Apply for a photo ID to vote

The Elections Act 2022 has introduced a new requirement from Thursday 4 May 2023 for voters to show photo ID before voting in person at a polling station. 

You will not need photo ID if you vote by post or have appointed a proxy, however your proxy will need their own photo ID if they vote for you in a polling station. 

If you are registered to vote but don't hold one of the acceptable forms of photo ID, you can apply for a voter authority certificate free of charge following verification of your identity. 

Acceptable forms of photo ID
  • a passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, a state of the European Economic Area (EEA), or a Commonwealth Country
  • a driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state
  • a biometric immigration document
  • an identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • a Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • a Blue Badge
  • a national identity card issued by an EEA state
  • an Older Person's Bus Pass
  • a Disabled Person's Bus Pass
  • an Oyster 60+ Card
  • a Freedom Pass
  • a National Entitlement Card (issued in Scotland)
  • a 60 and Over Concessionary Travel Card (issued in Wales)
  • a Disabled Person's Concessionary Travel Card (issued in Wales)
  • a Senior SmartPass (issued in Northern Ireland)
  • a Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Persons SmartPass (issued in Northern Ireland)
  • a War Disablement SmartPass (issued in Northern Ireland)
  • a 60+ SmartPass (issued in Northern Ireland)
  • a Half Fare SmartPass (issued in Northern Ireland)
  • an Electoral Identity Card issued by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland
  • a voter authority certificate
  • an anonymous elector’s document
Register to vote

You need to be registered to be able to vote at elections. If you have never registered to vote, have recently moved, or changed your name, you can register to vote online or by completing a paper application form from us. 

The voter authority certificate can only be used for the purposes of voting in a polling station. It cannot be used as proof of age or identity for any other reason. 

What poll stations require photo ID

The requirement to show photo ID in the polling station will apply at the following polls from 4 May 2023:

  • Sheffield City Council and parish council elections
  • Police and Crime Commissioner Election
  • Combined Authority Mayoral Election
  • Local or national referenda (if held)
  • Member of Parliament recall petition (if held) 
  • UK Parliamentary by-election,
  • UK Parliamentary General Election (from October 2023)

What you will need to include with your application

When you apply for a voter authority certificate, you must provide a suitable photograph, either through the online application process or submitted with a paper application. It will need to meet the following requirements:

  • a close-up photograph of your head and shoulders, without any other items or people in the background and without any covering of the head, unless worn for religious beliefs or medical reasons
  • in sharp focus and clear without blur
  • in colour and taken against a plain, light background,
  • free from redeye, shadows and not in the reflection of windows or mirrors
  • resembles a true likeness without alteration

Your photo must show you:

  • facing forwards
  • with nothing covering your face
  • looking straight at the camera
  • with a plain facial expression
  • with eyes open and visible (no sunglasses or being covered by hair)

If you are unable to meet the above criteria, you will be able to explain why, such as with a medical condition.

How to apply

The deadline to apply for a voter authority certificate will be 5pm, six working days before polling day.

For the City and Parish Council elections on 4 May 2023, the deadline for applications will be 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023.

You can apply for a voter authority certificate online or by completing a paper application with a photo enclosed. This form will be available to download and print on this page.

What happens next

Once verified by the Electoral Registration Officer, it is expected that the voter authority certificate will be printed within one to two working days and delivered by Royal Mail.

You can request to collect your voter authority certificate from the Town Hall, but you will need to provide a reason for this, and it may be rejected.

If collection is agreed, you must collect the voter authority certificate in person. You cannot send anyone else to collect it.

If you have not received your voter authority certificate

We advise that you contact the Elections Services on 0114 273 6910 or by emailing electoralservices@sheffield.gov.uk if you have not received your voter authority certificate within 28 days of application, and where there are no scheduled elections due to take place.

Where an election is due to take place, and you applied before the 5pm deadline six working days before the election, you should contact Elections Services immediately so we can investigate and where appropriate issue you with a temporary voter authority certificate that you will only be able to use at the upcoming election.

The permanent voter authority certificate will be sent to you in due course.

Lost photo ID or certificate

If you have lost all forms of photo ID, or the voter authority certificate, ahead of the 5pm deadline six working days before an election, and you don't have any of the other form of acceptable ID, you can reapply for a voter authority certificate.

If you have lost, destroyed, damaged, or had your ID stolen after the application deadline, there will be a provision for you to appoint an emergency proxy for polling day.

Contact Electoral Services

Town Hall
Pinstone Street
Sheffield
S1 2HH

Supporting information

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