How to apply

Available for 5-21 year olds living in Scotland

The National Entitlement Card is your key to opening doors and unlocking your potential

How you apply depends on where you live and the age of the young person.

Answer the questions below to see how you can apply for your, or your child’s, new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC).

A parent, guardian or carer will need to apply if the young person is under the age of 16.

What age is the young person?

Find out more about how to apply below

Information for parents, guardians or carers of a 5−15 year old

A parent, guardian or carer must apply on behalf of 5–15 year olds for a new NEC or Young Scot NEC with the free travel entitlement on it – even if they already have a card.

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

If your child is aged under 12, they don’t need their photograph on their National Entitlement Card (NEC). If your child is 11 years old, you can request a card with a photograph ahead of their 12th birthday, and you might choose to apply for a Young Scot NEC. During Primary 7, your school may contact you to ask if you would like a Young Scot NEC to be ordered for your child.

For those aged 11 and over, it’s your choice whether you apply for a Young Scot NEC or a standard NEC. Remember that Young Scot offers discounts, rewards, membership and is PASS accredited, meaning you can use a Young Scot NEC as proof of age. Find out more at young.scot/card.

Remember that free bus travel is available nationwide! This means your child can travel across Scotland, so please take care when making the decision about applying for them. It’s a big responsibility – but it can come with fantastic benefits and opportunities.

Information for 16−21 year olds

You should apply for a new card with the free travel entitlement on it.

Alternatively, if you already have an active NEC or Young Scot NEC issued prior to applications opening on 10 January 2022, 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.

And no – you can’t ask someone else to apply for you! You need to apply yourself, but it’s easy and you could even use your existing card as proof of your identity.

What kind of card can I apply for?

You can choose to apply for the Young Scot NEC (for those aged 11 and over) or a standard NEC. If you do choose a Young Scot NEC, you can use it to save money with in-person and online discounts – with over 500 discounts in Scotland and over 100,000 deals across Europe. You can also use it as proof of age! What’s more, you can collect points by taking part in activities and exchanging these for Rewards. Find out more at young.scot/card.

Information for parents, guardians or carers of someone under 5 years old

You don’t need to apply for children who are under 5 years old as they can already travel for free on buses in Scotland and don’t need a card. But don’t forget to apply when your wee one turns 5 to open up a world of possibility! You can apply up to two weeks before their 5th birthday.

Learn more about us and how the Scottish Government and bus operators are working together.

Please remember – all journeys made under the scheme must be recorded so that the Scottish Government can reimburse bus operators for carrying you for free. Tapping your card at the ticket machine on board the bus each time you travel makes this possible.

Getting the bus

If getting the bus is new to you, here are some handy tips for turning you into a bus-trip pro.

How it works

Find out who is eligible for free bus travel and what buses you can use. 

Planning a journey

It’s always a good idea to plan your journey but especially if you are new to it.

Staying safe

Here are some handy tips to keep yourself safe throughout your journey.