GETTING A UK ADDRESS
OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT OR NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER
SECURE A UK ADDRESS
OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT OR NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER
Finding it hard to show proof of address nin (for a National Insurance Number)? When you move to a new country, there is so much excitement and anticipation, that sometimes you forget there will be challenges ahead. We never thought that securing proof of address nin (for a NINO), would be so difficult. On top of that, opening a UK bank account too. In addition, we also had problems gaining a national insurance number. It seemed like a vicious cycle. Find out the difficulty we faced trying to obtain all these things by reading below.
Hi, I’m Jasmin! In 2018, my husband and I took a leap of faith and moved across the globe to the UK. We love exploring this country we now get to call home and sharing our experiences.
Our move to the UK in 2018, didn’t come without some testing. One of the first things we wanted to do was open a UK bank account, so that we could make an international transfer in order to pay for our living costs. By doing this, we hoped to avoid paying international fees on our visa or credit cards. We also wanted to obtain a national insurance number, in order to start work, as most employers won’t give you a job without one or you will pay higher tax on your income (much higher). We later discovered, we couldn’t get a NINO, without first showing proof of address nin (for NINO)
Until then, we did not realise how hard it would be, since before you can open a bank account or apply for a National Insurance Number (NINO), you must first provide proof of address. However, real-estate agents will not rent out a property to you unless you can demonstrate that you are earning enough to pay for the rental property. So, it’s a real catch 22 situation as you cannot get work without a NINO and you cannot get a NINO or a bank account without proof of address and to get an address, you need to prove you have an income.
Just to explain, a National Insurance Number is your unique identity. This allows the UK government to keep track of your personal tax status. You require a NINO to ensure that your National Insurance contributions and tax are recorded against your name correctly and your name only. People such as your employer and HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) are a couple of examples as to who will need to know what your NI number is. If you are from Australia, this would be like having a Tax File Number or ABN before you can work.
There are strict guidelines for proof of address NIN documentation. You must have a bill or government letter sent to your address. You cannot simply just pick up a letter from your local council as this will not count or having the letter sent in the post to an alternative address will not count either. Obviously, we didn’t have any of these documents when we first arrived, but we have learned from the experience. Find out how we overcame the hurdle for proof of address NIN.
The first thing you need to do is get an address, then you need to wait for official documentation sent to that address.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS YOU CAN GET A UK ADDRESS BEFORE YOU FIND A PROPERTY TO RENT:
Real Estate Agents are not going to rent you a property unless they are convinced you can pay the rent. You may be lucky enough to find some exceptions, in certain areas, but they may not be the kind of place/area you would want to live in. Here are some realistic options if you have NO income when you arrive. Obviously, if you are moving to the UK with a job lined up already, then this would be a much easier process for you.
1. USE THE ADDRESS OF FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS
This was a suggestion given to us by the bank. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option for us, as we did not know anyone at all. However, if you have close relatives or friends, you can use their address, but remember, you still need to show proof of address by providing a bill such as council tax or utility bill before you can open a bank account or obtain a national insurance number. Again, a real catch 22 situation!
Alternatively, HSBC will accept a letter from your friend or relative stating you are staying with them, provided they are a current customer with the HSBC. I imagine other banks will most likely have similar rules.
You can sign up with an organisation called “Britbound” and although you cannot apply for a NINO until you land in the UK, as a member, they can help you transition with ease. You can find out more by visiting their website. Britbound is a support network for those arriving in the UK. What’s even better is they allow you to use their address in order to open a bank account and get you that National Insurance Number so you can start working as well, which is very helpful. Whilst we don’t have any experience with them personally, I have read of other Aussies who used their services and found it to be a relief.
3. PAY SIX TO TWELVE MONTHS RENT UPFRONT
Taking this route means you don’t have to rely on anyone to help you (especially when you don’t know a soul). Once you find that perfect property, you can offer to put down an upfront payment of 6 months.
This is the option we took as we didn’t know about “Britbound”. We thought it was simply easier for us to pay our rent upfront and get all the hassle out of the way. Another reason why we decided to do this was because the real estate company would not accept our Australian references from our previous landlord in Australia.
Paying rent upfront also resulted in our rental application being approved quicker and gave us a boost to our credit rating, which was absolutely fantastic.
PROOF OF ADDRESS DOCUMENTATION
1. COUNCIL TAX
If you have rented a property, then your landlord will register you automatically with the local council. This is because once they have a tenant in the property, the tenant becomes liable for council tax. The sooner the landlored registers that you have moved into their property, the sooner they can stop paying the council tax themselves. You should get the tax bill within a week or two, but you can always call them to give them a little push.
2. ELECTRICITY, GAS AND WATER BILLS
Any official utility bill in your name, sent to your address can be used as proof of address in order to open a bank account or get a NINO.
3. REGISTER TO VOTE
This option would only apply if you are eligible to vote in the UK. You are allowed to vote in EU elections if you are an EU national or Swiss Citizen. Additionally, you can vote in UK General elections, referendums and Council elections, if you are a member of a commonwealth country such as Australia, New Zealand or Canada.
4. NON-UK BANK ACCOUNT
You can formally change the address on your non-UK bank account and get them to send a statement to your new address. This may or may not be successful but it’s worth a try.
5. USE A NON-UK EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION
The HSBC told me they would accept a letter from a non-UK educational institution which was mailed to my new address. I didn’t use this as I received my council tax bill before I received anything from my educational institution.
6. LETTER FROM ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE HOUSEHOLD
If you have moved with a partner, and the bills are all in your partners name, then once they have a bank account, you can get them to write a letter saying that you live with them. You can then use the bank correspondence as proof of address for your NINO.
Like with any overseas move, your experience may be different or similar to ours. However, we hope that some of this information can be beneficial if you are looking to move to the UK in the upcoming future. We know how frustrating this all was for us, so we hope that we have helped you, even in a small way. All the best!