Can I ask the sitter for identification (passport)?

First timer here!
I am expecting my sitter to arrive in about 10 days. Is it ok for me to ask to see her passport? Maybe even make a copy of it? I don’t want to offend but also want to be responsible with leaving my house and everything in it with a total stranger.
Can you please advise?
Thank you so much!
All the best,
B.

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Hello @MizzBee and welcome to the community! Yours is a very valid question that has been discussed before here in the forum with various outcomes. Some sitters are happy to provide their passport details while others not, for security and trust reasons.

The most important thing though is to know that trust is key to TrustedHousesitters and that is built in a number of ways. Most relevant to you as a new owner member is that EVERY sitter has to now undergo a mandatory ID check wherever they are in the world (plus a CBC check if registered in the USA). There is also a comprehensive reference/review system to help you learn more about your sitter and her previous experience, and of course the important thing you’ll often hear many of us talk about… that of gut feelings when talking to your applicants either through messages or better still on the phone or via a video chat.

Here’s some more information on this:

But importantly your sitter will already have submitted her passport or another form of credible ID.

I hope that helps reassure you.
All the best
Vanessa

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Hi @MizzBee as you’ve mentioned passport (which not everyone has), I’m guessing that perhaps your sitter is coming from another country. If I am flying to a sit, I forward my flight confirmation to the owners as soon as I receive it. If there are any changes to my flights, no matter how minor, I forward those too. I would hope that would be sufficient to ease an owner’s concerns. That, along with all the validation from the THS membership process, I feel should be sufficient.

If an owner would want more than that from me, then I’d want to know why. It would tell me that we have not reached the level of mutual trust that we both should get. In addition, I feel you should disclose that intended requirement with a sitter before the sit is confirmed, not after the fact. All requirements should be known for everyone beforehand.

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We have been asked a couple of times to provide copies of our IDs, but usually with sits through Facebook or other platforms. THS provides ID checks, this is a major reason why people are paying for and prefer to use this system over others (there are plenty).

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All the responses here have eased my concerns. Thank you!

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If it’s important to you, maybe offer to show your passport too and let them take a photo? Remember, you’re a total stranger to them too.

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My perspective as a sitter - I would withdraw interest in the sit if asked by a THS home-owner to provide a copy of my passport.

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As a sitter, I wouldn’t be offended. After all, I’m going to be in charge of your most prized possessions (animal & home). I would hope that the copy of my passport is destroyed after the end of the sit. And maybe it’s a bit naive of me, but what can really be done with a passport copy? The information contained is minimal (name, date of birth, country of birth and citizenship? I’ll likely disclose that in our first conversation anyway.

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We arrived at a Sit in Australia- a few years back-and were asked to provide passport copies. We were rather taken aback, but they said they’d been advised by their previous sitter to always ask for passort ID so we complied. If they’d asked when we first connected on WA it might have put us off. But as it was the handover day we did not have much choise. Anyway it all worked out and it was a great Sit!
But in future if that were to happen I would tell the host I’ve already been ID checked by THS & have plenty of 5* reviews (50+) & if that’s not enough I’d withdraw my application.

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First of all I understand your concerns and as a sitter I would have no qualms about showing you my driving license or passport. I’ve even been asked to give potential pet owners names and emails of a couple of our previous sits so they can ask them things in confidence. Of course I asked their permission first. But I would like to know why you want to copy it? Surely a quick note of the official name is enough? My address isn’t even on my passport.

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Yes ok want to see ho passport also if that’s the case.as a solo sitter can be quite nervous sometimes going to a sit not sure what to expect.

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What they have failed to tell you is if it is a couple, only one of them will have to be vetted. This is not made clear on the web site, but it has been confirmed to me by Therese-Moderator.

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Me too & I have in the past.

Thank you!!! :clap:

As a homeowner, the problem I have with this is, yes, you have been checked, but THS will not give me any information about you except what you tell me in conversations prior to the sit. So you have my full name, my address, multiple photos of my house, home and surroundings. All I have for you is your first name. That being the case I do ask for ID as you are a stranger moving into my home and I know absolutely nothing about you. No one has objected to me seeing a copy of their passport (I wouldnt photocopy it) or asking for your home address. By the way, all my sitters except one have been wonderful people and many still friends.

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As a sitter I think that is very sensible and personally I would have no objection.
If flights or ferries are involved I immediately send a copy of the confirmation to the homeowner to put their minds at rest.

I’m really surprised that there hasn’t been a full exchange of personal details prior to a sitter arriving. I usually add all our contact details to a full application (as sitters) but would certainly send them to the HO once confirmed. Although not our dates of birth now that I think of it.
Anyone who engages a sitter by their first name only is asking for trouble IMO.

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I just say, I hope you dont mind if I have sight of some ID so we know who you are and if possible your home address. I explain that they know everything about us but we only know their first names. They usually say, oh yes that is true. And understand.

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Hi @frenchlife, you have a lovely listing and gorgeous cats and have had plenty of sitters who have loved sitting for you, so don’t give up hope. I did notice that you do not mention though your requirement for sitters to show you their passport and possibly give you their home address. As this is important to you, it should be made clear in your listing then sitters can decide whether they will apply knowing this.

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@frenchlife I have mixed feelings about your response to my comment. I do understand that as a host you want to feel as comfortable and as at ease with your sitters as possible. And the same goes for the sitter too ofcourse! We, as sitters, are going to be living in your home and taking care of your beloved pets- this is a big responsibility and committment. However your comment that the sitter knows everything about you and you only know their first names indicates no proper contact before agreeing the sit. If you have had good contact with your sitter beforehand and asked/answered all important questions then you are no longer strangers to each other!
As a sitter we always make sure to connect with the host in ways that will make us feel at ease and trustful of each other. Usually we have some contact by msg or a phone call, often a video call, sometimes even a pre-sit meeting if the situation allows. Usually all this before agreeing the Sit. Only after confirming the Sit do we recieve the full address & welcome guide.
From a sitter perspective it seems to me the sitter usually provides a great deal of information about themselves on their profile and in their application. Also many pictures & their reviews and personal references. However most hosts do not post pictures of themselves on their profile- usually its just the pets & home. They also don’t usually share much about themselves- the focus is usually on home & petcare requirements. So I disagree with you that all you know is the sitters first name & that they are a total stranger! Its actually often the reverse!
We will be starting our 57th sit tomorrow and can honestly say we have never felt like strangers to any of our hosts. The hosts we will meet tomorrow we have not even spoken to yet, though the messaging has been very friendly -its a last minute Sit- but we’ll meet for an hour handover and we are all OK with that. Every sit arrangement is different.
In all our sits we have only once been asked to show our passports- which felt strange based on everything they already knew about us and our review history- but in that case it was because the hosts said their previous/first sitters had offered ID and said that all hosts ask for passport copy. This is simply not true! We are all members of an organisation where we should be, (or hope to be) meeting at a level of trust that would not require ID verification at that late stage.
But if its really important for you I think you should mention it in your listing. I do support you doing whatever feels right for you as long as you are upfront about it. The same as you should tell potential sitters if the pets expect to sleep in the bed with you or if a Covid vax is required. Etc etc Then sitters can decide if they want to apply with these terms.
In our case- if we were to be your sitters- we would not be able to provide a home address as we’ve been full time nomads for 10 years! And our passports show our legal names which are not the same as the names we use on THS & among friends! But if you take the time to get to know us & if you trust our 50+ reviews on this site you would know your pets & home would be in excellent hands!
Ultimately its all about open & honest communication and finding the right fit. :blush:

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