When you live in an organized society, the law requires you to acquire many important credentials before accessing certain benefits. In a country like South Africa, proof of residence, otherwise called a proof of address, is one of those key credentials you must have as a citizen before certain services can be granted to you. This proof of residence provides credible information about your current settlement location.
According to the Law Insider dictionary, proof of residence means proof that a person is in permanent occupation or continual occupation for a considerable time concerning a property, either the person’s settled or usual abode. This means that it is a document that confirms where you live and must have your name and address on it. Your address information can come from several documents, and the importance of being able to prove where you live is evident in financial statements.
The Federal Intelligence Center Act (FICA) was established in 2001 to enable banks to obtain this information from customers as a solid measure of reducing money laundering and other funds-related crimes. This serves as a backup security measure by the banks to ensure that customers do not lie about where they live, thereby protecting other customers from fraud. They want to ensure that they can regularly communicate and track customers if the need arises.
Requirements for a Document to Count As A Proof Of Address
Any document with your name and address on it would not count as proof of residence for any official documentation. There are specific protocols or requirements that a document would have to meet to count as an acceptable proof of address. A valid proof of residential address has to contain the following data:
- The full name of the applicant – displayed legibly and boldly on the document.
- The current residential address of the applicant.
- The date on which the document was issued (a due date on the bill is not sufficient).
- The name, logo and information of the issuer, preferably a recognized authority.
Furthermore, it is important to take note of the following,
- The name on the document should match the one on any government-issued identification of the applicant.
- The date on the proof of residence document should fall no earlier than the last three months before the time of application – if the document is usually issued monthly. This rule can change, depending on the institution to which the document is presented or the type of document offered.
- If the document is issued annually, then on application, the date on the proof of residence document should be no earlier than one year ago.
Acceptable Proof of Residence Documents in South Africa
Having listed the requirements that any acceptable proof of residence document must meet, let’s now look at the documents that fit the requirements. They include:
A Valid Television License Renewal Letter
To apply for a television license, you can visit any nearby post office. You can also go to an authorized retailer in your province. The company in charge of issuing the television license in South Africa is the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). Here are the steps to obtain a TV license;
- Go to any SABC office and pick up an application form to apply for the TV license.
- Complete and fill the application form accurately.
Make sure you have all the required documents needed for the TV license. These documents include:
- A valid identity document of the applicant
- A recent passport of the applicant
- Full annual fee
- The completed application form
- Attach the documents listed above with the completed form.
- Pay all the required fees as directed.
- Submit the completed form at the office for further verification. Your application will then be processed.
After the processing is complete and successful, the television license will be issued to you.
A Recent Utility Bill
This is a detailed invoice, usually issued once a month from utilities. Examples of common utilities include electricity, water, gas, and waste bills. Any bill incurred from rendering services on any of the above is called a utility bill. They are municipal water bills, lights account, property managing agent statement, electricity bills, etc. For a utility to appear in your name, you need to have one or more of the following documents:
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Billing address
- Lease agreement/Piece of mail
- Letter of employment (in some cases)
- Credit history (statement of account)
Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC)
This is a document issued by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as a confirmation that an applicant’s financial affairs are in line with the country’s tax regulations. The practice of issuing certificates to reflect good financial standing began in 2012 after the Tax Administration Act was passed. A TCC is only valid for one year from the date it was issued, after which it cannot be used as proof of residence. Below are the guidelines and conditions for the issue of tax clearance certificates:
- The applicant must have registered for income tax before applying for a TCC.
- The applicant should have no outstanding debt for any taxes (including VAT, income tax, employees’ tax, dividend tax, and administrative penalties tax.
- The applicant must have adhered to any deferred tax arrangements.
- The applicant must have ensured that all returns and/or declarations are up to date and in the process of being assessed by SARS.
- The applicant must have ensured that all tax reference numbers must be in active use and correct. For example, the tax reference number must not be deregistered or suspended on the SARS system.
- The applicant must also ensure that the registration details on their application form must correspond with the information on the SARS system.
It is important to take note of the fact that it takes 21 business days from the time of the application for SARS to either issue or decline the issuing of a TCC.
Subscription TV Statement
Subscription television, also known as Pay TV or Premium television (or, if referring to a particular service, a premium channel), refers to subscription-based television services, usually provided by multichannel television providers, and quite recently, digital terrestrial and streaming television. A statement from a service like, say, Multichoice, can serve as proof of residence for some not-so-strictly official purposes. To check your subscription television account statement, follow the steps written below:
- Log in to the subscription channel app
- Click on the Self Service menu
- Click on “My Statements” in the drop-down box
- Finally, click on the month(s) you want the statement for and download it to your computer/print.
