The Document Checking Service (DCS) pilot helps organisations digitally check whether British passports are valid.
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.
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
- 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:
- sign a contract
- answer questions and submit evidence to demonstrate that you meet the pilot requirements
- do the technical work to build your service and connect it to the DCS integration environment
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.
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