Archives Card

ARA Commercial Limited operates the Archives Card scheme, which is a subsidiary of the Archives and Records Association.  A single reader's ticket can be accepted by Record Offices that are part of the network, and used as identification when entering the Office. The card is valid for five years and is available free of charge.

Registering for an Archives Card

You can register for an Archives Card if you over the age of 14. 

Obtaining an Archives Card

You are required to visit a participating Archive within three months of beginning the registration process.  If you begin the process online, which is recommended, you will only need to provide proof of identity when visiting the Archive.

You are required to obtain a passport-style photograph to register for a card. 

You can either complete the registration when you visit a participating archive, where a staff member will take your photograph, or you can add this to the registration form yourself online.

Acceptable Forms of ID When Obtaining Archives Card

You have to provide two forms of identification when you visit the Archive to obtain your Archives Card in addition to your passport-style photograph.

Acceptable proof of identity includes:

  • Passport
  • Driving Licence
  • Bank Card
  • Credit Card
  • Government ID
  • UK National ID Card
  • European Union ID Card
  • Police Warrant Card
  • HM Forces ID Card
  • Sea/Air Master's Licence
  • NUJ Pass

You must also provide proof of address, which include:

  • Driving Licence including Address
  • TV Licence
  • Utility Bill (Issued within the last 3 months)
  • Bank or Building Society Statement (Issued within the last 3 months)
  • Credit Card Statement (Issued within the last 3 months)
  • Council Tax Bill
  • HM Revenue and Customs Statement
  • Passports including Address
  • UK National ID Card with Address
  • Home Office permit to stay
  • University Certificate for Hall of Residence
  • UK Firearms Licence
  • Home Insurance policy
  • International Student Photo Card

I Do Not Have Appropriate Documents to Obtain Archives Card

If you cannot provide proof of your identity, the Archive may be willing to issue you with a temporary pass, which will be valid for the day of your visit.

If you are over the age of 14, and cannot provide two pieces of documentation to prove your identity, you can bring a letter signed by your teacher or tutor, and identity which includes a photograph such as a passport, student card, or citizen card.

How Do I Use An Archives Card in the Archive?

Most Record Offices will require you to show your card when you visit the Archive.  This will usually be at the reception desk.  

Some Archives require you to hand in your card when you order any documents in the Archive.

How Long is My Archives Card Valid For?

Your card will be valid for five years from date of issue.  You will have to go through the process again to obtain a new card at this stage.

Which Record Offices Accept the Archives Card?

Record Offices accepting the Archives Card include:

Anglesey Archives

Berkshire Record Office

Berwick Record Office

Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies

Cambridgeshire Archives

Ceredigion Archives

Cheshire Archives and Local Studies

Conwy Archives

Cumbria Archive Centre - Barrow

Cumbria Archive Centre - Carlisle

Cumbria Archive Centre - Kendal

Cumbria Archive Centre - Whitehaven

Denbighshire Archives

Derbyshire Record Office

Dorset History Centre

Dudley Archives

Essex Record Office

Flintshire Record Office

Gloucestershire Archives

Hampshire Record Office

Herefordshire Archive Service

Isle of Wight Record Office

Lancashire Archives

Leicestershire Record Office

Library of Birmingham Archives

Norfolk Record Office

Oxfordshire History Centre

Pembrokeshire Archives

Sandwell Community History and Archive Service

Southampton City Archives

Surrey History Centre

Teesside Archives

Walsall Local History Centre

Warwickshire County Record Office

West Glamorgan Archive Service

West Sussex Record Office

Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service

Please note the National Archives does not accept the Archives Card as you have to obtain their card the first time you use the Archives and this again requires you to take proof of identity along with you.

  1. Family Tree Resources
  2. Record Offices
  3. Archives Card