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Common documents accepted as proof of address in the UK include utility bills, council tax bills, the UK driving licence, bank statements, and official government correspondence.

Newcomers to the UK, who might not have traditional proof of address, may be able to use alternative documents like letters from educational institutions or employers.

Having to prove your identity will be one of the first things you will need to do when opening a bank account, applying for daily life services, or engaging with government agencies in the UK. This involves providing valid proof of identity and proof of address in the UK.

To verify your identity, you can use documents such as your ID card or passport.

But what about proof of address? This article gives a complete look at proof of address in the UK—what it is, why it's needed, the list of commonly accepted documents, and where to get it. We will also cover where to find it if you've just arrived in the UK.

What Is a Proof of Address in the UK?

Proof of address is a document that validates your residence in the UK, containing both your name and physical residential address.

Banks and government agencies require proof of address for compliance, security, and determining eligibility for specific services, benefits, or welfare programs, as well as for overall record-keeping.

In practical terms, documents confirming the active use of your current address, such as recent utility bills and credit card statements, serve as proof of address. Alternatively, a lease agreement can also be utilised.

🔍 Tip: Learn the basics of proof of address in our article on what proof of address is.

Why Does Your UK Bank Need Proof of Address?

Banks and financial institutions are required to comply with strict security measures to prevent illegal activities like money laundering.

Whether you’re opening an account, applying for a credit card or applying for a loan, the bank has to ensure a valid identity by checking the validity of both your identification and residential address.

Banks may have different approaches when asking for documents to verify your address, but they'll typically request 1 to 2 documents.

These documents usually have to be from original sources such as a current UK driving licence, HMRC Tax Notification, or recent bills.

Other Scenarios Where You Will Need Proof of Address in the UK

  1. Renting a property in the UK 

    When renting a property in the UK, it is required that you provide paperwork that confirms your current address as part of verifying your identity, along with other documents that prove you have the right to rent in the UK.

  2. Government registrations

    For certain government registration processes like registering to vote, obtaining a driving licence, registering a birth, and applying for benefits, proof of address is required. This is because the government needs to both verify your identity and assess your eligibility for these services.

What Documents Are Accepted As Proof of Address?

Banks and institutions have their own set of accepted documents. In addition, the procedures for submitting these documents and the validity periods of each document can also vary.

For example, a bank or credit card statement or a utility cannot be any more than 3-4 months old, whereas a council tax bill is valid for 12 months.

You can check the specific document validity requirements with your bank before giving any documentation.

Commonly Accepted Documents as Proof of Address in the UK

  • Valid UK driving licence
  • Recent utility bill (gas, electricity, water, or landline phone)
  • Council tax bill for the current local authority tax year
  • Recent credit card or bank statement 
  • Internet banking statements may be accepted
  • Recent Building Society or Credit Union statement or passbook (within the last three months)
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Mortgage statement issued by a recognised lender for the entire preceding year
  • Residential permit
  • Current-year council or housing association rent card or lease agreement.
  • Current-year HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) self-assessment letters or tax demand
  • A solicitor's letter confirming a recent property purchase within the past three months or official confirmation from the land registry regarding the address
  • Letters from a government entity such as the HMRC
  • Vehicle or home insurance certificate

📌 Note: Since policies vary between organisations, some documents may be acceptable while others may not. 

To determine whether a document will be accepted or to explore alternative options, the best approach is to get in touch with the organisation making the request.

Conditions for a Legitimate Proof of Address in the UK

  • You need to provide two separate documents for proof of identification and proof of address. You cannot use the same document for both. For example, even if an institution allows a valid UK driver's licence for both proof of identification and proof of address, if you use a valid UK driver's licence for proof of identification, you likely have to provide another type of document, such as utility bills, for proof of address.
  • All documents must be recent within a specific timeframe, typically 3 - 12 months, depending on document types and requesting organisations. Expired documents won't be accepted.
  • Documents used for proof of address should show your full name and current address.
  • Banks reserve the right to obtain additional identification and address verification documents if required.

