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Home Resident Libraries, Archives and Culture Archives Reader's Ticket (Archives Card)

Reader's Ticket (Archives Card)

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If you are intending to use original archives, you will need to register for a reader's ticket.
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To view original documents you will need to have an Archives Card.  This new card has replaced the previous CARN (County Archives Research Network) Reader’s Ticket.  If you have an old CARN Ticket it is now obsolete and will need to be replaced.

How to get an Archives Card

The Archives Card is a single archive reader’s ticket which gives you access to a wealth of original archive material held in archives across the UK. Anyone aged 14 or over can apply for an Archives Card, which is free of charge and valid for five years.

You need to apply for a Card if you wish to view original documents in any of the archives participating in the scheme.  You can start the simple registration process today by clicking the link at the bottom of this page which takes you straight to the application form.

To complete your registration, you need to visit one of the participating archives within three months of submitting your form with two forms of identity, one taken from each of the lists below. A member of archives staff will check these are valid and, if so, issue your Card.

To save time on arrival, we recommend that you start your registration online before your visit. Then all you have to do when you visit is prove your ID.

A recent passport-style photograph (head and shoulders only) in electronic form is an essential part of the registration process. You can either add this yourself to your registration form or wait until you visit your chosen archive to complete registration, where a member of staff will take your photograph.

You need to complete the registration process within three months of submitting your form, otherwise your form will be deleted and you will have to enter your details again.

The Archives Card scheme is operated by ARA Commercial, which is a subsidiary of the Archives and Records Association, the leading body for archives in the UK and Ireland.

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What ID documents do I need to show?

The required identity documents to show to archives staff when you complete your registration are listed below and you should choose one from List A and one from List B.

All documents you use to prove your identity must be the current and/or most recent versions at the time you show them.

Please note that, where the same document (such as a driving licence) appears in both List A and List B, you can’t use the same document as both your proof of your identity and proof of your address.

A. Proof of identity (must include a valid signature):

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Bank card
  • Credit card
  • Government / local council staff ID
  • UK or other European Union national ID card
  • Police / Customs / Home Office warrant card
  • HM Forces ID card
  • Sea/Air Master’s licence
  • NUJ pass

B. Proof of address:

  • Driving licence with address
  • TV licence
  • Utility bill (issued within the last three months) 
  • Bank / building society statement (issued within the last three months)
  • Credit card statement (issued within the last three months)
  • Council tax bill / Council rent book (most recent bill)
  • HM Revenue and Customs statement
  • Passports with address (where the address has been officially entered by the issuing authority)
  • UK or other European Union national ID card with address
  • Home Office permit to stay
  • University certificate for hall of residence (stamped and signed by institution)
  • UK Firearms licence
  • Home insurance policy (policy must be in force)
  • International student photo card


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