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National Entitlement Card FAQs

The situation so far

Applications for new, replacement and renewed National Entitlement Cards (NECs) or Young Scot National Entitlement Cards are currently being accepted. However, what is available to you, and how you can access this, varies across Scotland due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

You can apply for a card online at getyournec.scot or through your local council. More information about how to apply is below.

Due to the current situation with the pandemic, some local councils may not be able to offer in-person applications at all times so please do check their website or call before setting off. It may also take longer than normal for your application to be processed. Please allow up to 4 weeks for your card to arrive.

Please check the latest government COVID-19 guidance before travelling and check gov.scot/coronavirus for more information.

  • Please allow up to 4 weeks for applications made via your local council (or other agency) or via getyournec.scot.

    If you have applied for a Young Scot NEC through your school, the school should provide more information on when your card will be delivered.

  • Applications for new, replacement or renewed cards are currently being processed without the need to request this in person.

    People living in all council areas can apply online for a new, renewed or replacement card at getyournec.scot. Concessionary cardholders (disabled people, over 60s and young people) can also update their photo and personal details through getyournec.scot. If you wish to apply for a new card online, you will need:

    • proof of identity, e.g. passport or driving license
    • proof of address, e.g. bank statement
    • a device with a camera or a webcam, e.g. laptop/tablet/smartphone

    If you are applying for free bus travel for children and young people under 22, there are some extra documents needed (see 'Information on free bus travel for young people' below).

    If you don't have these documents, you can still apply for a card but you will need to use an offline route such as your local council.

    Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and some councils are offering appointments via phone or email.

    The Post Office is also able to process applications from those aged 60+ in SPT council areas, as well as Aberdeenshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland and Perth & Kinross.

    Due to the current situation with the pandemic, some local councils may not be able to offer in-person applications at all times so please do check their website or call before setting off. It may also take longer than normal for your application to be processed.

    Please contact your local council if you have any queries about applying for a NEC/Young Scot NEC.

    Please stay safe by following government guidance when travelling and check gov.scot/coronavirus for more information.

  • Online applications for new, renewed and replacement cards are now available through getyournec.scot.

    Concessionary cardholders (disabled people, over 60s and young people) can also update their photo and personal details through getyournec.scot.

    Before you apply online this is what you’ll need.

    You won’t be able to save and resume your application, so please get this information ready before you start.

    Applying for a National Entitlement Card/Young Scot NEC for yourself aged 16+?

    To apply you will need:

    • a device with a camera or webcam (laptop/tablet/phone).
    • to sign in using your mygovscot myaccount (Click Register if you don’t have one).
    • a recent digital photo showing your head and shoulders.
    • proof of identity (passport, driving licence, Young Scot card, Biometric Residence Permit or use your Yoti account)
    • proof of address (such as Council Tax bill or bank statement)

    Parent applying on behalf of your child aged under 16?

    To apply you will need:

    • a device with a camera or webcam (laptop/tablet/phone).
    • to sign in using your mygovscot myaccount (Click Register if you don’t have one).
    • parent proof of identity (passport, driving licence, Young Scot card, Biometric Residence Permit or use your Yoti account)
    • parent proof of address (such as Council Tax bill or bank statement)
    • proof of your child's identity (eg. birth certificate (if under 11 only), passport, Biometric Residence Permit or Young Scot card)
    • proof of your child's address (only if they live at a different address from you)
    • child's birth or adoption certificate (listing both your name and your child)
      Note: abbreviated birth certificates will NOT be accepted
    • a recent digital image of the child (if aged 11+) showing their head and shoulders.

    See a full list of accepted proof of address and photograph guidelines.

    If you do not have the documents you need

    If you don't have these documents, you can still apply for a card but you will need to apply through your local council.

  • From 31 January 2022, nearly a million 5-21 year olds living in Scotland are eligible for free bus travel through the National Entitlement Card (NEC) and the Young Scot branded NEC. This will embed sustainable travel behaviours from a young age, open doors to new opportunities, and help to meet our target of net zero emissions by 2045.