How To Get a Proof of Address in the UK?

As highlighted, providing evidence of your address is a vital prerequisite for a range of activities in the UK.

In this section, we'll go over the most common ways to get proof of address in the UK.

⚠️ Caution: Address fraud is a legal violation. Only try to secure these documents if you are currently residing in the UK.

1. Gather Your Utility Bills

Utility bills are one of the simplest forms of proof of address. 

If you reside or own a property in the UK and the bills are under your name, this can serve as a reliable proof of address.

Generally, these bills are considered valid proof of address for a period of three months, indicating the active use of the specified address.

It's also essential that the bills display the date, your full name, and your current address. 

2. Use a Council Tax Bill 

Council tax is an annual fee paid to your local council in the UK, and the funds collected are utilised to support various services such as waste collection,  street lighting, police, and so on. 

This tax is paid by the household, making the bill a valid proof of address as long as it dates back no more than 12 months. 

3. Use the UK Driving Licence

Depending on the institution’s policy, a legitimate UK driving licence can serve as valid proof of address. 

Nevertheless, given that the UK driver's licence is also accepted as photo identification or proof of identity, it's important to note that it cannot be utilised for both photo identification and proof of address simultaneously; you must choose one or the other.

If you need more information regarding driving licence in the UK, check out this UK driving licence guide from the UK government website.

4. Use Recent Bank Statement

Bank statements are commonly relied upon as proof of address since a trustworthy source, like banks, is the issuer. 

If you have an account or cards with a UK bank, make sure your registered address matches your most updated residential address. If it does, you can use the bank statement from the last three months as proof of your address.

5. Use Documentation from Government Entities

Official letters or statements from government entities can be used as proof of address as well.

For example, you can use documentation from

  • HM Land Registry - A government entity responsible for maintaining and recording property ownership in England and Wales.
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - The UK's tax authority. Tax-related documents often contain the taxpayer's registered address, providing a reliable confirmation of residence. 

6. Lease Agreement

A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and a tenant outlining the terms and conditions of renting a property. If you've rented a place, you may be able to provide a lease agreement stating your residence at the current address as proof of address.

7. Home Loan or Insurance 

In some cases, a mortgage loan or insurance that indicates ownership of the property and residency at the address can also be used as proof of address. 

quote

Proof of address is essential for settling down in the UK. Before registering for a tax number or opening a bank account, secure a place, whether temporary or long-term.

Djon Ly, Digital Marketing Manager at Statrys
Djon Ly
Product Marketing Manager, Previously worked in London
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quote

Q&A

What did you need proof of address for in the UK?

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I needed proof of address primarily to get a UK tax number for work and to open a bank account.

How did you obtain proof of address, and which document did you use?

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How recent did your documents need to be?

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Did you use any digital documents as proof of address? Were online documents accepted?

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Are there temporary solutions if you can't provide permanent proof of address?

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Were there any services or resources that you found particularly helpful during the proof of address submission process?

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What Can Be Used as Proof of Address When You Just Arrive in the UK?

If you've recently arrived in the UK, you may not have typical documents like utility bills, bank statements, or a driver’s license with your updated UK address just yet. 

Let's take a look at what options are available in this situation.

Proof of Address If You Are New to the UK

If you have just arrived in the United Kingdom and are thinking of opening a bank account or are dealing with government agency activities, it can be quite difficult as you may not have some of the required documents, such as a registered address or utility bills to use as proof of address.

Some institutions and high street banks allow for alternative documents such as the following:

  • A document from your educational institution (university, college, or language school) if you've arrived in the UK for studies. Your UCAS details or a letter from the Student Loan Company may also be deemed acceptable.
  • A letter from your employer verifying your address.

Certain banks or institutions state that they accept EU driving licences, but it's essential to consider that the address on that existing EU licence most likely needs to be a UK address.

