Nightclub Advice

How to properly check IDs

An ID for a nightclub to check

It's important that staff at a nightclub are properly checking IDs.

Some doormen don't care about fake IDs. This could be problematic if your venue gets raided. Your business could get shut down.

In the United States people are not allowed to enter clubs if they are under 21, in many other countries the minimum age is 18.

Your nightclub should have a written protocol for checking IDs.

Bartenders can be liable if they serve underage people so they should probably have a protocol; even if it's not as thorough. At minimum bartenders should ask the age of the customer if they look young.

You could choose from our tips below and put them in a written guide.

Tips for checking IDs

Who should you check?

You should probably check anybody who looks under 30.

Should you only check driver's licenses?

Generally you would check other forms of ID unless the venue has had warnings relating to underage drinking; perhaps the venue had negligent doormen.

Not everyone has a driver's license such as people with disabilities so it's good to check other forms of ID.

Checking dates

The person checking the ID needs to pay attention to the day and month. Sometimes they only pay attention to the year which results in letting in people who are slightly underage.


Ensure that you have adequate light to view the ID; particularly the photo.

The photo should look like the person with the ID. Some people may be using a friend's ID so take a good look. It would be helpful if there's adequate lighting to do the comparison.

Check if they have a similar chin, nose, eye spacing and forehead. Check if the eye color is same.

Is it a quality card?

Many legitimate cards would have holograms. If it doesn't have one it might be fake. You should ignore this if local cards don't have holograms.

Does the text look smudged or is a different font than normal cards? It could be a fake if so.

Fake cards are not as durable. Bend the card and see if it looks damaged afterwards.

Feel around the edges, birthdate and photograph. Do features seem glued on? If so you definitely have a fake ID.

It's probably useful if you examine your own card before you check IDs at your job. You may want to feel key areas of it and shine a torch on multiple areas to get to know the characteristics of a valid card.

Questions you could ask

You could ask for their Zodiac sign. This will require you to memorize the signs and months. People who use fake IDs usually don't know the zodiac sign that matches the birthdate on their ID.

Ask for their height. Again many people who use fake IDs won't know the height displayed on the card however normally only driver's licenses would display the height of the person. .

If the name on the card has a middle initial you could make up a letter and ask them what it stands for. For example if their name is John E. Smith you could ask what does the G stand for. This could catch them off guard.

You could ask for a secondary form of ID. Many people would have one.


Some bouncers would get the person to write out their signature on a piece of paper. You could have a pad and pen for people to do this.

Human behavior

Pay attention to human behavior. If the person looks away when handing you ID it's a red flag. The same applies if they're talking to their friends when you're trying to speak to them.

If they hesitate when you ask questions it could be a sign that they have a fake ID. If they seem nervous (fidgety or sweaty) when they're talking to you then you should take this as a red flag.

Maintain standards even if the venue is busy

It's important that your protocols are followed to the letter even when the venue is busy. There could be consequences for the venue and the staff if this isn't done.

Confiscating IDs and logging incidents

Some areas require you to confiscate IDs you suspect are fake or misused. You can't do this for digital IDs you would lodge an initial report instead.

The venue may be required by law to log incidents.

Ensure that your staff follow your protocol

Write your protocol down and make sure your staff follow it. If other staff need to cover the doorman then make sure they follow your venue's guidelines for checking IDs.

Thanks for reading

If you're a venue owner you may want to use the information above to write a protocol for checking IDs.