Voter ID

The Electoral Commission: Need help with your voter ID application? Visit your local gateway centre

The UK Government has introduced a requirement to show photo ID when voting at a polling station at some elections. This applied for the first time in Salford at local councillor elections on Thursday 4 May 2023. It continues to apply to future elections including the next general election if it falls after October 2023.

Previously voters just had to confirm their name and address on arrival at the polling station. Now you will have to show an acceptable form of photo ID. You may already have a form of photo ID that is acceptable. You can check the list of acceptable voter ID documents below.

If you have one, you don’t need to do anything else other than remember to take it with you to the polling station on election day. You can still use it to vote even if it’s out of date, as long as the photo still looks like you. You will only need to show one form of photo ID, but it needs to be the original version and not a photocopy.

If you don’t have an acceptable form of ID (or you’re not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you) to show to polling stations staff on election day apply online for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) on the government website.

Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form for the Voter Authority Certificate by downloading it from the downloadable documents below. Please submit the completed paper application form to, including the front facing photograph.

Help and support

If you need help going online or applying for your Voter Authority Certificate, please pop into your local gateway centre, a one stop shop for a wide range of council and community services. Located across Salford, they have free internet and are open late every weekday - Monday to Thursday 8am to 10pm, Friday 8am to 6.30pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm. There are centres in Swinton, Eccles, Pendleton, Walkden and Broughton. Staff can help you complete the form and take free photos for your application.

As an alternative to voting in person on polling day, you can apply for a postal vote.

More details about voter ID can be found below including a downloadable leaflet ‘Everything you need to know about voter ID to vote in the May elections.’ You can also visit the Electoral Commission’s webpages on voter ID or call their helpline on 0800 328 0280.

You need to be registered to vote before you apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. If you have already registered at your address you don’t need to re-register but if you haven’t, register to vote on GOV.UK. 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.

Please note that not all nationalities are eligible to vote in the UK. If you are a refugee, you are eligible to vote if you are one of the nationalities eligible to vote in the UK.

Can you help us spread the word?

We’re keen to ensure all electors in Salford are aware of the change and able to still vote. Various resources are available from leaflets and posters to translations and information in different accessible formats.

Acceptable Voter ID documents

International travel

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country

Driving and parking

  • Driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
  • Blue Badge

Local travel

  • Older Person’s Bus Pass
  • Disabled Person’s Bus Pass
  • Oyster 60+ Card
  • Freedom Pass
  • Scottish National Entitlement Card
  • 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
  • Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
  • Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland

Proof of age

  • Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)

Other government issued documents

  • Biometric immigration document
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • National identity card issued by an EEA state
  • Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland

What do I need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate?

If you don’t possess one of the acceptable forms of ID to show to polling stations staff on election day, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate.

You will need to provide your:

  • Name (You should apply using the same name that you used to register to vote.
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance number (If you don't know your National Insurance number, you can find it on payslips and official letters about tax, pensions or benefits. You can still apply if you don’t know your National Insurance number, or don’t have one).

You will not need to provide your gender, and your certificate will not have a gender marker.

You will need to submit a photo with your application. The requirements for the photo are similar to those needed for a passport photo -  more details below.

Photo requirements when applying for a Voter Authority Certificate

When applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, you must submit a photo with it which has similar requirements to those needed for a passport photo.

Photo style

Your photo must be:

  • of you facing forward and 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). Please note this does not apply if you are unable to provide a photograph which complies with either or both of those requirements due to any disability.

If you are unable to meet the requirements due to a disability, then please contact Salford City Council’s elections team on email at 

Photo quality

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

Photo size

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.

If you need help taking a photograph or going online, please pop into your local gateway centre – more details at the top of this page.

How is my application for a Voter Authority Certificate processed?

After you’ve applied via the government website, Salford City Council will process the application and send the Voter Authority Certificate to you by post.

They will also send you instructions on how to use your certificate.

Voter Authority Certificates do not have an expiration date. But it's recommended that you renew your certificate after ten years.

All data you provide when applying for a certificate will be stored securely by your local council, in line with data protection regulations.

If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request an application form, email the elections team at Salford City Council on or call The Electoral Commission’s helpline on 0800 328 0280.

What do I do if I’m an anonymous elector?

If you're registered to vote anonymously and want to vote in person, you'll need to apply for an Anonymous Elector's Document

This page was last updated on 25 July 2023

Rate this page