Previously, for EU residents just arriving in the UK and seeking to open a UK account, certain banks offered an option allowing the use of a European address as a substitute for proof of address in the UK. 

Unfortunately, following the UK's withdrawal from the EU (Brexit), the opportunities for those with addresses outside the UK have diminished.

We suggest reaching out to your preferred bank directly to clarify which documents are accepted.

Can I Open an Account Before Arriving in the UK?

Yes, if your home bank has a correspondent banking relationship with a British bank, there is a possibility that they can set up a UK bank account for you.

You might also be interested in an international account which many UK banks offer. These accounts are designed for non-residents who may not have the option to supply proof of address in the UK yet.

Examples of banks that offer international accounts are:

  1. Barclays International Bank Account, with options for non-UK residents and those planning to move to the UK.
  2. HSBC International Bank Account, allowing you to open accounts overseas before you land in over 30 destinations, the UK included. 
  3. Lloyds International Current Account, in which you have the flexibility of 3 currencies (GBP, EUR, USD) and a fee-free international payment. Lloyds Bank will require information about your country of residence, the country you are applying from, and the country you are moving to. Additionally, eligibility criteria include your gross annual income.
  4. NatWest International Account empowers individuals to make their finances work both in the UK and internationally. Eligible for those residing in any of the listed countries found on the NatWest International Select Account and NatWest Cash Management Account page.

However, international bank accounts may need a large initial deposit and require a certain amount of minimum payments each month. 

Are there UK Banks that Don't Need Proof of Address?

At he moment, all major traditional banks in the UK require proof of address before allowing you to open an account with them.

For a detailed breakdown of the necessary documents for each major UK bank, check out the following:

  • Barclays
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds
  • Natwest
  • Halifax
  • Santander 
  • Nationwide

If you've reviewed the document details provided by your preferred bank and find it challenging to meet their requirements, it’s worth reaching out to the bank directly. Such communication is often encouraged by the banks themselves.

In addition, you can find a list of alternative options that a bank may accept based on the situation on the Financial Conduct Authority website (FCA), the regulatory body for banks in the UK.

There are also some cases where you can open an account with a UK bank from outside the UK. For example, you can apply for a UK account with HSBC from outside the UK

Lastly, consider looking into financial institutions beyond conventional banks. 

Certain virtual banks, e-money providers, or neobanks — which usually own banking or money service licences but are not traditional banks—may have a more flexible list of what can be used as proof of address or proof of identity.

Examples of such alternatives are:

  1. Revolut account: Revolut is a fintech company offering accounts with over 29 currencies, including GBP, EUR, and USD. You can use the account for everyday spending and international transfers. They partner with banks that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects. 
  2. Wise multi-currency account: Wise offers a multi-currency account as a Money Service Business, providing accounts with access to 40 currencies across 160 countries. This account allows you to receive, send, and spend money. 

🔎 Insight: Explore more in our article on how to open a Revolut Personal Account online in 2023

Final Thought

In the UK, proof of address is a fundamental requirement for various essential services, including banking, renting, and government registrations. Accepted documents include utility bills, council tax statements, the UK driving licence, bank statements, and government-issued documents.

While all UK banks require proof of address, newcomers who lack common documents may consider obtaining a letter from official sources like universities, the Student Loan Company, or employers. 

Alternatively, exploring international account offerings or virtual banks may provide viable options. Conversations with these institutions can help clarify the possibilities. 

If you're in the UK for business and want to open a business bank account, keep in mind that there are extra requirements besides proof of address. 

Statrys mobile application dashboard showing a total balance in a business account.

FAQs

What is acceptable proof of address in the UK?

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Utility bills, bank statements, and lease agreements are acceptable standard documentation that would satisfy any bank's need for proof of address.

Can I open a bank without proof of address?

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Is a driver's licence acceptable proof of address?

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