How to Get a Proof of Address in the UK for Migrants?

04 Sep 2023 - Category: Blog /
Proof of Address in the UK for Migrants

Moving to the UK and setting up a new life can be an exciting experience. However, as a foreigner, one of the essential tasks to accomplish is obtaining proof of address. Many fintech companies operating in the UK require this document to verify your identity before you can use their services, such as sending money, opening a bank account, or accessing other financial products. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of getting a proof of address in the UK as a newcomer, focusing on its relevance to fintech users for sending money and managing financial transactions.


Why is proof of address essential?

Proof of address isn’t just a piece of paper – it's a way for various institutions, especially those in the fintech sector, to verify your identity. Simply put, proof of address is a document that verifies your identity and confirms your current residence. Essentially, it’s a paper trail indicating where you currently reside.

For banks in the UK, ensuring the authenticity of their client's identities and residence is paramount. Hence, before you're given the green light to operate a bank account, you're asked to substantiate not only who you are but also where you live. Typically, this validation process mandates the submission of a photo ID and, of course, proof of address.

Why such caution, you may wonder? Well, banks have an inherent responsibility to curtail any possibility of their platforms being misused for nefarious reasons – be it fraud, money laundering, or even sponsoring criminal activities. A stringent identification process helps ensure that bank accounts aren't being operated under fabricated identities. Instead, there's a clear trail back to a real person for every account.

Whether you're opening a bank account, signing up with a new fintech app, or accessing other financial services, your proof of address plays an important role. For fintech companies, this ensures compliance with KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) regulations.

What is proof of address in the UK for foreigners?

The UK, like many countries, has strict guidelines on what documents are deemed acceptable as proof of address. For foreigners, these typically include:

  • Utility Bills: This can be gas, water, electricity, or even a landline telephone bill. The document should ideally be less than three months old.
  • Bank or Credit Card Statements: It's important to note that online printouts may not always be accepted unless it's stamped by the bank. The statement should be recent.
  • Council Tax Bill: If you've moved into a place of your own, the council tax bill for the property can serve as a proof.
  • Tenancy Agreement: If you're renting, the agreement between you and your landlord can be used, provided it's the original copy.
  • HM Revenue & Customs Documents: Any correspondence or tax statements from this governmental department can be used.
  • NHS (National Health Service) Letter: If you've registered with a local GP or received any services from the NHS, correspondence from them can serve as proof of address.
  • Official Letters from a Recognized Authority: This could be from educational institutions, social service departments, or any other reputable public organization.

How to Get Proof of Address Quickly in the UK?

If you’re looking to get a proof of address swiftly, consider the following steps:

Open a UK Bank Account

Many banks offer accounts tailored for newcomers. When you receive your first bank statement (usually within a month), this can act as your proof of address.

Register with a GP

Upon moving, it’s advisable to register with a local GP for health services. The registration documents or any subsequent letters can be used as proof.

Set Up Utility Services

If you’re moving into a flat or house, set up utility services in your name. Once you receive your first bill, you have your proof.

Mobile Phone Contracts

While not always accepted universally, some fintech platforms might accept a mobile phone contract or bill as proof.

Can you get a bank account in the UK if you are new?

If you've recently set foot in the UK and are contemplating opening a bank account, you might find the path a bit winding, especially when it comes to producing a proof of address. For newcomers, accumulating bills or official documents with your name and UK address can be a tad challenging, given the short span you’ve been in the country.

Nevertheless, many high street banks offer a helping hand to ease this process. It would be wise to research and see what documents your chosen bank will entertain as valid proof. Here are some frequently accepted alternatives.

If you're in the UK for academic pursuits, a letter from your university, college, or language school can be your ticket. Additionally, your UCAS confirmation or correspondence from the Student Loan Company might also fit the bill.

  • A letter from your employer attesting to your UK address can be another route.
  • If you have connections in the UK, a referral letter from an existing bank customer vouching for your address could be useful.

Certain banks, Barclays being a prime example, previously offered basic bank accounts to EU nationals. However, the winds of Brexit ushered in changes, resulting in the discontinuation of many such accounts. The updated norm leans more towards necessitating UK residency for account opening. It's always a good practice to keep an eye on the latest banking stipulations and updates related to residency requirements.

Proof of Identity Checklist

In addition to the proof of address, fintech companies often require proof of identity. Here’s a quick checklist:

Passport: Your current and valid passport from your home country.

UK Residence Permit or Visa: If applicable, this document can also be used in conjunction with others.

Driving License: If you have a UK driving license, it can serve as a proof of identity.

National ID Card: Some countries issue national ID cards which are accepted in the UK.

Birth Certificate: Especially relevant for longer stays or if applying for certain financial products.

Receiving or sending money from the UK

For many households or students, money transfers from people who work abroad are the only way for them to grow and improve. But the question is, How to send or receive money in the UK? 

Using Small World Money Transfer App is typically the best way to send money to or from the UK because they usually incur lower fees on currency exchange compared to credit cards or bank debit cards. The biggest advantage of utilizing the Small World Money Transfer app is its exemption from the requirement for proof of address, a condition imposed by numerous fintech companies. This user-friendly platform facilitates swift and secure international transfers, making it a preferred choice for individuals seeking a hassle-free and efficient means of managing their financial transactions on a global scale.

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