Have you received a request to supply supporting documents as proof of your address in the UK? You may have likely encountered this request if you are:
- Applying for a new bank account, online or in-person;
- Trying to form a new company, even while using a virtual business address service;
- Applying for a provisional driving license where you must supply addresses where you lived for the last three years;
- Undertaking the National Insurance Number interview, and requiring the proof of address as part of the identity review;
- Applying for a loan or pension.
Now, you may be finding it hard to avail the proof of address in the UK for several reasons:
- It's your first time in the country, as a student or foreign worker.
- You recently moved to a new residency.
- You’ve turned 18 but still live at home and don’t have a bank account or driving license.
It's also likely that the bank or the HMRC has informed you that you must use two separate documents to establish identity and proof of address.
What can be used as proof of address
The whole point of asking for proof of address is for the institution or government agency to ascertain where an individual lives. Financial institutions must adhere to strict security measures and anti-money laundering laws. Knowing where you live enforces trust. Because correspondence is delivered at your home address, verifying your proof of address ensures that the institution can reach you.
Now the most common documents used as the proof of address include:
1. Bank and credit card statements
Most banks enforce strict proof of address verification, and many other institutions use a recent bank statement as an acceptable proof of address. However, bank statements must be no more than three or four months old. The statement must also contain transactions within the last 12 months.
Credit cards and bank statements are used interchangeably. You can also use a statement from another UK bank, including internet banking statements.
2. Council tax bill
You can supply a council tax bill or water bill as proof of address. Unlike bank or credit statements that must be at least three months old, council tax bills are valid for 12 months. Some banks may require council tax bills to have been received through the post at your current address.
3. Recent utility bills
You can use various utility bills as proof of address, including gas, electric, water, internet, and landline phone bills. Most institutions don't accept mobile phone bills as valid proof of address. The utility bills must have been issued within the last three months.
4. Driving license * applicable rules
The law requires you to have an updated driving license that reflects your current address. Otherwise, you may receive a fine of up to £1000 from the DVLA. That’s why banks and other institutions accept an EU/EEA photo driving license as a UK proof of address.
Some banks allow students to use a provisional driving license. If stated, you may also use the old-style unexpired UK full driving license.
Your unexpired UK/EEA driving license may not count towards verifying your proof of address for a bank account if you use it as one of the documents to prove your identity.
What else can you use in place of bank statement as proof of address
You can use a wide host of documents as proof of address for opening a bank account. Financial institutions usually lay out their requirements in their help sections, for instance, HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays, Halifax, and GoSolo.
What else counts as proof of address in the UK? Here is a quick summary of some commonly requested documents besides the main ones:
- EU/EEA mortgage statement with UK physical address;
- Universal Credit statements — 12 months validity;
- Housing, Pension, ESA, Loan, and other benefit entitlement letters;
- HMRC correspondence letters;
- HMRC tax notification — 12 months validity;
- Official HMRC documents: coding, statement, assessment, but not P45s or P60s;
- UK credit union statement — 3 months validity;
- Recent payslip with up-to-date address;
- NHS card or official NHS Letter;
- Blue disabled parking badges with address & DOB;
- Prison governor or Probation officer letters with official letterheads;
- Instrument of a court appointment (e.g., grant of probate);
- Government agency letters;
- UK Armed Forces ID Card;
- Concessionary bus passes;
- Electoral register search confirmation;
- Mail redirection letter.
When in doubt about what you can use as proof of address, remember that the document should bear your full name and present address.
How to Get Proof of Address — For International Students, Foreign Nationals, or After Turning 18
If you're a student, foreign national, or just turned 18, you may be wondering how you can get proof of address if you don't have all the acceptable documents. Well, here are some helpful pointers:
1. Supplying proof of address as an international & domestic student
As a student, you may need to offer confirmation from the school to ascertain your residence or student status. Now, some acceptable documents include:
- Printout of the digital AS12 confirmation email;
- Student eligibility letter for on-campus residency or in a school-operated building;
- Student loan confirmation letter;
- Formal letter of introduction from the school.
Documents must generally have an official letterhead. They need to be recently dated, for instance, within the last three to four months. It’s also essential for the documents to have your details, including full names, current address, non-UK address, and course details.
2. Supplying proof of address as a foreign national worker or expat
If you've recently arrived in the UK for work, the bank may accept a letter from your employer to establish residency. It must be recently dated and contain an official letterhead bearing the details of the company.
Another route utilised by expats entails finding a place to rent and paying the first month’s rent from a foreign bank account. After securing the rental agreement, they then apply for a UK bank account.
3. Proof of address if you’re below or turning 18 years old
If you still live with your parents or guardian and want to open a bank account that requires proof of address confirmation, it may be possible to use your parent’s or guardian’s documentation. Some banks allow parents with active accounts at the bank to write introductory letters.
4. UK proof of address with no fixed address or homelessness
Various financial institutions have taken the initiative to help people with no fixed home addresses to obtain bank accounts. The programs are run in conjunction with different charities, targeting persons experiencing housing or homeless difficulties. You can take a look at the initiatives here:
Frequently Asked Questions
Let's quickly take a look at some FAQs concerning opening a bank account:
Can I open a UK business account without a business address?
It's generally quite difficult to get by without an office address if you want to open a business bank account in the UK. While you can use a home address as a registered office, many business owners prefer to use a virtual business office for the greater protection and professionalism it affords. Services that offer this service still demand proof of the address.
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