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

Voters who are registered to vote and want to vote in a polling station need to show photo ID before being given a ballot paper in polling stations. This applies to some but not all elections.

Which elections need photo ID?

Voters need to show photographic ID at polling stations when voting in the following elections:

  • UK Parliament elections, including recall petitions
  • Police and crime commissioner elections
  • All elections in Northern Ireland
  • Local elections in England, including mayoral and parish elections

Polling stations must have an area for voters who want to show their ID in private.

Elections that do not need photo ID

People voting in Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru, or council elections in Scotland and Wales do not need to show photo ID.

What photo ID is allowed?

Where photo ID is required only certain types of photo ID are allowed. These are detailed on the Electoral Commission’s Accepted forms of photo ID page.

These include:

  • A passport issued by the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, any British Overseers Territory, any of the countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a Commonwealth country
  • A driving licence or provisional driving licence issued by the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
  • A Blue Badge
  • Some concessionary travel cards for older or disabled voters issued by the UK Government or devolved governments in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Check the Electoral Commission page for the full list
  • Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Other government issued documents including an MOD ID card and  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 Identity Cards issued in Northern Ireland

Out of date ID from the list is acceptable if the photo is still a true likeness. The presiding officer, the person in charge of the polling station, must decide if ID shows a true likeness.

If someone is registered to vote anonymously and wants to vote in person, they must apply for an Anonymous Elector’s 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 briefing paper on voter ID provides more detail.

Will other forms of ID be added?

The Government has said it will keep the list of allowable ID under review but has no current plans to add to the list.

Further information

About the author: Neil Johnson is a researcher at the House of Commons Library, specialising in elections.


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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