Home Office minister James Brokenshire has moved to give licensees the confidence to accept Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) cards as ID.
The minister, who is currently overseeing the government's plans to overhaul the Licensing Act, has spoken out in support of the measure.
He said: "The government wholeheartedly supports PASS and would encourage all retailers to accept it as proof of age.
"Young people are rightly concerned about taking their passport with them on a night out, due to the risk of theft or loss, and they require a reliable document in order to prove their entitlement to purchase age-restricted goods."
He added: "I am keen to reassure retailers that accepting a PASS hologram card which carries the bearers image and acceptable date of birth is due diligence, and can be accepted with confidence."
Pass chairman Robert Humphreys said the statement should remove licensee doubts as to whether PASS is an acceptable form of ID.
He said: "This unambiguous clarification from the minister is most welcome and helpful.
"Retailers and their employees, including most especially doorstaff, should take comfort from it, and those who have felt any lingering doubt about whether or not they should accept cards bearing the PASS hologram can set them aside."
He added that licensees can lose trade by turning PASS card carriers who are genuinely over 18.
"The overwhelming majority of refusals of genuine PASS-hologrammed cards offered by young people who are of age to buy alcohol are by doorstaff, so I urge the trade to take this message to heart and to ensure that such employees are properly and fully trained to recognise and accept PASS cards.
"A third of the UK's 18 and 19-year-olds do not have passports or driving licences anyway, and many are keen to become your customers."