Proving where you live is something most people never think about until they’re asked to do so. Getting the proper information as proof of address is essential for school, work, taxes, banking, or other reasons. When you have to prove residency, it’s typically because a business or government agency requires it before they provide you services. Using our proof of address letter template and having it notarized is one way, but you may need two or more forms of evidence. In this article, we’ll teach you all about how to get proof of address so you can hand it in.
Ways to Get the Proof of Address
There are many different ways to get proof of address. The most common is to hand someone your current driver’s license and allow them to make a copy, but not everyone has a current ID. Before you get started, it helps to ask what forms of proof the agency, school, bank, or business accepts. You can almost always find this information on their website, but a phone call or email can accomplish the same thing if it’s not listed.
Not every entity you work with will want the same forms of proof. For example, some are easier and will take a personal letter as long as it was delivered to your stated home address. However, most proofs of address must come from more official sources. Documents that already required you to prove your identity and address in the past are the best option. Below is a list of fourteen different proofs you can give to satisfy the requirement.
- An ID card or driver’s license with your current address is the most widely accepted proof of where you live.
- A lease or mortgage statement shows who you are and that you pay to live at a specific address. However, if you use a lease, it must be current. Tenants who have lived at their current address past the original lease term and now pay month-to-month may also need a letter from their landlord.
- A deed for the sale of residential real estate is a valid proof of address, but you must live at the property. Rental units and non-residential property will not qualify.
- A notarized letter of residency is a great way to prove where you live if you don’t have other forms. Your family or roommates can swear, on paper, that you reside with them and sign an adequately formatted letter in front of a notary for an official seal. Depending on where you live, this usually costs $10-$50.
- A bank or credit card statement, even from an online-only financial institution, works because that is how you received your cards or bank statements. Most financial companies do their own online address validation when you apply, which is considered acceptable.
- A utility bill in your name proves that you live where you claim. Everyone needs water and electricity.
- A cell phone bill or other phone bill is an acceptable way to show where you live so long as it clearly has your name and address.
- A government benefits statement means that the government contacts you at the address you claim.
- A pre-printed paystub is a proof that your employer has your current address. Businesses must have this information so they can mail your paychecks even if you get a direct deposit or some other payment method.
- A tax form is like a government benefits statement. This document clearly shows that the government has you listed at a particular address.
- An insurance policy or premium bill also provides your name and address in an officially recognized capacity.
- Your voter ID is another way to show where you live, as it has your name and address on it from a reliable source.
- (Sometimes) A change of address form from the post office is allowed.
- (Sometimes) Personal mail delivered to your address may also be acceptable in some cases, such as applying for a library card.
Pro Tip: Most government agencies require your proof of address to be computer generated, such as mailed bank statements. These entities are less likely to accept anything handwritten even if it ‘technically’ fulfills the requirement. Make sure that you get something printed as your proof.
If you still have questions about what counts as proof of address, you can always contact the agency that is asking for the evidence. They may be able to provide more information on what they need from you, or they might allow other forms not listed above. In the meantime, here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about getting proof of address.
In order for something to count as a proof of address, it must come from a recognized, official source. While the accepted forms can vary slightly from one agency to the next, you generally need something from the government, utilities, banks, or employers. In most cases, notarized proof of residency letter will substitute if no other evidence is available.
Not every form or piece of paper with your address on it qualifies as an official proof of residence. If this were the case, simply writing down where you live would be enough. Proof of address forms are tied to services you need, like getting a bank card mailed to your home. Primarily the proofs include official documents where you already provided evidence of your identity, residence, or both.
ᐅ Personal mail and change of address forms may not always qualify.
ᐅ Post Office boxes are not proof of address. In fact, many businesses and government agencies also refuse to accept a PO box as an address because they are not attached to your dwelling.
ᐅ Writing down your address is not proof of where you live.
ᐅ Having a friend or family member come with you to tell the requester you live where you claim is not proof.
ᐅ Unofficial documents like non-notarized statements from roommates or family members seldom count.
Many agencies need to prove where you live because of how they are funded and taxed. Some, like government assistance programs, are funded by state or local budgets and cannot legally provide assistance to people who live in another area. On the other hand, colleges and universities have in-state and out-of-state tuition rates for students. They make more income from students who have to travel to a new area for school while locals get a discount. Additionally, they may receive funding based on how many students they have and where they came from.
If you do everything online, then congratulations on going paperless. In most cases, that’s a great thing that helps the environment. However, when you need those paper copies, you can get them one of two ways. First, turn off any paperless billing options and wait for your bills and statements to come in the mail. When you need things sooner than next month, you can go in person to a bank branch or utility company and request a paper copy. Sometimes, you can even download and print a statement that qualifies as proof of address. Just make sure it has your full name and address listed.
There are so many ways to prove where you live that most people have little trouble once they know what to look for and submit. Younger people, like students living at home, will likely have fewer proofs available. If you don’t have enough types of proof to submit official paperwork, you should use our template for a proof of residency letter, get two witnesses, preferably those who live with you, and have the form notarized.