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Young Scot and the National Entitlement Card (NEC)

Young Scot is the national youth information and citizenship charity for Scotland. They provide 11 to 26 year olds with information, ideas and incentives to help them become confident, informed and active citizens.

Young Scot seeks the views of young people in order to shape their services. They run consultations on issues such as alcohol, climate change, and substance misuse.

National Entitlement Card (NEC)

This free electronic smart card gives you access to council services, concessionary travel, discounts and special offers and can be used as proof of age. Ask for the Young Scot logo to be included on your OneScotland National Entitlement card in your application.

In North Ayrshire you can use your card:

  • for concessionary travel for older and disabled people
  • as a catering card in secondary, and some primary, school dining halls
  • to access our library service
  • to get concessionary travel – 1/3 off single bus and rail fares and if you live on Arran or Cumbrae, you can get 2 free return journeys to the mainland every year (for full time volunteers aged 19 to 25 years and young people aged 16 to 18 years). Please see the Concessionary travel page on the Transport Scotland website for more information.
  • to get Young Scot discounts and special offers in over 1,500 shops and services across Scotland and 80,000 across Europe
  • as proof of age
  • Free Bus Travel for 5 to 21 Year Olds (as of 31 January 2022). Please see Young Persons' Free Bus Travel Scheme for more information.

How can I get a NEC?

Moving to S1

Every P7 child in North Ayrshire will receive a form in Spring. The information on this form must be checked, changed if necessary, signed on behalf of any pupils under the age of 12 and returned to your school by the specified date.

Pictures for the card will be taken at primary school and the finished card will be sent to the pupil's home address in time for starting secondary school.

Applying for a card or renewing a card

Applications can be made by anyone aged between 12 and 25.

The National entitlement card website provides information on how the card can be used in your area.

You can now apply for a National Entitlement Card online, including applications for cards with Young Persons’ Free Bus Travel element as of 10 January 2022. 

The online process has been created by the Improvement Service to make applying more accessible. To apply online, the device you are using requires a camera and applicants require to have a valid UK photo driving licence or a valid UK passport.

To apply online, you must be at least 12 years old and need to visit Get your NEC where you will be taken through the process of setting up a My Account profile and then through the application process. 

Please note: if you are looking to have the Young Persons’ Free Bus Travel element added to your card and you are under 16 your parent will need apply on your behalf as this requires parental permission. 

If you require assistance or have any queries regarding getmynec please view their help section.

Other methods

If you are unable to apply online, please email necadmin@north-ayrshire.gov.uk to ask for an application form or call 01294 310000.

We may ask you to send further supporting evidence, examples below, please ensure you have these: 

  • Proof of age: Birth Certificate, Passport, photo driving licence, Adoption Certificate, Marriage Certificate, PASS hologrammed card
  • Proof of address: letter from school/university/etc., bank statement, photo driving licence, Council Tax bill, Benefit book, council rent card, recent utility bill or recent mortgage statement
  • Photographic evidence: passport, photo driving licence, PASS hologrammed card

Young Persons' Free Travel Scheme

From 31 January, nearly a million 5 to 21 year olds living in Scotland will be eligible to benefit from free bus travel. The scheme will embed sustainable travel behaviours from a young age, open doors to new opportunities, and help tot meet our target of net zero emissions by 2045.

Children and young people who are 5 to 21 years old will need a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot Nation Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) to travel for free by bus. Parents or guardians of 5 to 15 year olds must apply on their behalf. 

Children under 5 years old already travel for free on commercial bus services and do no need a card, however you can apply two weeks before your child is due to turn 5 for their card.

For latest news on free travel scheme please see the Scottish Governments information on free bus travel for under 22s and for further information on the legislation can also be found on Transport Scotlands National Bus Travel Concession Scheme for Young Persons page. 

Who is eligible?

If you are 5 to 21 years old and live in Scotland then you are eligible for free bus travel from 31 January 2022, no matter your nationality. 

AgeWhich NEC?Approval required?
0 to 4 year olds No card needed to travel for free by bus N/A
5 to 10 year olds NEC Parent/guardian to apply
11 to 15 year olds NEC, or Young Scot NEC Parent/guardian to apply
16 to 21 year olds NEC, or Young Scot NEC Apply by themselves

You can apply online for a new or replacement card with free travel from 10 January 2022 at Get Your NEC where you will be taken through the process of setting up a My Account profile and then through the application process. 

Rules & regulations

You're the only person allowed to use your NEC. It's not transferable. Allowing someone else to use it is fraud. This may lead to the card being cancelled and your entitlements withdrawn.