I am an EU citizen and I'm currently searching for a job in the UK. I've been working with different agencies over the internet and one of them is asking for my passport (I assume, to verify my identity). The others still didn't but that may entirely because I'm not so far in the job search process with them. The passport is being asked before sending my CV to the actual clients.

Is this acceptable? I do understand what they're after, but I cannot but feel a bit worried about sending a copy of my passport to someone that for all purposes I do not actually know that well.

Question Update

As per Codingo's suggestion, I told them I wasn't really comfortable about it and they told me they were cool with it, but that if my recruiting process with any of its clients comes to fruition I will have to eventually down the road provide the passport, which is something that I'm ok with.

  • Some countries in the EU (notably Germany) forbid providing passport copies (with some exception for money laundering etc.) – arved Jul 29 '15 at 16:31

I have seen this come up with quite frequently in one way or another generally to prove that the potential employee is a legal citizen and able to pay their taxes.

That said, something clearly feels wrong about this situation or just this company for you. You should heed that and not ignore it based on the comments of a stranger on the internet! I would reply back to them with something along the lines of:

I'm sorry but I'm not comfortable supplying my passport over the internet, is there a different kind of document I can provide you?

  • Yes - but if there's another kind of document they accept, it'll be along the same lines of identity-and-nationality proof as the passport. – Hazel Jul 29 '15 at 14:11
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    @Hazel Not neccessarily, they may consider a health card in some cases. Regardless, this should be his first correspondence if he's uncomfortable as your outcome is an assumption that is far from guaranteed. – Michael A Jul 29 '15 at 14:16
  • @Codingo, but I'm not sure I want to provide my health card to the recruiter either. I don't believe the recruiter has any valid need to authenticate the legality of my employment. I can see them wanting to know so they don't do a bunch of work and get nothing for it, but the legal requirement should be on the employer, not the recruiter. I would have ave no problem providing significant identifying documents to my (future) employer after accepting a job, in fact I would expect to. – cdkMoose Jul 29 '15 at 14:47
  • @cdkMoose in the UK Recruiters and employers are liable for some serious fines if they don't check that you are legaly able to work. – Pepone Jul 29 '15 at 19:35
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    @cdkMoose the recruiter who sells you to their customer while you're not legal for that customer to employ can be legally liable for that, for selling broken goods so to speak. – jwenting Nov 16 '15 at 7:21

I would send them a copy with your passport number blacked out. It shows validity and citizenship without the sensitive information that would be required for identity theft. This should meet their purposes without exposing yourself to needless risk.


A bit late to this question, but you do get legitimate agencies in the Uk asking for a passport. Usually they have part of their pitch to clients that they have verified the ability of their candidates to work in the UK, which a passport is straight evidence. That being said, as you did, use your discretion anf wait until interviews have moved to offer, a legit one will wait


All recruitment agencies in the UK have to see proof of right to work in the UK - its not Identity they are verifying but your eligibility to work in the UK.

They are using an EU passport to verify that you can legally work in the UK I have had to produce my birth certificate both for the agency and my employer.

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    No, recruitment agencies don't have to see this proof. The employer has the legal obligation to check that you have the right to work in the UK. The employer cannot rely on the recruitment agency. The agency can give you very strong advice that if you have no proof then you are not going to get the job, so it would be pointless to go to job interviews etc.But they don't need to see any proof. – gnasher729 Jul 29 '15 at 22:30
  • @gnasher729 thatis not what a lot of agencies do I have been forced to present proof of right to work before they will even talk to me. – Pepone Jul 30 '15 at 20:08

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