Vicious Cycle of Address Proofs
‘for an address proof you need an address proof’… I’m sure at some point of time, most of us must have faced this dilemma :). Weird but true, and I faced it when I moved to Delhi with my family a few years back. The only document that we had in our name in the new city was the rental agreement. Surprising but it has limited use. Although there is a provision to register the rental agreement, most of the landlords and tenants don’t opt for it as it involves additional expenses and overheads. And ours was an unregistered agreement.
The best option is to first open an account in a nationalized bank in your locality. They usually accept rental agreement as address proof and require an introducer. The pass book and the statements of nationalized banks can be used as address proof. But usually if you produce a bank statement as a proof, it must be latest or not more than 3/6 months old. In my experience, I found it difficult to solely bank with nationalized banks because I couldn’t have my salary account in them and their facilities like e-banking, tele-banking, customer service, etc were not as good as private or foreign banks. As a result, there were no transactions and hence the pass-book wasn’t updated and statements weren’t latest.
However using bank’s passbook and the rental agreement, you can apply for a BSNL/MTNL landline. Utility bills like nationalized landline telephone, electricity, water, etc can also be used as address proof. But in case of rented house, most of these bills are in the name of the landlord. At the best, you can get landline telephone whose bills would be in your name. We applied for MTNL landline using bank’s passbook and rental agreement. MTNL bills were quite useful and they are accepted for all purposes. Moreover since you get a monthly bill, you can always provide the latest one.
The other advantage I found with MTNL is that if you shift your residence within the city, you can get your connection transferred to the new address with very little hassle. This just requires filling up a form and they shift the connection without asking for any proofs of your new address. This is one of the best things I found about having a MTNLconnection. I’m not sure if it is applicable for BSNL connections elsewhere. Once the connection is transferred, you start getting bills with your new address and voila you have a proof of your new address :).
In our case, we kept MTNL landline connection just for address proof purpose. Otherwise we were using Airtel’s broadband and landline for internet and calling purpose :).
I found that updating address on your bank account (the nationalized ones) is not easy as it requires transferring your account from old branch to a new branch. So you first have to go to the old branch to submit an application there and then go to the new branch once the application has been acted upon. Moreover they will ask for a proof of your new address.
Normally passport and driving license can be used as address proofs very conveniently. But when you shift to a new city, you will have to get the address on them updated. I do not have an experience of updating the driving license as I kept using my old license. However, I did explore the option of updating the passport and it was not easy.
To update the address on your passport, you have to reside on that address for at least a year. You have to submit proofs for this. Thus it is not possible to update your passport immediately after you shift to a new place. In my case, we waited for a year, accumulated the MTNL bills and then applied for an address change on the passport. BUT that’s not all! On paper one address proof is sufficient. However the police officer who came for verification to our place asked for at least 2 address proofs. He suggested that it is better to submit multiple address proofs so that the verification cell processes the application without any problems. In his opinion, sometimes they reject the application if they are not convinced by the documents provided. The only other document which we had was the rental agreement which he was reluctant to accept. He asked for “sarkari” documents like voters Id, ration card, etc. and we had none of them. It took me quite some effort to convince him that we don’t have any of those documents and at the best we can provide him with the rental agreement. At last, he accepted it and with some “chai paani” completed the verification process. Ultimately and “luckily” the address got updated on the passport. Once the passport is updated, the problem of address proof gets solved to a large extent until you decide to move to a new place :).
On the basis of my experience, I would suggest that after you move to a new city first open an account in a nationalized bank, then apply for a BSNL/MTNL landline connection and then get your passport updated. Updating passport is not crucial but if you are planning to travel abroad and your visa requires police clearance certificates, etc. then it’s a good idea to update the passport as it makes the processes at RPO simpler and faster.