Running electoral registration - England

Document authenticity checks

Document authenticity checks

The purpose of documents being provided in support of an application is to allow you to satisfy yourself as to the identity of the person making the application and that they are the person named in the application. You will therefore need to be satisfied that a document provided to you for this purpose is genuine.

The Home Office has produced guidance on examining identity documents. It covers:

  • the security features in identity documents 
  • how identity documents are forged 
  • how to detect basic forgeries

General tips on what to look for when determining if a document is genuine can be found on the website of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.

The following table provides information on where guidance for checking particular documents that may be used for the verification of an applicant’s identity can be found. It only covers the documents for which guidance is available:

Table 1: Primary identification documents
Document Resources
Any current passport

Images and security features of all EU passports can be found on:

Images of passports issued by the majority of countries are available on the following website:

Biometric residence permit (UK issued only) 

Images and security features are included in the following guide:

EEA identity card

Images and security features can be found on:

Current driving licence – photo card with counterpart; full or provisional (UK/Isle of Man/Channel Islands)

A guide to the photo card part of the licence can be found at:  

Table 2: Trusted Government Documents

Document Resources
Current photo driving licence (Any other than UK and Crown Dependencies)

Images and security features for EU licences can be found on:

Birth certificate (UK and Crown Dependencies only) 

A guidance document on UK birth certificates is available at:

Adoption certificate (UK and Crown Dependencies only) 

Examples are included in the HM Passport Office Adoption Order Note for Parents


Firearms licence (UK and Crown Dependencies only) 

The format of firearms certificates can be found in The Firearm Rules 1998


Police bail sheet (UK and Crown Dependencies only) There is no standard police bail sheet. If you have doubts as to the authenticity of the document, you can contact the issuing police force. You could also contact the local police force(s) for your area to obtain sample bail sheets.


Last updated: 24 August 2020