Security Service Providers Registered with PSIRA
The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) is the organization that is officially charged with the responsibility of setting standards for any security outfit/business in South Africa – it might be product or service-based. The organization has the backing of the South African government and was approved by the legislation in what is called the Private Security Industry Regulation Act. So, it only makes sense that a PSIRA document can also be used as proof of residence in South Africa. Below are the requirements for a successful PSIRA registration:
- Proof of company registration
- A Tax Clearance Certificate
- VAT Registration Number
- Business plan for at least one year
- Permanent office location
As an individual, the list of requirements needed for a PSIRA security registration includes the following:
- The individual must be at least 18 years old.
- The individual must be a permanent resident of South Africa.
- The individual must not have a criminal record.
- The individual must have completed the PSIRA training.
- The individual must not be part of any intelligence force, including the police and the military.
- The individual must have completed the payment of all registration fees.
Recent Active Lease or Rental Agreement
This is a written rental contract that lays down agreeable terms and conditions between owner and occupant of a residential property. A suitable agreement can either be drawn up by a lawyer or downloaded from the internet and filled accordingly. It contains the addresses of the tenant, and that is why it is a very valid proof of residence. A good lease agreement is:
- Written in plain language
- Easy to understand by both landlords and tenants
- Compliant with the Rental Housing Act
- Is up to date with the latest Amendment Act
Municipal Rates and Taxes Invoice
Every municipality has the responsibility of providing basic amenities for the community. These services are made possible through monthly payments known as rates. These services include: Supplying water, water drainage, street lighting, park and recreation center maintenance, electricity supply, building and maintenance of roads, etc. A municipal rate should not be older than three months when used as proof of residence. To register for online payment, you will need the following:
- The Metropolitan Municipality Account Number
- A valid ID
- Your personal information and,
- Your bank account details
Official SARS document (not the eFiling documentation)
The requirements for a tax identification number from SARS include the following:
- A certified legible copy of your ID, passport, or driver’s license. Certification of copied documents can be done at your nearest police station (remember to take the original along).
- At least three months’ original bank statements, stamped by the bank.
Official Employment Verification Letter
This is usually for employees residing on company/institution premises. An employment verification letter confirms the past or present employment of an employee. Different people can ask for a verification of employment letter for many reasons, including mortgage application or refinancing, passport renewals, custody-related proceedings, immigration-related matters, loan applications, and divorce/custody-related issues.
To apply for an employment verification letter, approach the HR department of your workplace, and they will create one for you. However, you need to know some of the content of an employment verification letter, some of which include the following:
- Employee’s hire date
- Current job title
- Current wages
- Work address
- Employee’s home address and,
- Employee’s name.
Medical Aid Statement or Policy Document
To apply for a medical aid statement, you must first apply for medical aid by submitting several personal information sets. Some information you might be required to have include:
- Personal details
- Name of dependants
- Previous medical cover
- Possible current medical conditions
- Banking details and,
- Income information.
A medical aid statement usually carries a policy number. The number must be evident on the document for it to qualify as proof of residence.
Motor Vehicle Registration/License Documents
To register your new or pre-owned vehicle, go to the nearest motor vehicle registering authority and pick up the Registration/Licensing of Vehicles (RLV) form. The forms can also be downloaded from the eNaTIS website. The following are the requirements for getting your RLV document:
- An identity document (ID)
- Utility bill.
- The vehicle registration certificate (in the seller’s name)
- Certificate of roadworthiness if the current certificate is older than 60 days
- Proof of purchase of the vehicle
- Valid motor vehicle license (ensure that the license fees for the vehicle are up to date).
Long/Short-term Insurance Policy Documents
When an insurance policy is approved, a certificate of insurance is issued to the policyholder. This document contains the details of the policyholder and a summary of the insurance policy. Documents required for insurance applications include:
- Proof of age: This could be done by presenting a Voter ID Card, Pan Card, Aadhaar Card, Driver’s License, etc.
- Proof of identity – A voter’s ID card, International Passport, etc.
- Utility bills
- Passport-sized photographs
- Medical and financial reports
- Duly filled proposal report.
Other valid proof of residence documents may include the following:
- Home loan statements,
- Court Affidavits,
- Account statements from a National Credit Regulator (NCR), and
- Posted traffic Fines from the Metro Police Department.
Situations That Usually Require Where Proof of Residence in South Africa
There are a lot of instances where proof of residence or address is required in South Africa. Some of these instances include:
- Opening a new bank account.
- Filing tax returns with SARS.
- Applying for permanent residence in South Africa.
- Sending or receiving money through World Remit or any international bank.
- Applying for or renewing your driver’s license.
- Applying for a visa or international passport.