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Providing proof of identity before you start work

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Before you start a new job your employer will ask you to give them one or more forms of identification, documents that prove you can work in the UK.

They may ask you to bring these documents with you to your interview, or wait until they are making you a formal job offer. 

They’ll need the original documents, not photocopies, and will take copies for their records so that they can prove they've checked them.

You need to know which documents they’ll accept, and how to get hold of them if you've lost or mislaid them. 

Why do employers need forms of identification?

As part of the 'The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006’ employers have to carry out document checks to make sure that new employees are eligible to work in the UK. They have to run these checks even if you're British from birth. The Government can fine employers up to £20,000 if they take on an illegal worker.

What can employers accept as a form of identification?

This all depends on your citizenship or nationality.

If you were born and raised in Britain or the UK it’s usually fairly straightforward.

Employers can accept:

A P45 is the tax form you get from an employer when you stop working for them. A P60 is the tax form you get from an employer at the end of each tax year.

Employers can’t accept:

What if you’ve lost, or can’t find, your birth certificate or National Insurance number?

Employers usually accept your passport showing that you’re a British citizen. Contact them to explain and check if they will.

You should get a National Insurance number by mail just before your 16th birthday. If you’re under 20 and don’t get one, or lose it, phone the National Insurance numbers helpline 0300 200 3500 (Text phone 300 200 3519) for advice. The service is free.

If you’ve lost your birth certificate you can get a copy from the local authority registrar’s office where your birth was registered or the National Records of Scotland (NRS) office in Edinburgh. There’s a list of registrars’ offices on their website, or you can go to your local authority website.

You do need to pay a fee for this service. The basic cost is currently £12. For more information visit the NRS website or phone them at 0131 314 4411.

What if you don’t have a passport?

If you are under 16 and are eligible, your parents can apply for a child passport for you. The cost is £46.

You can apply for an adult passport from the age of 16 if you are eligible and the cost is £72.50.

Passports can take at least six weeks to arrive. To check your eligibility visit GOV.UK.

You might want to provide the employer with your birth certificate and National Insurance number instead.

I’ve worked in a part time or temporary job. Can I get a P60 or P45?

You only get a P60 at the end of the tax year if you’ve paid Income Tax and National Insurance, and you only pay these if you earn more than £11,500 a year (2017-2018). If, like most students, you earn less than this your employer won’t give you a P60.

However, when you leave a part time or temporary job you should receive a P45. Most employers post this out to you within six weeks of your leaving date. If you haven’t earned enough to pay tax the P45 will show that tax is zero. 

What if I wasn’t born and raised in Britain?

If you’re a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) or European Union (EU) country employers will normally accept:

If you’re a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area visit the GOV.UK website for information and advice.

If you're a refugee or asylum seeker in Scotland contact the Scottish Refugee Council for information.

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