Santander Proof of Address: What is acceptable

TransferWise
31.12.18
6 minute read

If you’re opening a new current account with Santander using the online method, you’ll have to provide some proof of where you live. This can be an irritating step in the account setup process, but it’s not really one you can avoid. Santander will want to know who you are, and part of that is being sure about your address. Without that, you’re not going to get very far. Here’s a run-down of what getting a Santander proof of address involves:

What is a proof of address?

It’s pretty straightforward, and it probably means what you’d already expect it to mean - that you have some documentation that proves you’re living where you say you are. It’s often requested when you sign up for services like bank accounts, and it usually refers to something issued from an official source. Driving licences, utility bills, bank statements… that kind of thing.

Why does Santander ask for a proof of address?

It’s for protection, of both customers and the bank itself. This is down to Money Laundering Regulations, which aim to stop people with bad intentions using accounts for unauthorised purposes. One of the ways to do that is to make sure that everyone opening an account is using a genuine address that belongs to them.

It’s common for banks to ask for two different forms of identification (ID). Many people will use a passport, but that’s not always enough on its own. Why? Because although it’s proof of ID, it doesn’t prove your actual address. You’ll need a second document for that. Existing customers may not need this second step, but new ones definitely will¹.

Can I open a bank account without proof of address?

There’s a simple answer to this, and that’s no. This isn’t just a Santander thing - other banks often have the same requirements. That doesn’t mean you’re out of options, though: checking the list of documents accepted by Santander may give you alternative documents that you have, even if you haven’t been living in the UK for long yet. Read it carefully, though, as some have extra requirements. For example, there’s a limit to how old bank statements and utility bills can be.

If this doesn’t work for you, then another option is to open a TransferWise borderless multi-currency account. You can do this online, and you’ll get a range of options for verifying your personal details. It’s completely free to apply.

The ID requirements are pretty simple. You’ll need a copy of an official photo ID document, like your passport. You then get a choice of two methods. You can supply some proof of address, for example a credit card statement- but you can also just send a selfie of you holding your photo ID. This can be really helpful if you’re in the middle of moving and don’t yet have much conventional proof of address.

This step is quick and easy, and you should be up and running with your new account in a couple of days. Once that’s sorted, you’ll be able to hold funds in more than 40 currencies, and you won’t have to pay a monthly fee for that, either. You’ll find it simple to use your new borderless account, since you can do so just as if you had a traditional bank account in any of those currencies, you can even get virtual account details to receive US, Australian or New Zealand dollars, pounds and euros via local transfer methods.

This can give you advantages over bank transfers, because receiving payments locally is a lot cheaper than via an international SWIFT transfer, in a lot of cases it’s even completely free. And since the exchange rates you’re offered will be the true mid-market rate, free of the extra commission you pay with a conventional account, it’s easy and cheap to convert money between your different currency balances. That’s got to be worth something.

How to get a proof of address

Santander will ask new customers to give proof of address as well as proof of ID. If you’re an existing customer, you may still need proof of address if you’ve recently moved and your new details aren’t on file yet.

Here’s the list of documents Santander will accept for proof of identity¹.

  • An unexpired photocard driving licence from the UK, another EEA country or Switzerland
  • An unexpired old-style paper full driving licence from the UK only. You can’t use a provisional paper licence
  • Your most recent council tax bill or demand, which shouldbe under a year old
  • Notification of entitlement to a state pension, state/local authority benefit, educational loan/grant, other government/local authority grant, or tax credit. Again, this must be the most recent one and under a year old
  • A tax coding, assessment, statement or tax credit document. You can’t use a P45 or P60
  • A credit card statement, bank statement or utility bill, though not for mobile phones or satellite/cable TV. These have to be the most recent and under three months old
  • A rent card from the local council, or tenancy agreement. The most recent document, but at least less than 12 months old
  • Correspondence from HMRC, which should include our name, address and permanent NI number, and it should be the most recent one that is under 12 months old
  • Most recent correspondence from DWP regarding your pension/benefit, only if it’s less than 12 months old
  • A formal, legal document. For example: Probate or Court registered Power of Attorney

If you're a student you can also provide a printout of your digital UCAS AS12 letter, or provide a confirmation from your work/school/college/university/care institution that confirms your name, address and details regarding your employment/student/residence status. This last document can also be used if you’re under 18 years old.

If I don’t have a proof of address, which other documents does Santander accept?

In most cases, you’ll need to provide one of the identification documents mentioned above. However, there are certain other documents that you can use for proof of address, depending on your situation. It’s advisable in these cases to contact Santander, but this are some examples of situations and documents that are currently accepted¹:

International Student (applying for the Santander Essentials Current Account)

  • Letter of acceptance/admission from the university/college/school you got into that confirms your a student in the UK. This letter has to include your: name, course details, dates, contact number and UK home address
  • Letter of introduction from the university/college/school you got into, for UK banking facilities
  • Official student ID card from a UK university
  • Printed version of your digital UCAS AS12 letter

Non-UK residents who want to apply for a Santander EU Basic Account

  • Most recently issued bank statement, which has to be less than 3 months old
  • Utility bill, also the most recent one which is less than 3 months old, with the exception of your water bill, that one can’t be more than 12 months old. (Mobile phone or satellite/cable tv bills are not accepted)
  • UK/EEA or Swiss photocard driving license, which should still be valid
  • Notarised translation to English of a confirmation of unemployment benefit. Most recent confirmation document which is less than 12 months old.

If you have a non-English document you might be able to send a notarised translations to English, but before you go through that process make sure to check with Santander if it’s a type of document they can accept.

Once you know what documents you’ll need to open an account at Santander, you can decide whether it’s the right option for you. They’ll suit some people, but for others finding suitable proof of address could be tricky and so you may be on the lookout for an alternative.

If that sounds like you, then TransferWise may just have the solution. With its fast, flexible setup procedure to get you up and running quickly and without fuss, a TransferWise borderless multi-currency account could be just what you’ve been looking for. You won’t be kept in the dark about fees, as they’re low and given upfront, and better yet you’ll always get the real mid-market exchange rate when you convert between currencies.

Take a look at what TransferWise can offer - it could help you save both time and money.

Source used for this article:
1.https://www.santander.co.uk/assets/s3fs-public/2018-09/Customer%20Identification%20Requirements.pdf
*Source checked on December 27, 2018


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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