This information should not be relied upon as legal or professional advice. Read the disclaimer.

Voters need to show photographic ID at polling stations in several types of UK elections. Including:

  • UK Parliament elections
  • Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) elections
  • Northern Ireland Assembly elections; and,
  • Local elections in England and Northern Ireland.

Those who try to vote in person at these elections without ID will be turned away and asked to come back to the polling station with it.

Voters currently don’t need ID when voting in Scottish Parliament elections, Senedd Cymru/ Welsh Parliament elections and Local elections in Scotland and Wales.

Don’t forget voters need to be registered to vote to take part in any UK election or referendum. The Library has explained who can register to vote and how to do so in another consistency casework article.

What ID is accepted?

The following types of ID will be accepted when voting in UK Parliament, PCC and English local elections:

  • Passports issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, any British Overseers Territory, any of the countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth country.
  • Driving licences issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state. Including provisional driving licences.
  • Parking badges for disabled people, known as Blue Badges.
  • Several concessionary travel cards designed for older and disabled people including the Older Person’s Bus Pass, Disabled Person’s Buss Pass, Oyster 60+ Card, Freedom Pass and equivalent passes and cards in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Proof of Age Standards Scheme cards, commonly known as PASS cards.
  • Other government issued documents including Biometric immigration documents and national identity cards issued by any EEA state
  • Specific ID documents issued for voting including the Voter Authority Certificate and Electoral Identify Cards issued in Northern Ireland.

ID doesn’t need to be in date. Out of date ID is acceptable if the photo is still a true likeness. The presiding officer, the person in charge of the polling station, ultimately decides if out-of-date ID is accepted on polling day.

The types of ID accepted when voting in Northern Ireland Assembly and local elections in Northern Ireland is slightly different. The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland has provided information on the ID accepted for these elections on its website.

What ID isn’t accepted?

There are many types of concessionary travel cards that won’t be accepted as ID when voting in UK Parliament, PCC and English local elections. Railcards and 18+ Student Oyster photocards (amongst others) won’t be accepted. People who aren’t sure if their travel card will be accepted can check the full list of accepted forms of photo ID on GOV.UK. They may also consider applying for a Voter Authority Certificate.

Student cards won’t be accepted unless they are PASS accredited like the National Union of Students TOTUM card.

It also won’t be acceptable to show a picture or copy of the photo-ID instead of the original document.

Why are some concessionary travel cards accepted and not others?

The acceptable forms of photo ID have been chosen to include those that are secure and widely held amongst the electorate.

The Government assessed the security of different forms of ID. Some additional forms of ID were selected with lower security scores than passports and driving licences that are held by people less likely to have other forms of ID, such as Oyster 60+ and Freedom passes and Blue Badges.

The Government explained more about how it chose the ID that would be accepted to vote in a policy paper published in January 2022. The Library has discussed the issue in more detail in its briefing paper on voter ID.

What about those voting anonymously?

Those registered to vote anonymously can apply for Anonymous Elector’s Document if they want to vote in person. The application process is like that for Voter Authority Certificates.

Further information


The Commons Library does not intend the information in this article to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual. We have published it to support the work of MPs. You should not rely upon it as legal or professional advice, or as a substitute for it. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein. You should consult a suitably qualified professional if you require specific advice or information. Read our briefing for information about sources of legal advice and help.

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