Returning to Ireland in a crisis


If you return to Ireland in a crisis, you may need housing, social welfare and medical supports.

This page also has information about COVID-19, returning to Ireland from Ukraine, returning to Ireland after release from prison, and how to contact your nearest Irish embassy.

Returning to Ireland and COVID-19

Since 6 March 2022, all COVID-19 travel restrictions were removed for travellers to Ireland. You do not need to complete a passenger locator form. You do not need proof of vaccination or recovery, or a COVID-19 test. Visit for up-to-date travel advice.

When you arrive in Ireland, you do not have to wear a face covering on public transport. You may be asked to wear a face covering in healthcare settings.

Visit the HSE website for the latest information on COVID-19, including:

  • The symptoms and causes of COVID-19
  • When to call a doctor
  • How to protect yourself and others
  • Advice for at-risk groups
  • COVID-19 during pregnancy

Returning to Ireland from Ukraine

Irish citizens in Ukraine can call the Department of Foreign Affairs on +353 1 408 2000 for emergency consular assistance.

Find information and updates on Ukraine and neighbouring countries on the website.

Read our page ‘Coming to Ireland from Ukraine’ for information for Ukrainian refugees coming to Ireland, or who have already arrived in Ireland.

Emergency accommodation

You should try to arrange somewhere to stay before you return to Ireland. If this is not possible, read the information below.

Returning with nowhere to stay on arrival

If you are homeless when you return to Ireland, you should contact the local authority in the area that you have a local connection to apply for emergency accommodation assistance. As part of the assessment, you must apply for social housing.

In Dublin city, you can call Dublin City Council’s Central Placement Service homeless freephone on 1800 707 707 (2pm to 2am Monday to Friday and 10am to 2am weekends and Bank Holidays). Visit for more information.

There are also day service supports available in urban parts of Ireland such as Dublin and Cork from agencies providing services for homeless people. Many of these services provide showers, lockers and mental health supports.

Homeless abroad

If you are homeless abroad, you should contact the nearest Irish embassy or consulate for local supports. Depending on what country you’re in, there may be Irish support organisations that can help you.

Social welfare assistance

To apply for a social welfare payment without an Irish address, you will need to show that you are engaging with your local authority for emergency accommodation assistance. You will need a PPS number.

If you are homeless in Dublin, you should contact the Homeless Persons Unit on 1800 724 724 to apply for a social welfare payment.

If you are homeless and outside Dublin, you should contact the local authority for details of where to apply for a social welfare payment.

Applying for a social welfare payment can take time and you must meet certain conditions to qualify. You may need to show that Ireland is your main place of residence as part of the ‘habitual residence condition’, and satisfy a means test.

Read more about accessing the Irish social welfare system as a returning Irish emigrant.

Emergency medical needs

If you need emergency medical help, go to the accident and emergency department in the nearest hospital, or call 999 or 112 free of charge. Read more about emergency health services in Ireland.

You can access the public healthcare system as a returning Irish emigrant if you:

  • have been living in Ireland for at least a year, or
  • plan to live here for at least one year

If you meet either of these conditions, you are considered ‘ordinarily resident’ in Ireland.

Returning to Ireland after release from prison or being deported

Contact the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) before you are released and return to Ireland. The ICPO is a charitable organisation that supports Irish prisoners in prisons overseas and when they return.

If you are in a prison overseas and want to apply to transfer to a prison in Ireland, read the ICPO’s information on repatriation.

You can download the ICPO’s step-by-step guide on returning to Ireland after being released from prison (pdf). You can also download a copy of their ‘Resettlement handbook (pdf)’.


If you are being deported to Ireland, you can get consular assistance from the local Irish embassy or consulate.

Make sure to ask for a copy of your deportation papers before your return. You may need these when applying for social welfare payments and other services. You will also need photo ID, ideally a passport.

If the Irish embassy or consulate gives you an emergency travel document, make sure to request a copy of it, as passport control will keep your travel document when you arrive in Ireland.

Contact your local Irish embassy

If you’re in a crisis abroad, you should contact the local Irish embassy or consulate for consular support.

You can choose to register your contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). If necessary and possible, they will contact you during an unexpected crisis, such as a natural disaster or period of civil unrest.

You can also contact the DFA’s Consular Assistance Unit in Dublin by calling +353 1 408 2527 during office hours, or using their online contact form. You can also call +353 1 408 2000 for out-of-hours emergencies.

Other supports for Irish citizens abroad

Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project is a Dublin-based non-profit organisation that offers advice, information, and advocacy support to Irish citizens leaving or returning to Ireland. You can contact them for support in relation to homelessness and social welfare. Visit the Crosscare website for more about returning in crisis.

Safe Home Ireland is a Mayo-based non-profit organisation providing support and information for returning and recently-returned Irish emigrants. This includes limited outreach and home-visiting services throughout Ireland.

Department of Foreign Affairs

Consular Assistance
Tel: +353 1 408 2000

Irish Abroad Unit

Department of Foreign Affairs

80 St Stephen's Green
Dublin 2

Tel: + 353 1 408 2149
Page edited: 23 February 2024