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How do I carry out a manual right to work check?

Step 1: Request original right to work documents from either List A or List B from the individual.

Step 2: Once received, check that the documents are valid in the presence of the individual . To do this you should check:

  • the expiry date of the document
  • that the photograph and date of birth are consistent with the individual’s appearance
  • that the name on the document matches the name provided in the job application and any other documents provided
  • that the document does not restrict the individual from performing the work in question
  • the genuineness of the document to ensure that it has not been forged or been tampered with, and
  • if the prospective employee is a student, appropriate additional information is

If there is a difference in names across documents, you must ensure that the reason can be explained by providing evidence (e.g. original marriage certificate, divorce decree absolute, deed poll etc) and you should also retain a copy of this evidence.

When you are checking the validity of the documents in the presence of the holder, you can do this in person or via a live video link. In both cases you must be in physical possession of the original documents. For example, an individual may choose to send their documents to you by post to enable you to conduct the check with them via live video link.

Step 3: Evidence of the right to work check must be retained either electronically or in hard copy.

  • You must make a clear copy of every document you have checked in a format which cannot manually be altered.
  • You must also retain a secure record of the date on which you made the check and simply writing a date on the copy document is not sufficient, you must also record that this is the date on which you conducted the check. You may face a civil penalty if you do not record the date on which the check was performed.
  • All copies of documents taken should be kept securely for the duration of the worker’s employment and for two years thereafter.

We provide training for staff on how to carry out compliant right to work checks. Please contact one of our expert Immigration team to discuss this further.


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Given the fast pace of change, we would stress that this information is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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