Guidance

About the Document Checking Service pilot scheme

The Document Checking Service (DCS) pilot helps organisations digitally check whether British passports are valid.

Overview

The Document Checking Service (DCS) pilot is for non-public sector organisations that want to find out if British passports are valid.

You may need to do these checks as part of giving users access to an online service. The purpose of the checks must be to prevent crime.

Applications to the pilot scheme are now closed.

Passport checks will be carried out through the DCS - a technical component run by the Government Digital Service (GDS).

The DCS will check passport details against the HM Passport Office (HMPO) database. It will send your organisation a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response to say whether the passport is valid. No organisations will be given direct access to government-held data.

The pilot is a collaborative project run by GDS, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and HM Passport Office (HMPO). It was announced in July 2019 and feedback from a stakeholder event in August 2019 informed the design of the pilot. The pilot was launched in August 2020 and runs to the end of March 2022.

Objectives

The pilot’s objectives are to:

  • test the industry demand for checking information given by a user against government data sources
  • understand the different ways that organisations could use digital passport checks
  • test the technical design that would make these checks possible
  • capture consumer interest and experience of these checks, and perception of this use of passport data
  • understand if this is commercially viable, for the government and the organisations taking part

How the check works

To check if a passport is valid, your users will need to provide their:

  • passport number
  • forenames
  • surname
  • date of birth
  • passport expiry date

The DCS sends a request to HMPO. The DCS will then tell your organisation if the passport is valid by sending it a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.

A passport that’s been cancelled or reported as lost or stolen will return a ‘no’ response, but the check will not show what caused this response.

A ‘yes’ response confirms the passport is valid at the point in time it is checked. A passport may later be cancelled, lost or stolen. If you check the same passport details again in the future, it will count as a new check for billing and volume reasons.

You can pass on the trust from the check to a third party. The purpose of the third party’s check will also need to be to prevent crime. The check confirms passport validity at the point in time it is checked. Beyond this point, there’s a risk the check may no longer be valid because the status of the passport may have changed.

How much it costs

You’ll need to pay a one-off connection fee for the pilot and 50p per check. The connection fee is tiered by the volume of checks you want to do. You’ll pay:

  • £1,500 for 5,000 to 10,000 checks
  • £3,000 for 10,001 to 100,000 checks
  • £5,000 for 100,001 to 500,000 checks
  • £10,000 for 500,001 to 1 million checks
  • £15,000 for over 1 million checks

You must be able to make at least 5,000 checks to take part.

Amount of checks available

You’ll have an agreed total number of checks you can do over the duration of the pilot.

You’ll also have a rate limit on the number of checks you can make over set periods of time within the pilot.

How long the pilot will last

The pilot will run until 31 March 2022. Applications to the pilot are now closed.

Organisations can take part for different amounts of time if they want to. This means some participants connect to the DCS at a later stage in the pilot.

Connecting to the DCS

Once selected, all organisations need to:

After this, you can connect to the DCS production environment and start making DCS checks.

After the pilot

We recognise that organisations taking part in the pilot will want to know what will happen at the end of it.

The pilot is an opportunity to test industry demand for checking information given by a user against government data sources.

It may be a way of showing that there is a need for longer-term access to a passport validity check. We want to work with stakeholders in non-public sector organisations to explore the best way to meet the demand for passport data. It may also help the government understand the potential value of safely checking other data sources.

We will keep pilot participants updated on any relevant developments.

Contact information

Contact the DCS pilot team with any questions at digital-identity-pilot@dcms.gov.uk

For press enquiries, call 020 7276 7545 or email pressoffice@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Published 1 October 2019
Last updated 29 July 2021 + show all updates
  1. The pilot has been extended until 31 March 2022.

  2. Updated as applications to the pilot are now closed.

  3. Updated to say that applications are open again for organisations that submitted a formal expression of interest before 20 October 2019.

  4. Added a note that organisations were selected to take part in the pilot before July 2020. Added contact details for press enquiries.

  5. Updated the process for connecting to the DCS.

  6. The application stage is now closed.

  7. The application stage is now open for organisations that had their expressions of interest accepted.

  8. The expression of interest is now closed.

  9. First published.