Toggle menu

Cost of living support

Financial advice and emotional support on how you can ease the cost of living squeeze.

The Voter Authority Certificate Service

If want to vote in the 2023 elections and you do not have any of the accepted photographic ID available, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate specific for the purpose of voting.

Electors are required to show an accepted form of photographic identification to receive their ballot paper(s) to cast their vote in a polling station as from May 2023 at the following polls:

  • UK Parliamentary general elections
  • Recall petitions
  • local elections in England
  • local referendums in England
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales

Accepted forms of photo identification

Accepted forms of photo identification are set out in Schedule 1 to the Elections Act 2022.

This list includes an electoral identity document issued under section 13BD of the Act, commonly known as a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC). This is a new document which Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) will provide, free of charge, to any eligible elector who applies for one.


If you don't already have an accepted form of photo ID, or you're not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you, you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC).

Apply online for a Voter Authority Certificate

Alternatively, you can print out and complete a paper application form and send this to the Electoral Services Team, Uttlesford District Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 4ER.

If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate we have an easy to read guide (PDF) [1MB] available or if you want to request an application form, Contact Electoral Services.

There are three varieties of 'electoral identity document':

  • the Voter Authority Certificate
  • the temporary Voter Authority Certificate, which EROs have discretion to provide in contingency situations
  • the Anonymous Electors Document - for use by anonymous electors only

Voter Authority Certificate

The VAC is a A4 paper-based document, with appropriate security features, displaying only the elector's name, photograph, date of birth, date of issue, issuing local authority and an 'identifier' (i.e. an alphanumerical reference).

The deadline for applications for Voter Authority Certificates is 5pm, 6 working days ahead of a poll.

Temporary Voter Authority Certificate

For valid applications made before the deadline, which have been processed, determined and sent to the print suppliers by the ERO, but where the elector has not received their VAC before polling day, EROs will have the option to print a temporary VAC up until 5pm on polling day. This temporary document will be valid only for the relevant polling day and the onus will be on the applicant to collect it from the ERO's office (or other delivery or collection arrangement as agreed with the ERO).

Appointment of an emergency proxy

In situations where an elector's photographic identification (including a previously issued VAC) has been lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged beyond use after the application deadline, EROs will be able to allow the appointment of an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day.