

The PPS number in Ireland is an essential identifier for residents of Ireland and Directors of companies abroad. It is similar to the Social Security Number (SSN) in the United States or the National Insurance Number in the UK. Here’s a detailed look at what the PPS number entails:

Purpose and Use

  • Government Services: The PPS number is primarily used to access various public services and benefits in Ireland. This includes social welfare, health services, and education.
  • Employment: Employers require your PPS number to process payroll and ensure proper tax contributions.
  • Banking and Finance: Banks often require a PPS number to open accounts and manage financial transactions.
  • Taxation: The Revenue Commissioners use the PPS number for tax identification, ensuring proper tax assessment and collection.
  • Education: It is used in the educational sector for student identification and record-keeping.


  • Uniqueness: Each PPS number is unique to an individual, ensuring precise identification across various systems.
  • Format: The number consists of seven numeric characters followed by one or two letters (e.g., 1234567AB).
  • Confidentiality: It is a confidential identifier, and misuse or sharing without consent is generally prohibited.

Verification of Identity (VOI) Number

The VOI number, on the other hand, serves a different function. While it might sound similar, it does not equate to a national identification number and has specific use cases depending on the context and country. Here’s what you need to know:

Purpose and Use

  • Specific Contexts: VOI numbers are often used in scenarios where identity verification is crucial but not linked to a broad array of services like the PPS number. Examples include certain financial transactions, real estate dealings, or specific regulatory processes and identity for the purposes of a company formation.
  • Temporary and Situational: Unlike the PPS number, a VOI number may be temporary or situational, used for a particular transaction or verification process.


  • Functionality: The primary function is to verify an individual’s identity for a specific purpose, ensuring that the person is who they claim to be.
  • Flexibility: The format and requirements for a VOI number can vary significantly depending on the context and issuing authority.
  • Not Nationally Recognized: Unlike the PPS number, a VOI number is not a widely recognized national identifier and does not link to comprehensive public services.

Key Differences

  1. Scope and Application:
    • PPS Number: Broad application across multiple public and private sectors in Ireland.
    • VOI Number: Narrow application, often for specific transactions or processes.
  2. Longevity:
    • PPS Number: Permanent and unique to the individual for life.
    • VOI Number: May be temporary or limited to the duration of a specific transaction or verification process.
  3. Recognition:
    • PPS Number: Widely recognized and used across Ireland for various essential services.
    • VOI Number: Context-specific and not a nationally recognized identifier.


Understanding the distinction between a Personal Public Service (PPS) number and a Verification of Identity (VOI) number is crucial, especially when dealing with bureaucratic processes and legal requirements. The PPS number is a vital, lifelong identifier in Ireland, facilitating access to a wide range of services. In contrast, a VOI number is often temporary and context-specific, used primarily for verifying identity in particular transactions. Recognizing these differences can help individuals navigate various administrative and legal landscapes more effectively.

How to apply for a PPSN:

You can contact a local PPSN office for information or if you live outside Ireland and own more than 14% of the shares of a company you can apply through us using our online forms for a Personal Public Service Number (PPS) Application