A Little Homesick
The Graduate Escape


Moving to Australia: Proof of Address

I have officially been in the country for a week! You may think that I've spent my days here sightseeing, sunbathing and befriending kangaroos, but it's actually been a lot more productive. I've got an Aussie sim, a medicare card, a bank account, a tax file number, and soon I'll have a drivers license. Don't say I don't know how to enjoy myself!

It hasn't all been plain sailing, however. You see, I've found myself in a bit of a pickle: I've had no proof of address. Why do I need a proof of address? To get a phone plan, bank account, drivers license, etc. So what counts as a proof of address? A mobile phone bill, bank statement, driver's license, medicare card, etc. You see my problem?

I mean, there are ways around this. Thousands of Brits arrive in Australia every year and somehow they all manage to open bank accounts, get phones, and function as adults. It can seem slightly frustrating though when you cannot apply for something that would provide you with proof of address without having a proof of address. There are, however, at least three ways you can get proof of address without too much hassle.

  1. Tenancy agreement - lease, contract, whatever you want to call it. As long as it's signed by both you and your landlord then you're good to go. If, however, you're staying with friends or family and don't have a tenancy agreement, you can find blank templates online to use. 
  2. Bank accounts for migrants - some banks, such as Westpac, have bank accounts specifically geared towards migrants. I won't go into too much detail here as I'm saving that for another gripping post, but these accounts don't require you to show proof of address when opening. In fact, according to Westpac's website, you'll have 12 months to verify your identity, which involves showing them proof of address. Just like in the UK, as soon as you open your account you'll get a letter with your name and address on . . . aka proof of address!
  3. Medicare card - a medicare card is Australia's healthcare service. The cards are free and I know I was required to get one just as part of my travel insurance. You don't need proof of address when applying, however, you will need an address to which the card can be sent. Also, it'll take about 3-4 weeks for the card to arrive so maybe not the quickest method, but it's soemthing worth getting anyway!

So once you've cleared the first hurdle, the rest is plain sailing. I am now practically swimming in proofs of address, I can just take my pick! I'm sure there are easier, more obvious ways to get proof of address. In fact, I know there are. So, if you've found yourself in a similar situation, how exactly did you manage to get your first piece of proof of address?