Proof of Address Guide: Why Is It Necessary and When Is It Mandatory

Although the legitimacy of proof of address document is vaguely defined it is still one of the basic requirements for KYC/AML checks

Going through a KYC/AML check it is many jurisdiction’s requirements to submit one’s identity proof together with the proof of address. These two basic mandatory KYC documents are necessary to comply with local or global regulations and to establish one’s identity at the time of verifying user identity online and creating an account on financial platforms, sharings, bettings or anywhere online.

At the same time, proof of address is a controversial matter. The document can be easily falsified and there are multiple occasions when a temporary address was submitted to imitate the permanent one.

Here we are going to talk about what can be used as proof of address specifically, as it is not always clear what counts as a valid item. To ensure that the verification will run smoothly let’s quickly run through what documents count as proof of address.

Commonly these documents are accepted as an address proof

  • Dated bank statement under a personal name not older than 3 months
  • Utility bill linked to the residential property, such as gas, electricity, water, internet, landline telephone not older than 3 months;
  • Credit card statement;
  • Letter from any recognized public authority or public servant, any government issued correspondence not older than 3 months;
  • Lease agreement along with last 3 months rent receipt;
  • House purchase deed;
  • Employer’s certificate for residence proof.

There are other address proof documents which are also accepted depending on banks, asset management companies, and insurers, the list differs from company to company.

Documents that can also be used as proof of residence 
These are the documents that can be accepted as a valid proof of address only if there is the address mentioned on them.

  • Passport;
  • ID card;
  • Driving license;

It is not possible to confirm the identity and place of residence with the same document. By law, if one of the ID documents has an address on it, another supportive document will be required at the identity check stage.

What documents fail as a valid for proof of address 

  • Bank references;
  • Pension statements;
  • Insurance policies;
  • Transfer receipts;
  • Bank statements older than 3 months;
  • Utility bill linked to the residential property, such as gas, electricity, water, internet, landline telephone older than 3 months;
  • Government-issued correspondence older than 3 months

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When is address proof mandatory
From our experience, it is almost always compulsory to submit a valid proof of address to go through a verification process as stated in most of the jurisdictional laws. At the same time, such requirements are largely outdated as the documents can be easily faked and people are changing their places of residency more and more frequently. For these reasons, some countries like Hong Kong don’t have proof of address in their requirements. We believe that all regulations will eventually adopt this practice, although it will take some time.

Quality check of residential address document
First of all, every company that conducts proof of address check has to have a comprehensive guide that describes the process and requirements for the user.

If there is no possibility to conduct an automated check, there are a few necessary steps to properly verify documents manually:

  1. To accurately inspect the document for watermarks, security features, common patterns of graphics editing;
  2. Check if the document is of valid issue date (no older than 3 months for bank statements/utility bill and not older than 3 months for government-issued correspondence);
  3. Make sure that the document has the account holder’s name;
  4. Check if the document has the address (the more specific the better) and confirm it’s existence through a search engine such as Google or Naver. If the applicant submits the address without the apartment number while living in a block of flats, the compliance officer must request them to specify the flat as well.

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