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Documentation required

Whether you apply online or in person, you need to come to the Reader Registration Office with the following documentation: 

  • Personal identification and proof of address
  • Full details of the items you need to see. Where possible you should provide specific references, including shelfmarks, from our catalogues.
  • Anything which supports your application, e.g. a business card, student card or professional membership card.

Personal identification and proof of address

To register as Reader, or to renew or replace a Reader Pass you must provide appropriate identification. We require two original identification documents (no photocopies, faxes, internet or bank printouts):

NB: Utility bills, bank/building society statements, credit card statements, HM revenue and customs statements, state pension books, benefit/family credit books or payslips cannot be older than three months.

We cannot issue a Reader Pass without both forms of identification - no exceptions can be made.

Our identification requirements are subject to change, if in doubt what to bring please contact us.

The documents marked with an asterisk * below can only be used either as proof of address or as proof of your identity; they cannot be used for both.

You should note:

  • Some driving licences and national identity cards do not show an address; we are not able to accept these documents.
  • It it is your responsibility to provide official translations for foreign documents, where necessary.

Appropriate forms of identification to provide proof of your home address

Note the items below must be less than three months old:

  • Utility Bill (Gas, Electricity, Telephone, Internet, Water)
  • Bank/Building Society Statement (no online/bank branch print-offs)
  • Credit Card Statement
  • Pension/Benefit/Family Credit letter statement ((showing current receipt of benefits)
  • Pay Slips (where employer’s and employee’s addresses are stated)

Note the items below must be less than one year old:

  • HM Revenue and Customs Statement (not National insurance cards, numbers or correspondence)
  • Home Insurance Policy
  • Council Tax Bill
  • TV Licence
  • University Certificate for Hall of Residence (stamped and signed by institution)

Note the items below must have a current address:

  • Firearms Licence
  • Home Office permit to stay/police registration document
  • Passports (where the address has been officially entered by the issuing authority)*
  • National Identity Card with address (where the address has been officially entered by the issuing authority) *
  • Driving Licence with address (where the address has been officially entered by the issuing authority) *

Appropriate forms of identification to provide proof of your signature

You will need to show one of the following, which must bear your signature:

  • Passport*
  • Driving Licence*
  • Bank Card
  • Credit Card
  • National Identity Card*
  • Police/Customs/Home Office/Warrant Card
  • Sea/Air Masters Licence

Further information

Reader Registration
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7676
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7794

E-mail: Reader-Registration@bl.uk