The Guide to Right to Work Documents & Checks [2021 Update]

What Documents are Needed for Right to Work?

Anyone looking to work in the UK, regardless of their nationality, status of residence, age, race or gender, will need to prove that they are legally permitted to do so.

This means presenting acceptable and valid documentation to prospective employers, before commencing work, confirms an applicant’s right to work in the UK.

Proof of Right to Work in the UK

Right to work checks are legal requirements for employers. These checks will be carried out either in-person, before the commencement of employment, or conducted remotely given the current COVID-19 restrictions.

To conduct the correct right to work document check, an employer will need to verify certain accepted types of documents. Your current status will determine the required documents, whether from List A or List B of acceptable choices.

What is a Right to Work Document?

A right to work document approved by the Home Office falls into one of two primary categories.

  1. List A - these documents are evidence that you have an unrestricted and permanent right to work in the UK.

  2. List B - these documents are proof of a temporary or partially restricted right to work. These are split into two sub-groups to determine the point at which your new employer will need to recheck your proof of right to work, because of time restrictions on your permissions.

We have outlined what documentation proves your right to work based on the above categories.

List A - Right to Work Documents

  • A full UK passport that confirms your British nationality.
  • A passport, national identity card or a Registration Certificate showing that you are a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.
  • A permanent residence card issued by the Home Office as a family member of an EEA or Swiss national.
  • Biometric Residence Permit indicating you have the right to stay indefinitely in the UK.
  • A passport showing you are exempt from immigration control.
  • Immigration Status Documentation issued by the Home Office, showing your right of abode or the ability to stay indefinitely in the UK - along with a document showing your National Insurance number and name.
  • Birth certificate or adoption certificate issued in the UK or the Channel Islands alongside a document showing your National Insurance number and name.
  • Certificate of registration of British citizenship.

List B - Right to Work Documents

Group 1:

  • A passport showing you’re allowed to stay in the UK and carry out the type of work in question.
  • Biometric Residence Permit (see above).
  • A residence card issued by the Home Office, confirming you as a family member of an EEA or Swiss national, or who has a derivative right of residence.
  • Immigration Status Document containing an endorsement of your right to live and work in the UK, along with proof of National Insurance.

Group 2:

  • A Positive Verification Notice (PVN) issued by the Home Office, which indicates that you can stay in the UK and carry out the work in question.
  • A Certificate of Application that’s less than six months old (along with a PVN).
  • Application Registration Card confirming you can take the employment in question (along with a PVN).

What if I have an Expired Passport or Cannot Produce Relevant Documents?

There are exceptional circumstances where an employer may still offer you work if you’re unable to produce the relevant documents at that particular time, 

Employers can contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service to verify your right to work if you:

  • Are able to produce a Certificate of Application, an Application Registration Card (see List B - Group 2) or an application to extend or vary your permission to work in the UK before the expiry date.

Your employer will be given a Positive Verification Notice to confirm your right to work, but they must repeat the right to work check process after six months.

Checking EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens’ right to work has not changed, even though the UK has now left the EU. Nationals can still use their passport or National Identity Card until 30th June 2021. From then on, new immigration rules will apply.

Employers should check current passports, visas or travel documents which haven’t expired, where possible. However, if someone doesn’t have a current passport then employers can accept expired documents as evidence of their right to work in the UK.

Help with Conducting Right to Work Checks

The law regarding the right to work checks and other background screening procedures can be complicated. Failing to comply with the legislation around working legally can have severe implications for an organisation, as well as the individuals and their families.

Securing expert advice from a background check company like Eurocom CI can help prevent you from breaking the law. Get in touch with us for more information.