Voter ID - Voter Authority Certificate

It is now a requirement that anyone voting in person at a polling station will need to show photo identification (ID) before being given a ballot paper to vote.

Electors will need to show one of the accepted photographic ID

A Voter Authority Certificate is available for registered electors without photo ID available. The Voter Authority Certificate is a new free voter photo document you can use to vote in person in some UK elections and referendums. You cannot use it as proof of identification for any other reason.

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 significantly different to your name on the electoral register

You can apply either online, by post or in person and in good time ahead of polls taking place. Please be aware the person applying will need to provide a photo of themselves as part of the application process.

Please note this only affects people voting in person at polling stations, postal voters have their identification verified by their signatures and date of births.

Apply for a Voter Authority Certificate 

Information for British Sign Language users

Apply online at GOV.UK - you will be able to upload a recent photo from your phone or other electronic device as part of the application process.    

Application forms are available to download and print via GOV.UK and a print copy is available under the downloads section on this page.  

A separate Voter Authority Certificate application paper form is available as a pdf, in the downloads section, for individuals who are living abroad, in the armed forces, a Crown Servant or a British Council employee.

Please contact the elections team or phone 01529 414155 to request a form is posted out to you or to find out how we can help you with an application.

What is a Voter Authority Certificate?

The Voter Authority Certificate is a new free voter photo document available for those without any other form of photo ID. An elector can use the Voter Authority Certificate as their photo ID to prove who they are in a polling station.

The Certificate will show an elector’s name and photograph, the date of issue, the issuing local authority, an appropriate identifier, and a recommended renewal date of 10 years from issue.

There is an application form to complete, and you will need to provide a photo of yourself as part of the application. 

When can I apply for a Voter Authority Certificate?

Applications are open now to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate to use at future elections.

What information will I need?

To apply you will need to complete personal information including your National Insurance Number and date of birth. If you do not have your National Insurance Number available, you will be asked to provide other documents to prove your identity.

You will also need to be able to submit a recent suitable photo. Please see question below on photo requirements.

What are the photo standards for a Voter Authority Certificate?

A suitable photo is required for all Voter Authority Certificate applications.

For online applications you will be able to upload a photo during the application process. For paper application forms either a hardcopy photo is required, or you can supply an electronic image via email to the elections team.

Your photo must be:

  • clear and in focus
  • in colour
  • against a plain, light-coloured background
  • your true likeness, with no photoshop or filters
  • For hardcopy photos it must be at least 45 x 35 mm (height x width) in size, and no bigger than 297 x 210 mm (height x width) and undamaged (e.g. not torn, creased, or marked)
  • Digital photos must be no larger than 20mb in size.

In your photo you must:

  • face forwards and look straight at the camera
  • be alone, with no other objects or people
  • have a plain expression
  • have eyes open and visible, with no hair in front of them
  • not wear sunglasses, but normal glasses are fine if you typically wear them
  • not have a head covering (except for religious or medical reasons)
  • not have ‘red-eye’, glare or shadows over your face

An application cannot be accepted until a suitable photo is provided. If the photo does not meet the standard required, the applicant will be contacted and asked to provide a new photo.

What if my photo doesn’t meet the photo standards due to a disability?

If you let us know you have a disability on your application form, the photo you supply:

  • doesn’t need to have a plain expression
  • doesn’t need to have your eyes open and visible

If you are unable to take your photo or you don’t think it meets the photo standards, please get in touch with NKDC to discuss this and the options available. 

NKDC can arrange to take a photo for you at the NKDC offices if you would like to use this service, please book an appointment either by phone 01529 414155 or email customer services.

Can someone help me apply for a Voter Authority Certificate?

Any person you trust can help you apply either online or by paper form. The quickest and easiest way to apply is via GOV.UK and you’ll need to upload a photo from a phone or other electronic device. Remember you will need to have your National Insurance Number to hand too.

By appointment you can also come to the NKDC offices, Sleaford and we will assist you to make your application via GOV.UK and take your photo for you if you need us too. Help will also be available at the NKDC offices to check hardcopy application forms and to take photos where needed. Please email the elections team or phone 01529 414155 to find out more or book an appointment.

When will I receive my Voter Authority Certificate?

You should receive your Voter Authority Certificate in the post to your home address within 10 working days of making your application.

If your application is incomplete or requires additional information the Elections Team will contact you to explain what is wrong or what is needed for your application to proceed.

How long will the Voter Authority Certificate be valid for?

The Voter Authority Certificate will show a recommended renewal date of 10 years. This is to make sure the photo remains a good likeness of the elector. This is the same time as a photo renewal for a passport or a driving licence.

What do I do if I’m not registered to vote?

If you are not yet registered to vote and you don’t have any ID available, then you will need to register to vote first. You can register to vote online. If you do not have access to the internet, you can call NKDC on 01529 414155 to make a telephone application or request an application form is posted to you from the Elections Team. An application form can also be collected from the NKDC offices in Sleaford.

When you register to vote you will be reminded that all applicants will need to show a form of identification to vote in a polling station from 4 May 2023 onwards. If you do not have any of the accepted photo ID available you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate at the same time. The application for the Certificate will be processed once the application to register to vote has been successfully approved.

If I move house, can I still use my Voter Authority Certificate at a different polling station?

Yes, you can still use the same Voter Authority Certificate if you move house either in the same local authority area or any other local authority area in England or Wales.

Voter Authority Certificates Privacy Notice

Please visit our Privacy webpage to view or download our privacy notice for Voter Authority Certificates.