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Accessing services when you do not have a permanent address

If you do not have a permanent address you can still access services such as healthcare and banking. If you're eligible you can also get benefits and vote.

The council must help you if you’re homeless or sofa surfing.

Getting healthcare 

You can see a GP and get emergency healthcare for free, even without a permanent address. This also applies no matter your immigration status.

Register with your local GP using a temporary address or the GP’s address.

Find a GP in your area by:

For non-emergency but urgent healthcare advice call 111.

If you have a medical emergency call 999 or go straight to an Accident and Emergency (A&E).

Find your closest A&E on NHS Inform

Opening a bank account 

If you do not have a permanent address you might still be able to open a bank account.

Search online for digital banks that do not require proof of address to open a basic bank account.

You will need to give them an address to send your bank card to. If you have permission, you could use the address of a friend or family member, or a shelter.

The bank will ask for proof of identity, such as a passport, drivers licence or national ID card.

If you cannot open an account online, go to a high street bank and ask them to open an account without a permanent address.

The bank will need to check your identity. To do this they may ask for ID such as a passport, and proof of temporary address. 

If you do not have proof of a temporary address, you may be able to use a document such as:

  • a contract of employment or payslip

  • a letter from the manager of a hostel, refuge or supported housing

You may need to try at more than one bank.

Getting benefits

You can still apply for benefits if you do not have a permanent address. If you already get benefits you can continue to get them.

You'll need to report any changes to your living situation to your benefits provider.

Check our advice on getting benefits when you’re homeless.


You can vote in the following elections when you do not have a permanent address:

  • Scottish Parliament elections and council elections if you’re 16 or older

  • UK Parliamentary general elections if you’re 18 or older and a UK citizen

To register to vote you'll need to give details of either:

  • where you spend a lot of your time

  • an address where you would be living if it were not for your current situation

  • an address where you have lived in the past

You can collect letters about your registration at your electoral registration office.

Register to vote on GOV.UK

Getting homeless support

The council must help if they have reason to believe you're homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Check our advice on making a homeless application.

There are charities and organisations that offer a range of support and services for people who are homeless.

Check our advice on organisations that can help when you're homeless.

Last updated: 27 March 2024

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England