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2023-01-05
2 min read

Proof of Address in the UK – A Complete Guide (2023)

Learn about proof of address and why it’s needed in the UK.

Proof of address is a must-have for anyone wishing to open a bank account in the UK. Providing proof of address may be simple for UK-born residents, but it gets complex for those who’ve recently arrived in the country. To resolve this issue, banks may substitute proof of address with other checks. 

We at Sumsub prepared this article to explain what proof of address is, why it’s important, and how to obtain it.

Highlights

  1. What is proof of address?
  2. Why does the bank need proof of address?
  3. What documents count as proof of address in the UK?
  4. Are there banks that don’t require proof of address?
  5. FAQ

What is proof of address?

Proof of address or “proof of residency documents” is a document verifying one’s current residential address. In the UK, banks verify such documents before opening accounts to minimize fraud. 

Another essential for opening a bank account in the UK is proof of identity. Identity can be verified by a document with the applicant’s name and photo on it (e.g., passport). Clients, therefore, have to show two separate documents to prove their identity and residential address.

Why does the bank need proof of address?

Proof of address checks are an important part of a bank’s security measures. Banks verify addresses to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations and minimize the possibility of accounts being used for illegal activity. By asking for proof of address, banks link each account to an individual.

What documents count as proof of address in the UK?

Proof of address can be presented in different forms. Some examples include: 

  • Bank statement;
  • Utility bill for gas, electricity, water, internet, etc. linked to the property;
  • Letters from a recognized public authority or public servant/any government-issued correspondence;
  • Current lease agreement with signatures of the landlord and the tenant;
  • Credit card statement;
  • Employer’s certificate for proof of residence.

Additional documents may be accepted as well, depending on the bank’s policies. The validity of such documents also vary depending on their type. Utility bills usually get accepted if they’re less than three months old, whereas tax bills can be valid for a year. It should be noted that these validity periods are commonly used, but not set in stone. Therefore, individual banks have ultimate discretion over validity periods.

Are there banks that don’t require proof of address?

All major banks in the UK require customers to provide proof of address to open an account. Therefore, if you’re planning to operate a bank in the UK, you will need to ask for this document as well. However, there might be certain exceptions in cases when customers can’t provide standard proof of address. Instead, they may be able to provide:

  • An entitlement letter or identity confirmation issued by the government or local authority in case a person applying is claiming benefit;
  • Passport and university acceptance letter in case a person applying is a student;
  • A letter from a local authority in case a person applying is a traveler; 
  • A letter from a warden, a homeless shelter, or a refuge;
  • An application registration card from asylum seekers.

For such situations, the person should get in direct contact with the bank. The complete list of exceptions may be found here.

FAQ

  • What documents prove UK residency?

    The following documents are frequently used to prove one’s residency:

    • Bank statement;
    • Utility bill for gas, electricity, water, internet, etc. linked to the property;
    • Letters from a recognized public authority or public servant/any government-issued correspondence;
    • Current lease agreement with signatures of the landlord and the tenant;
    • Credit card statement;
    • Employer’s certificate for proof of residence.

  • Is an NHS letter proof of address?

    A National Health Service letter, as well as a letter from a medical center or utility bill, can be used as proof of address.

  • Is a bank statement proof of address?

    Yes, bank statements can be used as proof of address.

  • How to get proof of address without bills?

    The Financial Conduct Authority, an organization regulating banks in the UK, has a list of possible alternative solutions that people can use to get proof of address. The best option is to get in touch with the bank and ask about its policies.

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