Open main menu

PASS (the Proof of Age Standards Scheme) is a government-backed scheme in the UK that gives young people a valid and accepted form of proof of age identification. The scheme is supported by the Home Office, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI), Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). It acts as an umbrella system: it does not itself issue identification cards, but various proof of age card schemes operate under the PASS umbrella, and issue cards which bear a PASS hologram as proof of authenticity and validity.

Proof of Age Standards Scheme
Community Interest Company
IndustryPhoto identification issuer accreditation
Founded2001; 18 years ago (2001) in United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Kate Nicholls, Miles Beale, Andrew Chevis, Anna Bennett



Set up in 2001 to develop a recognizable way of endorsing proof of age card schemes. Due to the United Kingdom not issuing a government identification card, individuals who did not drive had difficulty providing any proof of age when purchasing age-restricted products such as cigarettes and alcohol.

In June 2014, the 18+ card designs were standardized, with the only real variation in appearance being the logo of the issuing organization in the corner, citing feedback from police and retailers, in an effort to increase acceptance by venues especially in the night-time economy.[1]

In November 2016, PASS reorganized to become a community interest company and ownership by the British Retail Consortium ended.[2] In January 2018, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) logo replaced the Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO) logo at the lower left corner of the standardised 18+ card design.[3]

Card suppliersEdit

As of 2018 there are two types of card suppliers, national and regional. Regional cards often have requirements for residency in the area they are issued, where national cards can be obtained by anyone who can provide required information. There are currently three councils that offer regional cards: Bracknell Forest Council (e+ card), Milton Keynes Council (All in 1 Card) and the London Borough of Southwark ("PAL"). The national suppliers are CitizenCard, My ID Card, ONEID4U and ValidateUK. The Young Scot card is available to eligible individuals resident in Scotland.


Proof of Age Standards Scheme's goal is to become the preferred standard in proving the age of Britons, with 5 million cards issued since 2001 and 200,000 in 2017 to 2018. Several trade bodies currently support PASS: Association of Convenience Stores, British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping, UK Hospitality and the Wine and Spirits Trade Association. In addition the Home Office, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, National Police Chiefs' Council and Security Industry Authority also support the organization.[4]

It is the responsibility of sellers not to supply alcohol, tobacco, and other age restricted products to people below the legal age. Checking a proof of age card protects them against inadvertently selling to under-age people who look older. Some places requiring proof of age will not accept some cards, despite the PASS hologram. Retailers and licensees have the right to refuse to sell a product or deny entry to an individual even if they possess a PASS endorsed card.[5] In 2011 more than 500,000 holders of a PASS endorsed card were refused entry to pubs and clubs.[6] As a result, in 2014 the police and Security Industry Authority, which licences doorstaff, agreed to permit their logos to be displayed on PASS cards displaying a standardised design. In 2017 the Passport Office urged passport-holders to leave passports at home and use a PASS card on nights out.


  1. ^ PASS (10 November 2016). "Proof of Age Standards Scheme Restructures to become a Community Interest Company". Proof of Age Standards Scheme. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  2. ^ PASS (11 June 2016). "Home Office minister launches new PASS Proof of Age Card". Proof of Age Standards Scheme. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  3. ^ PASS (17 January 2018). "Updated card design". Proof of Age Standards Scheme. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  4. ^ PASS (11 June 2016). "Home Office minister launches new PASS Proof of Age Card". Proof of Age Standards Scheme. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  5. ^ PASS. "What is PASS". Proof of Age Standards Scheme. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  6. ^ Baxter, Anthony (19 December 2011). "Teenage ID card system 'not working' says PASS". BBC Newsbeat. BBC. Retrieved 1 November 2018.

External linksEdit