    The Scottish Government is working with its partners at the Improvement Service and National Entitlement Card Programme Office – who are responsible for the management of the NEC and support local authorities with the application process – and Young Scot to deliver the scheme.

    If you are 5-21 years old and live in Scotland you are eligible for free bus travel.

    All children and young people aged 5-21 will need to apply for a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) to access free bus travel. Previously issued cards will not allow you access to the scheme. Children aged under 5 years do not need a card as they already travel for free on commercial bus services across Scotland.

    However, if you’re aged between 16 and 21 and you already have an active NEC or Young Scot NEC, you can download free bus travel onto your existing card using the Transport Scot Pass Collect app. This means you may not need to apply for a new card to access your free bus travel.

    Active cards are those received since 2016 – they’ll have a long number next to the ITSO logo and, if there’s a date of birth shown, it will be highlighted with a pink strip. Please note, any NECs which are dedicated matriculation cards aren’t compatible with the app.

    Find out more about how to download and use the app.

    The photograph on the card must look like you (if your NEC or Young Scot NEC includes a photo) to travel by bus for free.

    Freebus.scot provides all the information needed to apply.

    How to apply

    There are two ways to apply:

    In some local council areas, schools are coordinating applications on behalf of their pupils. Schools will contact parents/guardians and pupils directly if this arrangement is in place.

    Applying online through getyournec.scot

    Before you apply online this is what you’ll need.

    You won’t be able to save and resume your application, so please get this information ready before you start.

    Applying for a National Entitlement Card or Young Scot NEC for yourself aged 16+?

    To apply you will need:

    • a device with a camera or webcam (laptop/tablet/phone).
    • to sign in using your mygovscot myaccount (Click Register if you don’t have one).
    • a recent digital photo showing your head and shoulders.
    • proof of identity (passport, driving licence or use your Yoti account)
    • proof of address (such as Council Tax bill or bank statement)

    Parent applying on behalf of your child aged under 16?

    To apply you will need:

    • a device with a camera or webcam (laptop/tablet/phone).
    • to sign in using your mygovscot myaccount (Click Register if you don’t have one).
    • parent proof of identity (passport, driving licence or use your Yoti account)
    • parent proof of address (such as Council Tax bill or bank statement)
    • proof of your child's identity (eg. birth certificate (if under 11 only), passport or Young Scot card)
    • proof of your child's address (only if they live at a different address from you)
    • child's birth or adoption certificate (listing both your name and your child)
      Note: abbreviated birth certificates will NOT be accepted
    • a recent digital image of the child (if aged 11+) showing their head and shoulders.

    See a full list of accepted proof of address and photograph guidelines.

    (Why do we ask for all these proofs?)

    If you do not have the documents you need

    If you don't have these documents, you can still apply for a card but you will need to apply through your local council.

    A fuller set of FAQs on the Young Persons' Free Bus Travel Scheme is available on the Transport Scotand website.

  • These FAQs are reviewed every two weeks and updated accordingly.

    Information and updates on the NEC application process will be available on each local council's website and social media accounts.

    Any changes to card processing arrangements and to the resumption of face-to-face verification will also be published and communicated to all scheme users on a regular basis.

We are here to help

If you applied for a card at getyournec.scot, you can check the status of your application online. Please note that though we aim to review all online applications within 10 working days (2 weeks), during busy periods it may take slightly longer.

For queries about online applications, please contact the getyournec.scot helpdesk.

If you have query about an application made through your local council, please contact your council directly.

If you have had problems using your card on the bus or with the Transport Scot Pass Collect app, please contact Transport Scotland at concessionarytravel@transport.gov.scot

If you have a query about the extra Young Scot services on your card, contact info@young.scot

More information on the NEC scheme can be found here:

More information of the concessionary travel scheme can be found here:

Created and published by the Improvement Service in partnership with NECPO, Transport Scotland and Young Scot. Information accurate and true as of May 2022.