The government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo identification (ID) when voting at a polling station at some elections.

This new requirement will apply for the first time in England at the local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023.

Voters who do not have an accepted form of ID can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate using the government portal.

You only need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate if:

  • you do not have accepted photo ID
  • you no longer look like the photo on your ID
  • the name on your photo ID is different to your name on the electoral register

Photo ID you can use

Acceptable forms of photo ID

  • passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state
  • biometric immigration document
  • identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • blue badge
  • national identity card issued by an EEA state
  • older person’s bus ass
  • disabled person’s bus pass
  • Oyster 60+ Card
  • Freedom Pass
  • Scottish National Entitlement Card issued in Scotland
  • 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • War Disablement SmartPass or War Disabled SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland
  • Voter Authority Certificate or a temporary Voter Authority Certificate

If your photo ID has expired, it will still be accepted as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of you.

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Get free photo ID for voting

If you do not have any of the accepted forms of photo ID, and you want to vote at the polling station, you will need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. This is a free photo ID document specific for the purposes of voting.

We recommend that you do this in good time ahead of voter identification first being required in polling stations. The first time this will be asked for will be the local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023. Voters who do not produce a Voter Authority Certificate or valid identification will not be allowed to vote on the polling day.

You can apply for your Voter Authority Certificate online via the government’s Voter ID application webpage.

From February 2023, you can also apply in person at South Gloucestershire Council. Details on how to do this will be added to this page.

When applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, you will need to provide the following information:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number, found on payslips or official letters about tax, pensions or benefits
  • a recent photograph

You should apply using the same name that you used to register to vote.

You can still apply if you do not have or know your National Insurance number. You will need to provide other forms of proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, bank statement and a utility bill.

Voting by post and proxy vote

Postal voters will not be affected and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual. If you vote by post you do not need to provide ID unless you have lost your postal vote and need to be issued with a new one.

If you choose to vote by proxy, then the person who you have trusted to vote on your behalf will have to take their own identification in order to be issued with a ballot paper.

Why these changes are happening

The requirement to show photo ID was included in the Elections Act 2022.

You can find more information about voter ID from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Cabinet Office below:

More information

For more information you can:

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