It's now a legal requirement under the Immigration Act (2014) for all landlords in England & Scotland to check that you have the 'right to rent' before allowing you access to a rental property.
These checks are required regardless of your personal circumstances – whether you're born in the UK, here temporarily or a permanent migrant, the law requires that all tenants must undergo the checks.
What you will need to do
You will have to present certain documents – typically just your passport – to your letting agent before they can allow you into their rental property. Your letting agent will need the original document and will need to take a copy of it whilst you're present.
Your letting agent won't be able to proceed until you arrange this with them.
What if you don't have the right documents?
Unfortunately the law is quite unequivocal and your letting agent can't change it – you will need something from the list of acceptable documents (below) in order to move in to your new property.
If you don't have anything on the list, you will have to obtain something from the list, for example by contacting the Home Office and requesting an Immigration Status Document, or speaking to your employer or HMRC etc.
List of documents which can be accepted
British passport — current or expired, showing that you are a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies and have the right of abode in the UK.
Passport — current or expired, showing that you are a national of the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland.
Permanent Registration Document — current or expired, certifying or indicating that you have permanent residence, issued by the Home Office, if you're a national of a European Union/European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
Permanent Residence Card — or 'indefinite leave to remain' card, 'indefinite leave to enter' or 'no time limit' card issued by the Home Office (current or expired), if you're a non-EEA national but are a family member of an EEA or Swiss national.
Biometric Immigration Document — issued by the Home Office to you indicating that you are allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or have no time limit on your stay in the UK. The document must be valid (not expired).
Passport or travel document — endorsed to show that you are exempt from immigration control, are allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, have the right of abode in the UK, or have no time limit on your stay in the UK. May be current or expired.
Immigration status document — with an endorsement indicating that you are permitted to stay indefinitely in the UK or have no time limit on your stay in the UK. The document must be valid (not expired) and must contain a photograph of the holder.
Certficate of naturalisation — or a certificate of registration as a British citizen.
UK Driving license — which must current, and a 'photo card' type.
Benefits paperwork — issued to you by HMRC, a Local Authority or a Job Centre Plus, dated within the last 3 months.
Letter from a UK further or higher education institution — confirming that you have been accepted on a course of studies.
Letter issued within the last 3 months confirming your name — signed by a British passport holder (giving their name, address and passport number), or issued by a person who employs you (giving their name and company address) confirming your status as an employee, or issued by a UK government department or local authority and signed by a named official (giving their name and professional address).
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate — issued to you within the last 3 months.
Evidence of current or previous service in HM's UK armed forces — identity card, document of confirmation issued by one of HM forces, confirmation letter issued by the Secretary of State.
Your full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland — which includes the name(s) of at least one of your parents or adoptive parents.
Letter from a UK police force — confirming that you are a victim of crime and that your personal documents have been stolen, stating the crime reference number, issued within the last 3 months.
Letter from one of the Prison Services — HM Prison Service, the Scottish Prison Service or the Northern Ireland Prison Service confirming your name and date of birth; or a letter from an officer of the National Offender Management Service in England and Wales, an officer of a local authority in Scotland or an officer of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland.
Current UK firearm or shotgun certificate — issued with your name on it.
Passport (or document) with endorsement — showing that you are allowed to stay in the UK for a time-limited period.
Biometric immigration document — issued by the Home Office to you, indicating that you are permitted to stay in the UK for a time limited period.
Ascension or Derivative residence card — issued by the Home Office to you, if you're a non-EEA national who is either a family member of an EEA or Swiss national or has a derivative right of residence..
Immigration status document — issued by the Home Office to you with a valid endorsement indicating that you may stay in the UK for a time-limited period.
Email from Landlord Checking Service — If you have an an ongoing application with the Home Office, or your documents are with the Home Office, or you claim to have a permission right to rent, an email from the Landlords Checking Service providing a 'yes' response to a right to rent request.