What Counts as Student ID? Does Student ID Count as ID in the UK?

what counts as student id

In every institution around the world, Student Identification Card, also called Student ID, serve as a major way of identifying students. Itis usually issued by the university, college, or school to their enrolled students as a means of identification.

These Student IDs are widely used on campus to access facilities like libraries, computer labs, science labs, medical facilities, and sporting events. But, in the UK, does Student ID count as an official means of student identification?

This post will clear the air about the use of Student ID as a means of student identification in the UK, and the different situations where a student ID might or might not be officially acceptable as a valid identification.

Student IDs

Student IDs, short for Student Identification Cards, are personal identification documents issued to students by educational institutions, such as schools, colleges, or universities.

These cards typically display essential information like the student’s name, photograph, date of birth, and sometimes a unique identification number.

Additionally, they may include the institution’s name and logo. Student IDs serve various purposes, including verifying a student’s identity within their school, granting access to campus facilities, and offering student discounts on various products and services.

While they are essential for campus life, the extent to which they are accepted as valid identification outside of educational settings can vary by region and institution.

What Can I Show as a Student ID?

As a student, you can typically show a variety of documents as your student ID. The most common option is the official student identification card issued by your educational institution. This card usually includes your name, photo, student ID number, and institution details.

Some institutions offer physical cards as well as digital versions accessible through mobile apps. However, a valid driver’s license or passport can also be used as identification in some cases, especially for age verification or when dealing with non-educational institutions.

Always check with the specific entity to determine what forms of ID they accept in a given situation.

Can You Use a Birth Certificate as a Student ID in the UK?

In the UK, a birth certificate is not typically accepted as a primary form of identification, whether for general identification purposes or specifically as a student ID. For general identification, official government-issued documents like a passport or a driver’s license are more commonly used.

A birth certificate is also insufficient as a student ID. Student IDs issued by educational institutions are the preferred and widely recognized means of proving your student status. These cards contain essential details such as your name, photograph, date of birth, and the institution’s name.

They are specifically tailored to verify your affiliation with the educational institution and often provide access to student discounts, library privileges, and other campus services. Birth certificates, while important for legal purposes, do not establish your student identity or grant these benefits.

What Counts as Student ID?

What counts as a student ID varies depending on the context and the specific purpose you have in mind. In the UK, a standard student ID, officially issued by your educational institution, is widely accepted to prove your student status. These cards typically display your name, photograph, date of birth, and the institution’s name or logo.

However, some situations may accept alternative forms of student identification, such as:

  • Digital Student IDs: Some institutions offer mobile apps or digital versions of student IDs, which are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Enrollment Verification Letter: If you haven’t received your physical ID yet, an official enrollment verification letter from your institution can serve as temporary proof of your student status.
  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC): The ISIC is a globally recognized student ID that offers discounts and benefits worldwide.

Also, read: Can a Non-Student Live in Student Housing in the UK?

What Counts as Student ID in the UK?

In the UK, a valid student ID typically refers to an official identification card issued by your educational institution.

These cards are recognized as proof of your student status and commonly include your name, photograph, date of birth and the name or logo of the institution. They are essential for accessing campus facilities, taking exams, and enjoying student discounts.

It’s important to note that while student IDs are widely accepted within the academic realm, their acceptance may vary when dealing with non-educational entities, such as bars, cinemas, or transportation services.

In some cases, a driver’s license or passport may be required for age verification or other purposes. Always verify specific ID requirements with the organization or establishment you are dealing with.

Does Student ID Count as ID in the UK?

Yes, student IDs do count as forms of identification in the UK, but their acceptance and usefulness can vary depending on the situation and the institution that issues them.

  • Academic Purposes: Student IDs are widely recognized and accepted in the educational environment. They serve as primary identification for students, enabling access to campus facilities, libraries, and exam halls. They also indicate the student’s affiliation with a particular institution.
  • Student Discounts: Student IDs are valuable for obtaining discounts on various goods and services, including public transportation, museums, cinemas, and restaurants. Many businesses and organizations offer reduced prices for students, making the student ID a valuable asset.
  • Age Verification: In certain cases where age verification is required, such as purchasing alcohol or entering age-restricted venues, a student ID can be used, as it typically displays the student’s date of birth. However, not all establishments may accept it for this purpose, and in some cases, a government-issued ID like a driver’s license or passport may be necessary.

While student IDs have their place and utility in the UK, it’s important to be aware of the specific requirements and policies of the entity you’re dealing with, as they may vary.

Acceptable Forms of ID in the UK

In the UK, several forms of identification are commonly accepted for various purposes. Here’s a list of acceptable forms of ID:

  • Passport: A UK passport is one of the most widely accepted forms of identification. It serves as proof of identity and citizenship for various purposes, including international travel, age verification, and official documentation.
  • Driver’s License: A UK driver’s license is another commonly recognized form of ID. It is often used for age verification, renting vehicles, and as a general proof of identity.
  • National Identity Card: While not mandatory in the UK, the government has introduced identity cards in the past. These cards were designed to provide a secure and official form of identification.
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): Issued to non-EEA nationals, a BRP contains biometric data and information about an individual’s immigration status for proving identity and immigration status.
  • CitizenCard: The CitizenCard is a government-backed photo ID card available to anyone in the UK. It is accepted for age verification and proof of identity in various situations.
  • Student ID: As discussed earlier, student IDs issued by educational institutions are accepted within the academic environment and for obtaining student discounts.
  • Young Scot Card: Specific to Scotland, the Young Scot Card serves as a proof of age card for young people and can be used for various age-restricted activities.
  • Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) Card: The Home Office endorses this card, which is widely accepted as proof of age for buying age-restricted items like alcohol or tobacco.
  • Military ID: Military personnel can use their military identification as ID, and it may be accepted in certain situations outside of the military context.
  • Utility Bills and Bank Statements: While not primary forms of ID, official documents like utility bills and bank statements may be used as secondary proof of address in conjunction with a primary ID.


Can you use a selfie for student ID?

Using a selfie as a student ID is uncommon and generally not accepted. Educational institutions typically issue official physical or digital student ID cards with standardized information for verification purposes.

Should I smile in my student ID photo?

It’s generally advisable to maintain a neutral expression in your student ID photo. Smiling excessively or making exaggerated facial expressions can sometimes lead to issues with facial recognition or identification processes. A calm, natural expression is recommended for a clear and easily recognizable photo.

Can I wear glasses in my student ID?

Yes, you can typically wear glasses in your student ID photo. Glasses are considered a common accessory, and wearing them in your ID photo is acceptable as long as they do not obstruct your eyes or facial features.

What is the best colour to wear for a school ID photo?

For a school ID photo, it’s best to wear solid, neutral colors like blue, black, or white. Avoid loud patterns, bright colours, or distracting accessories to ensure a clean and professional appearance in your photo.


Several forms of identification are available to meet the various needs of school residents and visitors in the UK.

From passports and driver’s licenses to specialized cards like student IDs, these ID forms serve a variety of purposes for students. Knowing when and where to use them is necessary if you are a student in the UK.



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