This page explains the difference between User IDs and Activation codes and how to use them in the Government Gateway.
A 'User ID' identifies you and authorises you to access the Government Gateway. Once you are a registered User, you will use your User ID along with a password every time you log in to the Government Gateway. You must keep your User ID safe, and not share it with anyone else. If you are registering on behalf of an organisation, you can add other people into your organisational group, and they will be sent their own User ID.
Note: You do not need a User ID and password if you are using a certificate to access the Government Gateway.
An 'Activation code' is sent to you each time you enrol for a government service. Your Activation code completes the registration process by authorising you to use the particular government service that you have enrolled for. You will only need to use it once to activate the service for the first time.
When you have registered with the Government Gateway and enrolled for your first service, your User ID will be displayed on the screen. You should print this page for future reference.
You will also (typically) receive a letter confirming the ID. Please note: some services, including those operated by HMRC, do not offer this facility.
You will receive a separate Activation code for each additional service you enrol for. You only use each Activation code once, to activate the relevant service.
User IDs and Activation codes are both made up of 6 or 12 randomly-generated characters; a combination of letters and numbers, (for example, R72YA1 or 8CK3SA26U1G4).
Note: If you registered before 20 August 2001 your User ID will contain four letters followed by four numbers (e.g. ABCD1234). If you did not register yourself but received a 'Getting Started' letter in 2002 your User ID will contain 11 random characters, including letters and numbers.
You may type the letters in your User ID in upper or lower case.
They will be sent to the address held by the government department handling the first service you enrolled for.
For each additional service you enrol for, the Activation code will be sent to the address held by the government department handling that service.
Some services are activated immediately. Services that require activation with a code must be activated within 28 days of the date on the letter you receive with your Activation code. After that date, the Activation code becomes invalid, and you will need to request a new one.