Voter ID: New requirement for voters to provide photographic identification at polling stations


  1. Overview
  2. Types of ID you can use
  3. Apply for a Voter Authority Certifcate
  4. If you don't want to show your identifcation
  5. More information


Before you can vote, you will need to show photographic identification (photo ID) at the polling station before you are given a ballot paper.

This is a new legal requirement introduced by the government.

This will affect all voters in South Tyneside who vote in person or by proxy. It does not apply to people who vote by post.

Types of ID you can use

You can use any of the following types of photo ID:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence (including provisional license)
  • Blue badge
  • Certain concessionary travel cards
  • Identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • Biometric Immigration document
  • Defence identity card
  • Certain national identity cards

For more information on which forms of photo ID will be accepted, see The Electoral Commission: Voter ID.

Apply for a Voter Authority Certificate

You can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate if:

  • you don't already have an accepted form of photo ID
  • you're not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you

How to apply

If you would like us to send a paper form to apply for a voter authority certificate, please call 0191 427 7000 or email

The deadline to apply for a certificate to use at the local government elections on 4 May 2023 is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023.

An  Easy Read Guide - Voter Authority Certificate application form (PDF) [1MB]  is available to help voters with learning disabilities complete the Voter Authority Certificate application.

These files have not been produced by South Tyneside Council, and may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. If you need help to access this information within these files, please get in touch to request an accessible format.

What you need to provide in your application

You will need to give your name, address, date of birth, national insurance number and photograph with your application. 

Your photograph should be a close-up of your head and shoulders, and you should:

  • be facing forwards and looking straight at the camera
  • not have anything covering your face
  • have a plain facial expression
  • have your eyes open and clearly visible (for example without sunglasses or hair over the eyes)
  • not be wearing a hat or head covering (unless it's for religious or medical reasons)

The photograph must be:

  • in colour and taken against a plain, light background
  • in sharp focus and clear
  • free from "redeye", shadows which obscure the face, or reflection
  • undamaged
  • a true likeness, without amendment or manipulation (i.e. without filters)
  • at least 45mm x 35mm and no bigger than 297mm x 210mm - for in person and paper applications, or
  • at least 750 x 600 pixels and no more than 20MB in size - for online applications

If you apply online you can upload a digital photograph.

If you apply in paper, you can use a photo you already have as long as it meets the requirements above.

If you apply in person at South Shields Town Hall a member of staff can take your photograph for you.

If you don't want to show your ID

If you don't have photographic identification or, don't want to show identification in the polling station, you may prefer to vote by post.

Find out more about how to vote by post.

More information

More information about the new requirements will be available at Community Area Forum meetings, where you can chat to members of the elections team for more information.

To see when your next Community Area Forum meeting is, see upcoming committee meetings.