Electoral Identity Card FAQs

  1. What is the Electoral Identity Card?
  2. How do I apply for an Electoral Identity Card?
  3. What are the other acceptable forms of photographic identification?
  4. How much does it cost to get an ID Card?
  5. Do I need to make an appointment to go to an office and apply for an ID Card?
  6. If I go to an Area Office and apply for an ID card can I get it there and then?
  7. Can I have my ID card posted to an Area Office (or a different address) and collect it from there?
  8. Do I need a card if I have a postal or proxy vote?
  9. Can the card be used for anything other than voting?
  10. My card has expired - do I need to get a new one?
  11. I've changed address, do I need to get a new card?
  12. I've lost my card - can I get a replacement?

What is the Electoral Identity Card?

In Northern Ireland the law requires that you produce one of seven forms of photographic identification when you vote at a polling station. The Electoral Identity Card is produced by the Electoral Office and is one of the acceptable forms of identification. You must be listed on the Electoral Register to get a card.

How do I apply for an Electoral Identity Card?

See the How to apply section for details of how to apply for a card.

What are the other acceptable forms of photographic identification?

The following documents are accepted at polling stations as proof of identity:

  • A UK, Irish or EEA driving licence (photographic part) (provisional accepted)
  • A UK, Irish or EU passport (note: EU passports are not accepted at UK Parliamentary elections)
  • An Electoral Identity Card
  • A Translink Senior SmartPass 
  • A Translink 60+ SmartPass
  • A Translink War Disabled SmartPass
  • A Translink Blind Person’s SmartPass

These documents are listed in legislation and no other forms of identity can be accepted.

The identification document does not need to be current, but the photograph must be of a good enough likeness to allow polling station staff to confirm the identity of the holder.

How much does it cost to get an ID Card?

The card is free of charge.

Do I need to make an appointment to go to an office and apply for an ID Card?

No, you can call in at any time from 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and from 9am to 4pm on Friday. Offices are open during lunchtime.

If I go to an Area Office and apply for an ID card can I get it there and then?

No, the card will be sent out to you within 10 working days.

Can I have my ID card posted to an Area Office (or a different address) and collect it from there?

No, the card must be sent to the applicant’s registered address – this is an anti-fraud measure.

Do I need a card if I have a postal or proxy vote?

No, photographic identification is only required if you intend to vote at a polling station.

Can the card be used for anything other than voting?

The purpose of the card is to prove your identity for voting purposes. However, it is also accepted by some UK airlines and banks/building societies as proof of identity and age. You should check with the relevant organisation whether they will accept the card.

My card has expired - do I need to get a new one?

No, your identification document does not need to be current, as long as the photograph is of a good enough likeness to allow polling station staff to confirm your identity.

I've changed address, do I need to get a new card?

No, the card is proof of your identity rather than your address. Your address is not printed on the card.

You only need to update your card if you change your name or if your appearance changes significantly from the photo on the card.

I've lost my card - can I get a replacement?

If you have lost your card you will need to apply for a new one. See the How to apply section for details of how to apply.