How to get a proof of address in the UK 2023
If you want to open a bank account in the UK, the bank will ask you to prove your identity and residence in the UK. Identification documents include things like a National UK Identity card, UK Driving License, or passport. Proof of residence may include documents like utility bills, mortgage statements or council tax bills. Banks request these documents as a security measure to help make sure that the account isn’t opened for criminal purposes.
Getting a proof of address in the UK can be tricky for some customers, though, especially those who have just arrived and don’t have any formal bills or statements.
However, there are alternatives. Services like Wise or Revolut may help because they let you open multi-currency accounts without requiring proof of address in the UK. Most of these providers need a valid ID and phone number, and proof of address in your country of residence for verification purposes. They also offer services like debit cards that can be used to spend GBP in the UK.
In this article, we will look at what is a proof of address, documents that are generally accepted as proof of address, as well as how to get a UK proof of address. We will also look at alternative bank-like services that don’t require proof of address to open an account. Read on.
What is proof of address?
As the name says, proof of address is a document, or documents that confirm that you have a residence in the UK. These include documents like utility bills, rental agreements, council tax bills, mortgage statements and the like, any document that has your name and physical residential address on it. Most documents must be dated within the last 4 months, and in the case of Council Tax bills, not older than 13 months.
Note that each bank may have different requirements and some accept UK photo card full driving licenses as proof of residence. Check with the bank what documents they require before opening an account.
Banks need to confirm your address for security reasons and to limit illegal activities like fraud and money laundering. They use the proof of address to confirm that you are who you say you are and that you are not opening the account under a false name.
How can I get a proof of address?
Getting a proof of address is as easy as finding that last utility or council tax bill, bank statement, payslip or lease agreement that has your physical address on it. However, getting a proof of address can be tricky if you’re not living in the UK yet, or if you’ve just arrived and haven’t secured a permanent residence like a house or a flat, received your first paycheck or paid a utility bill.
But there are options. If you’re in the UK to study, you can get a letter from your school. If not, you may be able to use your UK Driving License if you have one, since you don’t need a proof of address to get one.
Another alternative is to change the address at your current bank to the address in the UK where you will be staying, either at friends, family or hotel or B&B, and then get your bank to send you a statement to that address. The address may be temporary, but it may be enough to allow you to open a bank account in the UK.
What documents can be considered proof of address?
As a rule, any document that shows your physical address. This can be one of the following:
Council tax bills
Current rental agreement
Recent mortgage or bank statements
Letter from your college or university
UK Driving License
It is important to note that bills and statements should not be older than 4 months, and the date on Council Tax bills should not be older than 13 months. Rental agreements should still be valid.
Do banks require proof of address to open an account?
To open an account at a traditional UK bank, like NatWest, Barclays or HSBC, you will need to provide proof of residence. This can be difficult if you are living outside the UK. Getting a proof of residence can also be a challenge if you are a new arrival and you are staying with friends, family or other accommodations like B&Bs or hotels until you can find a more permanent place to stay.
Are you new to the UK and don't have a bank account yet?
If you recently arrived in the UK and you want to open a UK bank account, getting a proof of address can be a challenge. But there are other solutions. Service providers like Wise and Revolut can offer a bank-like account without the hassle of paperwork.You either supply the proof from a standard list of documents or send a selfie in which you’re holding your proof of ID. This can be a great alternative if you’re still waiting to move to the UK or haven’t yet got bills and other paperwork registered in your name.
Wise is an international money transfer provider that offers low rates, fast transfers and a multi-currency account where you can hold more than 50 different currencies. The Wise debit card can be used like a regular debit card to pay for goods and services around the world, including the UK.
However, Wise is not a bank and doesn’t provide traditional banking services like interest-bearing accounts, overdrafts, loans and the like, but they are regulated by the FCA like any other bank in the UK.
Revolut offers a limited number of bank-like services similar to those offered by traditional banks, including interest-bearing accounts and investments. They also provide international money transfer services and several money-management tools. You can choose from various tiers of account options.
While Revolut offers many bank-like services, it is not a bank, however, similar to traditional banks in the UK, it is regulated by the FCA.
Can I open a bank account without a proof of address?
To open a bank account with a traditional UK bank like HSBC, NatWest, Barclays or Santander you will need to provide proof of address. You can’t open an account without one at these banks. Several documents can be presented as proof of address, including recent utility or Council Tax bills, payslips, lease agreements, personal tax documents or a letter from an educational institution.
For instance, HSBC accepts utility, landline telephone, or council tax bills, mortgage statements or tenancy agreements. In addition to these, NatWest also accepts UK or EU Driving licenses, Tax notifications or respondence, benefits entitlement letters and credit union statements.
Are there any UK banks that don't require a proof of address?
There are currently no traditional banks in the UK that allow you to open a bank account without proof of address. However, there are several alternatives like Wise or Revolut that let you open accounts with proof of residence of your country of residence, and not specifically the UK.
Of these, Monzo is an online bank and offers a limited range of traditional banking services like interest-bearing accounts, loans and overdrafts. On the other hand, Wise or Revolut are not banks and do not offer banking features, but they allow you to hold foreign currencies, including GBP, in multi-currency accounts.
What other documents are required to open a bank account?
Aside from proof of identity and proof of address, some banks may also ask for a P60 tax statement, a letter from a recognised employer, or if you’re self-employed, a tax return. They do this so that they know that you have the funds to cover banking charges and maintenance fees on the account.
Getting a proof of address if you are not in the UK, or if you have just arrived in the UK can be a challenge. One of the easiest ways to get a proof of address is to change the address at your current bank to the address in the UK where you will be staying, either at friends, family or hotel or B&B, and then get your bank to send you a statement to that address. The address may be temporary, but it may be enough to allow you to open a bank account in the UK.
Documents like utility bills, Council Tax bills, or bank statements delivered to your physical address by Royal Mail are considered physical proof of address and can be used to open a bank account in the UK.