Documents important to care leavers

The Care Leavers' Service (CLS) can help you get the documents or photo identification you might not have. The CLS will only fund one form of ID. To request this funding or for more support, please speak to your Personal Adviser (PA).

You will need documents to prove who you are and to access educational courses, employment, social benefits or to open a bank account. The CLS will support you to ensure that you have the important documents you need, such as a passport and birth certificate, however you will be responsible for ensuring you look after these and keep them safe – the CLS will not repurchase documents if you lose them. If you agree, the CLS can keep copies of your important documents safely on your record.

You are responsible for ensuring you keep this safe, and for funding any additional documents, or replacements.

Documents important to you could be:

National insurance (N.I) number

At 15 years and 9 months, your social worker should apply for your national insurance number (N.I Number). Your PA will ensure that you have this. You need this number, if you wish to work, so you must keep it safe. If you lose it, your PA can support and advise you on how to obtain another one, but you will have to pay any costs towards receiving a replacement. The website has more information about your national insurance number.


Your PA will support you with an application for a passport, and the CLS will cover the cost of applying for and purchasing this. Your passport is your main source of I.D. and can be used to open a bank account, or travel. If you lose this, you will have to fund a new one and they are not cheap, so please keep it in a safe place. You can find out more information and apply for a passport on the website.

Provisional driving licence

This provides you with photo I.D., as does a passport. If you intend to learn to drive, you will need a license. Again, if you do not keep your license safe and require another one, you will have to fund this yourself. Please also remember that if you move address, you must update the DVLA. You can find more information and apply for your provisional driving licence on the website.

Birth certificate

If you do not have a birth certificate, your PA can support you to apply for one. This can be used, alongside photo I.D., to open a bank account. You may also need it if you intend to get married. It proves your identity and is therefore extremely important. More information about birth certificates can be found on the website.

British citizenship

If you are entitled to apply for British citizenship, your PA will support you to do this. More information about British citizenship can be found on the website.

Biometric residence permit (often called a biometric card)

If you are an unaccompanied asylum-seeking young person, you will not be able to apply for a Passport, but can apply for a biometric residence permit which will provide you with a source of I.D. The CLS will pay for you to apply for this. The website has more information about biometric residence permits.

Accessing your records

You have a right to see the information we hold about you, including the records written about you when you were in care. This is called a Subject Access request. If you would like to see your file, please speak to your PA in the first place as they may be able to answer any questions you have. If you would like to make a subject access request then speak to your PA and they will help you complete the forms you need to.