Where you live can affect your rights to attend school, get a driver's license and even qualify for a library card. Some agencies or service providers may ask you to write a letter swearing that you live in a particular location, while others require additional documentation. If you make inaccurate statements under oath, you could face civil and criminal penalties.
Proof of Residency Requirement
Most states or counties limit social services to those who can prove they are residents. Even institutions open to all, like public colleges and universities, require out-of-state residents to pay higher tuition. Cities sometimes restrict urban treats like free days at the museum to city dwellers. However, the method you should use to prove residency varies depending on the person or agency requiring it.
Letters Proving Residency
You may be asked to provide a letter or affidavit proving residency to obtain certain local benefits, like allowing your children to attend public schools. In a residency letter, state your residence address, describe when you first occupied the residence, and swear that the information is true under penalty of perjury. In some cases, you must sign the letter in front of a notary public.
Writing a Letter For Someone Else
You may be asked to write a residency letter for someone else. For example, if a family member arrives from out of state and is staying at your home, you might need to state facts to prove the person's residence. In this case, your letter should identify who you are, identify the name of the person living with you, state that the person is living at your home, provide your residency address and the date the person moved in with you. To close, swear under penalty of perjury that the facts you gave are true, then sign the letter.
Most of the time, you'll be asked to provide documents to prove residency. A current state driver's license or identity card proves state residence, but in many cases you can also use utility company bills, telephone statements, a residential rental agreement or lease contract, home ownership records, certified marriage certificate or property tax bills. A city library card may serve as proof that you live in that city, and sometimes all you need could be a letter from a government agency sent to you at a local address.
Teo Spengler earned a JD from U.C. Berkeley Law School. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an MA and an MFA in English/writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.