NSW RTA Photo Card and evidence of age requirements
What is a Photo Card?
A Photo Card is a credit-card sized document bearing the cardholder’s photo, name, address, date of birth, and gender. It can be accepted in those situations where a driver licence is accepted for identification purposes.
Photo Cards are available through the Roads and Traffic Authority
(RTA) . NSW residents over 16 years who do not hold a NSW driver licence or NSW Proof of Age Card, may apply for a Photo Card. Applicants must satisfy the RTA’s strict identification requirements, provide proof that they reside in NSW, and pay the applicable fee. Photo Cards are valid for five years.
Is the Photo Card an acceptable form of identification?
Patrons can use the Photo Card as either proof of age or proof of address (when entering registered club premises). The Photo Card is an acceptable evidence of age document for people 18 and over accessing licensed venues and purchasing alcohol. This card will assist licensed venues in preventing minors accessing their venues and alcohol and gaming products. NSW public health (tobacco) legislation also recognises it as acceptable proof of age for tobacco purchases.
The Photo Card provides people with acceptable photo identity who:
- do not hold a driver licence
- do not hold a passport, or
- do not have other suitable identification.
Are NSW Proof of Age Cards still valid as identification?
No. NSW Proof of Age Cards were valid until 13 December 2008. The RTA no longer issues Proof of Age Cards.
What other forms of identification are acceptable?
The Photo Card is one of your documents that can be accepted as evidence of age under the NSW liquor and gaming machine laws. The others are:
- driver licence
- passport (or their interstate / international equivalent).
Do Photo Cards issued to under and over 18s look different?
No. Photo Cards are available to NSW residents aged 16 and over. Licensees and club secretaries must ensure their venue has appropriate checks in place to make sure minors do not gain unlawful entry or are sold alcohol. It is therefore important to check the holder’s birth date.
This is also the case with driver licences, passports and the NSW Birth Card, as they can be issued to under 18s. A birth date appears on the front of a Photo Card, as well as a birth date in bold print on the reverse side.
What security features does the Photo Card have?
Photo Cards have the same security features as a NSW driver licence. This includes:
- ultraviolet watermarks of NSW State Crest
- hologram of NSW State Coat of Arms
- outline of NSW and text ‘New South Wales’ on front and rear of card
- colour printed right to the edge of the card, and
- microtext at top and bottom of photo, and a patterned blue background.
For further information about the appearance of Photo Cards and security features go to the RTA’s website – www.rta.nsw.gov.au or contact the RTA on 13 22 13.
Can licensees and their staff confiscate a Photo Card or other forms of identification?
No. If a Photo Card is suspected of being false, or being used fraudulently, licensed venue staff do not have confiscation powers. Only police and people authorised by the RTA can confiscate Photo Cards. This also applies to driver licences and passports. If a card is suspected of being false, police should be contacted.
Are my staff permitted to ask for photo ID from all people entering the premises?
No. Proof of age should only be sought when a person is suspected of being under 18.
What if somebody entering my premises does not have photo ID?
Except for registered clubs, who are required to keep registers of members’ guests and temporary members, there is no legal basis to request and record a patron’s personal details. Proof of age should only be requested when a person is suspected of being under 18.
What about entering registered clubs?
The NSW registered clubs laws require a person to be a member, or a member’s guest, to enter club premises. A club must determine if a person lives more than 5km away from the club to be admitted as a temporary member. Most clubs ask to see a driver licence, as it contains an address.
Where a person is clearly over 18, and does not possess or does not wish to show their photo ID, clubs can accept a utility/telephone bill or council rate notice which shows their address.
What do I do with lost Photo Cards found at our venue?
Any lost Photo Cards, or Proof of Age Cards, should be returned to the RTA address appearing on the back of the card.
Tips for checking evidence of age
Regardless of what document you or your staff accept, it is important your venue has practices in place to assist with accepting proof of age / ID documents. Tips for
establishing if a document is genuine may include:
- examine all ID in a well-lit area where alterations will be spotted more easily
- do not inspect an ID through the window face in a person’s wallet - ask them to remove it
- take the ID from the patron and take your time examining it
- make sure the ID includes a hologram or other security feature
- compare the photo with the patron presenting the ID – do they match? Pay particular attention to distinguishing facial features
- feel around the photo, birth date and edges of the card, especially a card enclosed in plastic (laminate) – wrinkles, bumps and air bubbles could mean the ID has been altered
- calculate that the date of birth of the ID does in fact confirm the person is at least 18