Proof of address

As we already saw in Proof of address in the EU (Part 1), proving your address is a crucial procedure that guarantees the authenticity and validity of many administrative and commercial procedures. Throughout this second part, we will explore the documents accepted as proof of address, the differences between EU countries in terms of requirements, language, and regulations for foreigners. We will also analyse the challenges and areas for improvement and provide recommendations to improve efficiency and simplify the process, such as improving the digital infrastructure and using automated verification solutions. 

Commonly Accepted Documents for Proof of Address 

Several documents are commonly accepted across member states of the EU. However, please note that the acceptability of these documents can vary depending on the institution and the country. Here’s a breakdown of the most widely accepted forms of proof of address: 

  1. Utility Bills 
  2. Bank Statements 
  3. Official Government Correspondence 
  4. Rental Agreements or Mortgage Statements 
  5. Insurance Documents 
  6. Vehicle Registration Documents 
  7. Letter from an Employer or Educational Institution 

It’s essential to ensure that the document you provide is not only current but also clearly shows both your name and address. Some institutions may require the document to be in a specific language or have an official translation if it’s in a foreign language.  


Country-Specific Requirements in the EU 

While the types of documents accepted as proof of address are generally consistent across the European Union, there can be significant variations in the specifics from one country to another. This includes:  

Variation in accepted documents

Some EU countries may have unique forms of documentation that they accept as proof of address. For example, whereas some states might require local government-issued residence certificates, others might rely more on utility bills or bank statements.

Language requirements

In some cases, documents need to be in the country’s official language, or an official translation may be required.

Digital vs physical documents

While some countries might accept digital statements, others might still require physical documents

Specific regulations for foreigners

Non-citizens or residents from outside the EU may face different requirements. This could include additional forms of documentation or specific types of proof that are more stringent than those for citizens.

Local government policies

Sometimes, local government bodies within a country may have their own set of rules regarding proof of address, which could differ from national guidelines. 

Challenges of Proof of Address Documentation 

While there have been significant advancements in proving identity, there are still several issues. These include: 

No standardised template

With potentially thousands of acceptable documents and little uniformity or guiding principles, the task of verifying proof of address becomes complex and often inconsistent.

Poor onboarding experience

For many customers, the process of finding, converting to digital formats, sending, and waiting for the verification of proof of address documents can be cumbersome and off-putting. Most importantly, it is increasingly likely to result in complete onboarding abandonment

Costs of document handling

Manual checks of proof of address documents are not only prone to errors and slow processing but can also be costly. Handling dozens of applications per month might be manageable, but scaling this up to hundreds or thousands presents significant logistical and financial challenges. The need for record-keeping, rechecks, and other document-related tasks only adds to these costs. 


Best Practices for Proof of Address Documentation 

To address these challenges, adopting best practices in proof of address documentation is crucial. These include: 

Enhanced digital infrastructure

Improving the digital infrastructure to better handle digital documents, including enhanced security measures and user-friendly interfaces, can address many of the challenges associated with paper-based systems.

Geolocation verification

This method can complement traditional document-based proofs, offering an additional layer of verification that is both efficient and innovative.

Automation and digital solutions

Leveraging technology to automate the verification process can significantly reduce manual errors and processing times, making the onboarding process more efficient and user-friendly 


To learn more about how Facephi can transform your organisation’s KYC and onboarding processes with its innovative solutions, click here