Acceptable forms of identification (ID) when visiting a prison in England and Wales (Annex A)

Updated 30 May 2023

Applies to England and Wales

Below is Annex A, part of the HMPPS policy, Management of security at visits Policy Framework: Open estate

All visitors to prisons in England and Wales, other than accompanied children under the age of 16, whether visiting for social, or official purposes, are required to prove their identity before entry.

This list defines the accepted forms of ID when visiting a prison in England and Wales.

Visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult, who must adhere to the ID requirement set out above. The accompanying adult has responsibility for the child, supporting the child’s relationship with the prisoner, and for giving assurances of the child’s identity.

You may use any one form of ID from List A.

If you are unable to do this, you can use one document from List B and one form of ID from List C.

If you are unable to produce any forms of ID from these lists, you may still be able to apply under exceptional circumstances.

You are likely to be turned away from the prison if you are unable to produce any of the required ID documents at the time of your visit, or if you have not made arrangements with the prison, prior to your visit.

1. List A

  • passports
  • identity cards from an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country
  • UK photocard driving licences
  • EU or EEA driving licences
  • NI Electoral identity cards
  • a US passport card
  • a proof of age card recognised under PASS with a unique reference number (This includes the Citizen ID card)
  • an armed forces identity card
  • a UK biometric residence permit (BRP)

2. List B

One form of ID from this list, together with list C.

  • a Home Office travel document (convention travel document, stateless person’s document, one-way document or certificate of travel)
  • an older person’s bus pass
  • a Freedom Pass
  • a proof of age card recognised under the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) without a unique reference number (please refer to List A where a unique reference number is present)

3. List C

One form of ID from this list, together with list B.

  • a birth or adoption certificate
  • an education certificate from a regulated and recognised educational institution (such as an NVQ, SQA, GCSE, A level or degree certificate)
  • a rental or purchase agreement for a residential property (signed and dated)
  • a marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • a bank, building society or credit union current account card (on which the claimed identity is shown)

4. Exceptional Circumstances

If you do not have access to the above listed ID, you may still be able to attend a visit with advanced permission from the prison. Please contact the prison direct to arrange this. Contact details for prisons are available on the prison information pages.

5. Official Visitors - Acceptable Forms of Identification

The following documents are examples of acceptable forms of identification for professional visitors:

  1. Members of either House of Parliament: Houses of Parliament ID card or HMG ID cards;
  2. Legal advisers: Identification document from the above List A, or from Lists B and C. This must be in conjunction with either a. a headed document from their legal practice stating that they are representing the prisoner they are requesting to visit, or b. should they not yet be representing the prisoner, a headed document from their legal practice explaining the purpose of the visit
  3. Police, UK Border Agency and HM Revenue & Customs officers: warrant card
  4. Probation and Youth Offending Team officers: probation / YOT department ID card
  5. Staff from other prisons, HQ, the Children’s & Young People’s Secure Estate, the inspectorates (including Lay Observers) or Home Office: photo security pass issued by (or on behalf of) Ministry of Justice, HMPPS, or Home Office
  6. Consular officials: consular ID card
  7. Other public officials: departmental or local authority pass or ID card (but must show the name of the visitor and the name of the department or local authority)
  8. Social workers: social worker identification cards
  9. Researchers: Security Photo pass or official letter (visits must be pre-arranged)
  10. Healthcare staff: NHS photographic identification badge/card or independent sector healthcare photographic identification badge/card