Setting up an account
- How do I set up a Purple Visits account?
To get started with Purple Visits all you need to do is download the IOS or Android version of the app on the download page.
Once you have downloaded the app you will be asked to register, please ensure that you enter all details exactly how they appear on your ID as these details will be used to verify your identity.
You will be sent an email verification code so please ensure you enter the correct email address when prompted.
- What do I do if my ID keeps getting rejected
Please ensure your ID documents are clear and readable for our system to process your registration.
- I do not have photo ID how can I register?
Photo ID is required by all users over the age of 18. If you do not have any photo ID you may be able to get a citizens card online here: https://www.citizencard.com/what-is-a-citizencard
- What is a selfie and how do I take one?
A selfie is a picture of yourself, you need to take a selfie during the verification process in order to register for Purple Visits. Please ensure you take your selfie with a plain and clear background just like you are taking a passport photo.
Verifying your identity
- How long does verification take?
When you first open a Purple Visits account you will be asked to verify your identity using a government issued photo ID. It should only take a minute or two to upload your documents within the app and then our system will verify you within 48 hours. (It’s usually much quicker)
- How do I verify my identity?
Once you have verified your email address you will then be asked to provide Photo ID. Acceptable identification documents generally include one of the following:
- Passport (including foreign passports. Some establishments will also accept time expired passports where the photograph is still recognisable)
- Photographic driving licence
- Employer or student ID (but only if it clearly shows the name of the visitor and if the employer or the education establishment is known to exist)
- Inland Revenue registration card (providing your date of birth is displayed)
- Senior citizens public transport pass (providing your date of birth is displayed)
- Citizens card (you can get one of these here: https://www.citizencard.com/)
The first thing to do is to take a clear image of the ID you have chosen to use, please ensure all 4 corners of the ID are visible and your image along with any text on the ID can clearly be seen.
Next up you will be required to provide some proof of address, a recent utility bill or bank statement that clearly shows your name and address will be fine here.
Now for the last step, simply take a “selfie” image, you need to take a picture of yourself in front of a clear background just like you are taking a new passport photo. Guidance on taking a good “selfie” image for your Purple Visits account can be found on the Adding your ID help page.
- Waiting for Verification
Once you have provided your ID the system will need to verify your account, this can take upto 48 hours (however its usually much quicker) please note that updating your details during this time will result in your ID verification process restarting which may mean a longer wait!
Once the account is verified you will get a notification and an email letting you know. If your account is not verified for any reason the system will let you know what the issue is and you can re-submit your ID for verification.
Adding & Managing Contacts
- What is a Contact?
Within the purple visits video calling app you add your loved ones in custody under the term “contact”. So when we ask you to “add a contact” this means we need you to add the person in custody that you would like to have a video call with.
- What is a Prison Number?
When adding a contact to your contacts list within the app it’s vital that you enter the contacts prison number correctly. Their prison number is a unique number allocated to them when they enter the justice system.
- What if my contact moves prison?
When adding a contact you are asked to select their prison from a drop down menu. If your contact moves prison simply “edit” your contact and select their new prison from the drop down menu.
- I can’t find my contacts prison on the list?
The prison list that is shown is a list of all prisons that offer purple visits currently. If your contacts prison is not yet on the list please contact the prison for more information.
- What is an additional participant?
Additional Participants are people that you would like to be included on your Purple Visits video call with you.
- Do additional participants need ID?
Any additional participant over the age of 18 will require ID and this will be checked by the system just as your ID was. If your additional participant is under the age of 18 then ID is not required by the system however the individual prison may request that you supply this on a case by case basis.
- How many additional Participants can i add?
You can add an unlimited number of additional participants to your account however only 3 addtional participants can be approved onto a Purple Visits video call. (that means 4 of you in total)
Requesting a Purple Visits video call
- How many video calls can I request
Each prison have their own set of criteria in terms of video calling, please contact them for more information. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic video calls will be limited to one call per month to ensure everyone can be included.
- Booking a Purple Visits Video Call
If the prison allows members of the public to request Purple Visits video calls you will be able to make these requests directly through the mobile app.
- Tap on the “Request Video Call” tab from the in app menu and the select your contact.
- If the prison allows you to request a call you will then be asked to select a date and slot that you require. This video call request will be reviewed by a member of the team within the prison and then hopefully approved.
- If however the prison that your contact is in doesn’t accept video call requests you will need to ask your contact to request the video call from within the prison itself (just as they would request a social visit)
- Purple Visits do not control the video call availability so please get in touch with the prison directly to discuss any issues you may have.
Having a Video Call
- Starting a Purple Visits video call
Once you have an approved video call booked in you will be able to see the details of this under the “My Video Calls” tab in the menu bar of the mobile app.
A few minutes before your purple visits video call is about to start select the call from the list of approved calls and then tap the “Enter waiting room” button.
You will need to take a selfie to pass through pre call security but please remember that ONLY the main participant should be visible in this selfie.
Once you’re passed security you will see a grey button that will turn purple once your contact has logged in from inside the prison.
- Making the best of your Purple Visits video call
Purple Visits is a secure and compliant video calling platform which in order for prisons to maintain they duty of protecting the public have a number of security features in place. To make the most of your in call experience please place your device onto a stable surface and ensure you have plenty of battery life and a stable WIFI connection. Also using a headset will provide you with the best possible experience in terms of sound during your call.
You should sit directly in front of the device and try to avoid moving around too much, think of it like you are reading the news! Any additional participants that have been approved onto the call should (when they wish to) be in full view of the camera as partial faces may result in the call being paused.
If for any reason during your video call you are asked to re-verify your identity, please make sure that you re-verify ONLY THE MAIN USER and not any additional participants even if they are approved onto the call.
- I’m running late, I think I’m going to miss my call time.
All Purple Visits video calls are booked in advance as this helps prison staff to ensure that the people in custody can be taken to a Purple Visits terminal within the prison or secure establishment. If you are not going to be able to attend you should as soon as possible hit the “cancel” button located within the “My Video Calls” section of the app.
This will notify officers so that your loved one is not waiting for a call that will not take place.
- I can’t be at home at the call time, can I take the call elsewhere?
Yes, you certainly can! The unique compression techniques employed by the Purple Visits video calling system allows for high quality video calling over 4G as well as WIFI.
- My call paused, why would this happen?
As mentioned under the “what is the best way to have a Purple Visits video call” question, the Purple Visits platform is a secure platform to help prisons in their efforts to protect the public. This means at all times the system needs to be sure that only verified participants are present on the video call. If you have something covering your face like hair or even a splash of light from a window the system may fail to recognise you which would cause the call to pause. The best way to avoid this is to place your device on a stand or solid surface and sit infront of the camera just like you’re reading the news.
Got a question?
We would love to hear from you, please get in touch and we will do our best to respond swiftly.