A proof of residence is requested in several different occasions in Brazil and the type of document that is accepted varies according to the institution. Learn in this article what are the types of documents used as proof of residence in Brazil and what you can do if you don’t have them.
What is a proof of residence?
A proof of residence is basically a document proving that you live where you said you live. It sounds very simple when put like this, however, there are several different documents that can prove what your real address is.
The problem with proof of addresses in Brazil is that they can be easily falsified. Differently from other countries, in Brazil there is no organization responsible for issuing a proof of residence, so most mailing sent to your house can be accepted as a proof that you actually live there, what can be a lie.
Also, the document accepted depends greatly on who is requesting it: a retail store offering you its own credit card would probably accept any document on your name, even a bank statement; but if you are applying for a public tender, then you will probably be required to present your electricity, telephone or water bills that have already been paid.
Which documents can I present as a proof of residence?
As previously mentioned, there are several documents that can be presented as a proof of residence and how strict the institution is going to be depends on why the documents are being presented in the first place. To get your voter’s registration, for example, it is necessary to present an electricity or telephone bill; if the required documents are only to get a retails’ credit card, then maybe your insurance bill will do.
Here are the documents that are most commonly accepted as a proof of residence in Brazil:
- Electricity bill
- Telephone bill
- Bank statement
- IPTU or IPVA booklet
- Lease agreement (in case your house is rented)
- Condominium bill
- Annual IRPF declaration
- Paycheck issued by a public institute
- Traffic fines
- Any correspondence sent by INSS
- Health insurance bill
If you do not have any of these documents on your own name, you must present it along with a document attesting your relationship with the house owner. For example, if all the bills in the house are registered under your spouse’s name, you must take your marriage certificate in order to prove that you live with that person; if the house owner is your father, you must take your ID, etc.
Why do I need a proof of residence?
There are several procedures in Brazil that require a proof of residence. The most common are:
- Getting a credit card from a retail store;
- Getting a job;
- Getting a registration in most stores;
- Issuing documents such as RG, passport, driver’s license and voter registration;
- Getting a health insurance;
- Getting a P.O. box;
- College application;
- Participation in public tenders;
- Financing of car or house.
As there are several situations that demand the presentation of a proof of residence, those who live in areas that had not been regulated and are not officially recognized by the city (this is the case of slums or residences located at rural areas) are very often harmed by the fact that they do not have an official document stating where their house is located.
This happens because the most commonly accepted documents are telephone, water or electricity bills, but those who live in the slums do not have a legalized access to these services. As basic infrastructure services like water and electricity many times do not reach these communities, its inhabitants are obliged to rely on “gatos”, an illegal practice that consists basically on stealing infrastructure access.
The result is that once the person has no job, he/she cannot afford moving from the slums and living in a “legal” area; as the person does not have a proof of address, it gets hard to get a job. Some employers will think twice before hiring someone who lives at “the alley located at the right side of the hill, the third house after the church”.
And what if I don’t have a proof of residence?
Some people simply do not have any document that can be used as a proof of residence. This can be the case of those who live in more precarious slums, in rural areas or in a rented property, as all the bills are issued under the name of the property owner.
In case of rented properties, the owner can issue a document stating that the tenant lives in that address. The document must present:
- The owner’s full name;
- Nationality, marital status, RG and CPF numbers;
- Complete address;
- Full name of the tenant, as well as his/her RG and CPF numbers.
Attached to the document there must be a proof of address and the document has to be signed by the owner and two witnesses. Depending on the institution requiring the proof of address, it may be necessary to have the document notarized.
With the advance of housing policies in Brazil, several favelas have been urbanized and its streets and alleys were labeled. Also, 88% of the residences located in the slums have access to water services, so they can use their water bill as a proof of residence.
Extreme cases such as people living in very precarious slums, rural areas or brand new settlements that were not legalized by the local prefecture yet require a bit of “jeitinho brasileiro”.
A common practice (and maybe the only alternative for these people) is to have a friend or a relative living in a regularized area writing a document stating that you are his/her tenant. This is also an alternative as, depending on the slum, the inhabitants have no access to postal services, so the mailing has to be sent somewhere else. This is not a legal practice, but it is the only alternative for many people.