Voters in Scotland now need to show photo ID to vote at polling places in some elections.
The Voter ID requirement will apply in the following: –
- UK Parliamentary General Elections (held from October 2023)
- UK Parliamentary by-elections
- Recall petitions
Voters in Scotland will not need to show photo ID at Scottish Parliamentary elections or at council elections.
Accepted Forms of Photo ID
A range of accepted forms of photo ID can be used when voting at a polling place, including the following: –
- Passport – Issued by the UK, a Commonwealth country (including an Irish passport card), any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory or an EEA state.
- Driving Licence – Issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state.
- Local travel passes – including older person’s bus pass, disabled person’s bus pass, Scottish National Entitlement Card and more.
- PASS Card – Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram
- Various government issued documents – including National Identity Card issued by an EEA state, Voter Authority Certificate, Anonymous Elector’s document and more.
A full list of accepted forms of photo ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website.
You will only need to show one form of photo ID. It needs to be the original version and not a photocopy.
You can still use your photo ID if it’s out of date, as long as it looks like you. The name on your ID should be the same name you used to register to vote.
If you do not have an accepted form of photo ID you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate.
You can also apply for a Voter Authority Certificate if you’re not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you or you’re worried about using an existing form of ID for any other reason, such as the use of a gender marker.
Applying for a voter authority certificate
You need to register to vote before applying for a Voter Authority Certificate.
When you register to vote, you’ll be asked whether you have photo ID or if you want to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.
If you are unable to print a form please contact our office and we can post a form out. You can also make an application in person at our office.
If you wish to vote by post you do not need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.
The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate will be 5pm six working days before the date of the election.
Providing a photograph
You will need to submit a photo with your application. The requirements for the photo are similar to the requirements for a passport photo.
If you need help taking a photo, contact our office for assistance.
To be accepted the photo you provide must meet certain requirements in terms of style, quality and size:
Your photo must be:
- of you facing forward looking straight at the camera.
- a close up of your head and shoulders, without any head covering, unless you wear one for religious beliefs or medical reasons. Your face must not be covered for any reason.
- of you with a plain facial expression and with your eyes open and clearly visible (for example without sunglasses and not obscured with hair).
If you are unable to meet the requirements due to a disability, then please contact our office.
The photo must:
- be a true likeness
- be in colour
- be taken against a plain, light background
- be in sharp focus and clear
- be free from ‘redeye’, shadows which obscure the face, or reflection
- not be damaged
If you apply online, the photo must be:
- at least 750 pixels in height and 600 pixels in width
- contained in an electronic file which is no more than 20MB in size
If you apply using a paper form, the photo must be:
- at least 45 millimetres in height and 35 millimetres in width
- no larger than 297 millimetres in height or 210 millimetres in width.
your Voter authority certificate
Electoral Registration Office staff will process your application. We will send the Voter Authority Certificate to you by post.
Voter Authority Certificates do not have an expiration date. However, it’s recommended that you renew your certificate after 10 years.
If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request an application form, please contact our office.