When travelling to another country, you must show your passport to check your identity and immigration status. However, this is not the only situation in which you may be asked to prove your identity. As a citizen or resident of the UK, you may also be asked to show some documents as proof of identity when doing several procedures, such as opening a bank account, getting a National Insurance Number (NIN), obtaining a certificate of no impediment; registering to pay your taxes with HMRC, or simply proving your right to live in the UK, among others. Find out about some of the most common documents that can officially be used as proof of identity in the UK in this article.
The passport is a travel document. If you are British, this document is issued by the HM Passport Office. You can use it to prove your identity, immigration status, and to travel abroad. British passports take between 6 to 10 weeks to be issued and they have a validity of 10 years. You must be a British national to apply for one, either by birth or as a result of the process of naturalisation. You can find out more about the requirements, costs, and how to apply for a British passport in the following link.
This is the permit you receive as a foreigner living in the UK when you apply for a visa that allows you to stay in the UK longer than 6 months. It serves to prove your right to live, study, and/or work in the UK.
On your BRP card, you will find your personal details (name, date, and place of birth); your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo of your face); your immigration status; and whether you have access to public funds or not (such as social benefits). For further information on BRPs, you can read our article on how to apply for it.
This is a document that confirms the birth of a person is registered in the official records. They are issued by the General Register Office (GRO). They include information about the sex, name, address, date of registration, the name of the registrar, the registration district and sub-district, and the entry number.
If you were born in the UK, you can request it online, by phone, by post, or by contacting the local register office. Read our article on how to get a copy of your birth certificate to get yours easily.
You can also use a national identity card issued by an EEA country or Switzerland as proof of identity if it’s valid and:
As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), you can use your driving license as proof of identity when living in the UK. If you are a UK national, you can use your driving license too. To apply for it, you must be at least 17 years old, learn how to drive, and pass your theory and practical tests. Learn more about the process, cost, and how to obtain your driving licence in the UK here.
When you’re not a British national, some institutions may accept your national ID card issued by your country of origin as proof of identity. However, they will also request further documents to check you have the right to live in the UK.
If you are a British Citizen and you hold a national identity card, you need to be aware that they were scrapped in 2011. This means that British national identity cards are no longer valid, and you can’t use them as proof of identity.
Now, you can also apply online for a Post Office Pass card. This document will allow you to prove your identity and age and travel within the UK. You can opt for a standard or express application. The cost is higher the quicker you need the card. A standard application costs £15 and takes around 21 days to process. Whereas an express application costs £30 but takes only 24hs to reach you. You can read more about it here.
You can also use the photographic registration card you were given when you registered as self-employed in the construction industry, or your benefit book or original notification letter from the benefits agency.
Please note that some institutions or government offices do not accept provisional driving licence, mobile phone bills, or credit card statements as proof of identity. You can check with the organisation you need to present the documents to whether these documents are accepted or not.
In some cases, the post office may help you verify your identity. But you should check with the relevant authority whether this is possible. For more information about other types of documents officially accepted as proof of identity, visit the official gov.uk webpage.