Proof of Address Guide in US, UK, and Canada

Moving to a new country? Opening a new bank account is one of the first things that you need to do, as there’s no way to survive without money. To open a new bank account in the US, all you need is a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID. Opening a bank account, or renting a home requires proof of address verification.

Finding a proof of address document in a new country can be challenging. There are different rules and regulations in each country. Different organizations can also decide which documents will they accept as proof of address verification. Depending on the country you’re in, what counts as address proof varies. However, in the US, UK, and Canada, one or more of  the below-mentioned documents will work:

  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of employment
  • Academic records
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills
  • Rent arrangements

Utility bills can be of any kind, water bills, electricity bills, internet bills, or phone bills, they can be used separately or together. But for utility bills to be submitted as a proof of address verification document, they have to be less old than 90 days.

In this guide, we’ll be telling you all about the proof of address verification in the US, UK, and Canada.

Why is Proof of Address Verification Required?

Proof of address or proof of residency is a document that’s used to verify where a customer lives. It differs from other types of ID documents that are used for verification, as not all ID and government-issued documents include your current address.

The proof of address documents should show where a person lives. If you don’t have a particular proof of address document, then you can purchase a post office box in the U.S., for receiving mail, but that doesn’t count as a residential address. For account opening and other purposes, you’ll be asked to show an ID proof and 1 proof of address document. Customers can’t use the same document for both proof of ID verification and proof of residency verification. Some organizations may have other policies, but it’s best for customers to carry 2 different documents with them. 

The proof of address verification allows customers to access multiple services and also offers banks and financial institutions a paper trail to keep track of customers. If you’re planning to move to the U.S., U.K., or Canada, then it is essential to prove your residency. If you plan to send money or receive payments, then you’ll need to open a new bank account.

While you’re in a new country, it would be helpful to collect as many proof of address documents as possible. Having multiple documents is important, as different companies have different policies. 

Regardless of what proof of address you use, it’s also important for documents to be fairly recent. The document that you provide should contain your full name and address. If you’re using an address proof that doesn’t have a valid date, then you have to provide the last three recent bills.

Proof of Address Verification in the U.S.

The most common proof of address verification document in the United States is the driver’s license. It’s also the most commonly used ID verification document. The problem for new residents in a country is getting a driver’s license, alongside documents that show proof of identity such as a passport, permanent resident card, birth certificate, and others.

If you want a list of acceptable proof of address verification documents, then you can visit the DMV website for a full list of documents. If you don’t want to go through the website, then here are some of the most commonly accepted articles:

  • Utility bills
  • Rental contract or lease agreement
  • Mortgage statement for homeowners
  • Documents from your school, such as enrollment papers or a report card
  • Insurance policies or premium bills
  • Bank or credit card statements
  • Tax form
  • Posted mails with your name and address

How to Get a Photo ID Card?

While it’s not as commonly used, you can also apply for a photo ID card in the state of the U.S. you live in. This ID document can also be used as a proof of address document when needed. You can apply for a photo ID from a government agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

To apply for a photo ID in the USA, you need:

  • Your green card, valid Employment Authorization Card with Forms I-8744, or another US Visa with an I-94 form.
  • Social security card
  • Proof of address

Keep in mind that every state has its own rules. Be sure to reach out to your local DMV to learn about the rules and regulations.

Also, non-residents can’t have a social security number. Regardless, you can still get a photo ID from the DMV without an SSN.

Proof of Address Verification in Canada

Same as in the US, your driver’s license is a common proof of address document in Canada. But there are other documents you can use for proof of address verification.

  • T4 slips from your employer
  • Your tax returns
  • Rental agreements or receipts from landlords
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Utility Bills
  • Car registration
  • Academic records and transcripts
  • Insurance policies
  • Bank or credit card statements
  • Notice of assessment

Documents such as T4 slips, and academic records are the most easily available proof of address documents. Utility bills and lease agreements are the second-best easily available proof of address documents.

Proof of Address Verification in the UK

In the UK, proof of address verification documents are needed at almost every step. Proof of address verification in UK is a crucial step in customer onboarding. Let’s say you want a proof of address document for bank account opening, you’ll need documents such as:

  • A letter from your university, college, or school
  • A letter from your employer confirming your address
  • A letter from someone you know who is a customer of that bank who can act as a verifier for the bank.

In the United States and Canada, you can also use a rental agreement, insurance policy, credit card statements, and utility bills for proof of address verification.

Additional Documents for Proving Address in the UK

Another method for proof of address verification documents is to use a company that helps residents arriving in the country. These companies and service providers can help in streamlining the overall process.

Conclusion: Proof of Address Verification

Chances are, whenever you move to a new country, you’re likely to have at least one document that can be used as proof of address verification.

You may have an employment letter, university transcript, cell phone bill, rental agreement, or others. Once you’ve got a proof of address verification document, you can start opening a new bank account.