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Voters are required to show photographic identification at polling stations before they are given a ballot paper. 

When ID will be required

The requirement to show photographic ID in the polling station will apply at the following polls:

  • UK Parliamentary General Elections
  • Local Elections
  • Local Referendums
  • Police and Crime Commissioner Elections
  • Recall Elections

Acceptable ID

The following forms of photographic ID will be accepted in polling stations:

  • 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
  • Freedom Pass, Older Person's or Disabled Person's bus pass, or Oyster 60+ card
  • 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 Persons SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • War Disablement 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

Only original documents are accepted; scanned images or copies will not be accepted.

See the full list of photo ID that will be accepted (GOV.UK).

Expired documents

Expired documents can still be used as accepted photographic ID at the polling station or signing place, as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of the elector.

Name changes

If your name has changed, you may be asked to provide additional supporting documents to provide evidence of this, such as a marriage or civil partnership certificate.

If your name is spelt incorrectly or an alternative spelling is shown to the one on the electoral register, it will be the Presiding Officer's decision as to whether or not they will accept the ID.

Voter Authority Certificate (VAC)

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

Voters who do not produce a VAC or valid identification will not be allowed to vote on the day.

The deadline to apply for a VAC for the Mayor of London and London Assembly Elections was 5pm on Wednesday 24 April 2024.

Format of the certificate

The VAC will be an A4 sized document which will include:

  • Full name of the applicant
  • Photograph of the applicant
  • Date of issue
  • 20 number or letter appropriate identifier
  • Wording advising where the certificate was issued
  • Recommended renewal date of 10 years
  • Security measures recommended by the Home Secretary

Apply for a VAC

There are a number of ways to apply for a VAC, you can:

If you need any help with applying for a VAC, contact Electoral Services.

Photograph requirements

A photograph must be submitted when applying for a VAC. This must be:

  • A close up shot of the head and shoulders
  • A true likeness of the applicant
  • Clear and not blurry
  • In colour with a plain, light background
  • Without reflection, shadows or red eye

The applicant must:

  • Be facing forwards, looking straight at the camera
  • Have nothing covering their face
  • Have a neutral facial expression
  • Have their eyes open and uncovered


When Richmond has scheduled elections, the deadline to apply will be 5pm, six working days ahead of the poll.

The deadline to apply for a VAC for the general election is 5pm on Wednesday 26 June 2024.

Otherwise, you can apply for a VAC at any time.


Once the details are verified, VACs should be printed within one to two working days and will be sent via Royal Mail.

If there is a scheduled election and you have not received your certificate, contact Electoral Services immediately so this can be investigated.

Where there are no scheduled elections, contact us if you have not received your certificate within two weeks of applying.

Anonymous electors

Anonymous electors who want to vote in person will need to apply for an Anonymous Elector's Document (AED) and show this at the polling station, along with their anonymous poll card.

This will be the only form of ID acceptable for anonymous electors, as their name does not appear on the electoral register.


AEDs will be paper documents that will show the applicant's elector number, and will not show their name.

AEDs will need to be renewed annually with a new photograph supplied. Replacement documents will also be issued if the electoral register is renumbered.

Applicants will need to reapply if they change address, because their elector number will be different at their new address. 

For more information on voting anonymously, visit anonymous voter registration.

Poll card changes

You will still receive a poll card but it may look slightly different to the poll card you normally receive as all accepted forms of ID will now be listed on the card.

It is still advised to take your poll card with you to the polling station, to help staff locate you on the register.

Polling station checks

All polling stations will have a private area to check voter ID, if this is requested.

Polling station staff will:

  1. Check the elector is listed on the register
  2. Ask the elector for their ID
  3. Check the photograph resembles the elector and that the name matches the register
  4. Issue a ballot paper, once they have completed their checks

If polling station staff are not satisfied the photograph resembles the elector, they will not issue a ballot paper, and will record the elector number and reason for refusal. The elector will be able to obtain another form of ID and return to the polling station.

Postal and proxy voting

If you do not wish to show ID at a polling station you can apply to vote by post or by proxy.

Postal voters will not be affected and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual.

Who can act as a proxy

You can ask anyone to act as your proxy - as long as they:

  • Are registered to vote
  • Are allowed to vote in the type of election taking place
  • Can vote in the polling station stated on your poll card

Currently, a person can act as a proxy for an unlimited number of close relatives and two other people. Under the new rules, voters would be limited to acting as a proxy for two people, regardless of their relationship. Anyone voting on behalf of UK voters who live overseas could act as a proxy for up to four people.

Proxy ID

Proxy voters will need to take their own photo ID with them to vote in some elections. If they do not have this, they can apply for a VAC.

Updated: 04 June 2024

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