There are many ways to prove where you live, such as a driver’s license and utility bills, but not everyone has easy access to all these forms of evidence. Minors applying for college may not even have a state ID, or evidence can get lost during the moving process or when a flood or fire occurs. Whatever the reason, getting a proof of residency letter, also known as an affidavit of residence, can be a real lifesaver.
What Is a Proof of Residency Letter?
A proof of residency letter, also known as an affidavit of residence, is a letter stating that you live at a given address. You can get these letters from several sources. For example, a roommate or family member who lives with you can sign one. Alternatively, you can sometimes get a proof of residency letter from a landlord or employer.
Typically your proof of residency letter must also be stamped and the signatures witnessed by a notary public. The notary must collect and examine the evidence and legally approve the document. They must believe, to the best of their knowledge and based on the evidence given, that your address is where you say it is.
What Is a Proof of Residency Letter from the Bank?
A proof of residency letter from a bank is a simple misunderstanding because they don’t exist. Two things could have gone wrong here, and we’ll explain both. Either you need a proof of residency letter for a bank, or you’ve been misinformed about where to get your proof of residency letter.
First, if you need a proof of residency letter for your bank because you don’t have other evidence to provide, it is the same as any standard proof of residency letter. The bank should let you know its requirements, but generally, it will need to be notarized. You can use one of our free, easy-to-download, and fill-out templates. Take your witnesses and evidence to the notary, and remember not to sign anything until they ask because the notary must witness you signing it.
Second, when there’s a simple misunderstanding about where to get a proof of residency letter, it’s an easy fix. You can only get letters proving where you live from family or roommates who live with you, an employer, or rarely a landlord. Otherwise, you may confuse this with a bank statement used as a proof of residence. These don’t need a letter attached because they contain your full legal name and list your address. They are issued by a recognized entity, functioning in an official capacity, to whom you have already proved your address.
Now that we’ve cleared up any confusion, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions from people who also wanted to know about getting a proof of residency letter from their banks.
A bank statement is a valid proof of address. Like many of the options for forms you can submit, agencies accept your bank statement because you already had to prove where you live to open the account in the first place. In the US, citizens and resident aliens must show valid proofs of identity and a lease or other proof of address to have an account with a bank. Without this proof, the bank will not open an account in your name.
You cannot open a bank account without proof of address. One of the ways the United States helps fight money laundering and terrorism is by controlling the necessary information you must submit to get a bank account. Having this on file means the bank can locate you in an emergency, such as when they suspect the account has been hacked or otherwise used for nefarious purposes. You will need to bring your social security card, a utility bill, lease, mortgage statement, tax documents, or a credit card statement to show you live where you claim. The only exception to this rule is for noncitizens who often do not yet have these forms of ID.
Banks do not accept PO boxes. A bank requires a physical address so they can locate and contact you. Even if you go paperless and only receive non-emergency communications via email, they still need a street address to open the account. There are two reasons for this. First, it helps banks and law enforcement fight fraud, money laundering, and terrorism because anyone with an account has their current address listed with the bank. Second, they will need to mail your debit cards and other essentials that the internet cannot transmit.
We all make mistakes, and whether someone told you you could get a proof of residency letter from a bank or you misread it somewhere, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to understand that while you can use a bank statement as evidence of your address, the bankers can’t sign an affidavit (residency letter) for you. This is not a service banks provide. Fortunately, they can and will print out physical copies of your statements even when you’ve gone paperless and ordinarily get them electronically. You can submit those statements along with a residency letter from someone you live with instead, and most agencies will accept these as your two forms of evidence.