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9 Apr 2009

Addressing the problem of the address

A major problem for many is the address system.

Generally an address is a big part of the identity system. Yes, there are other ways to identify people, but the address tends to be the lowest common denominator.

How do people deal with this problem?

Certainly look on the expat focus website and others.

What options are there?

1) Own a home and rent it out to people you trust. On paper it remains your place of residence however. Post can be sent there as if you are living there all the time.

2) Parents and relatives. This is what all the gap year students do.

3) A friend. If you don't live somewhere it's hard to get someone to agree to take your mail for you. The best answer I can begin to think of is to actually live there. It all comes down to money. To reduce costs you could rent a place for just a few months a year but use this all year for correspondence. Alternatively rent a space much smaller than you normally would and use it mostly for storage.
Once you have somewhere what is then useful is having someone to open mail for you and possibly email it onwards.

4) Group together. A group of 10 people want to go traveling for a year. Why not rent a small flat together. This brings the cost down by a factor of 10.
But don't forget you have to trust these people as much as you trust people you would live with. The more people involved the more risk. You get what you pay for.

What about paying a company to act as your address and forwarding mail?
Generally this isn't legally fully possible. When a form says `You address`, it means legally your address. A company isn't generally allowed to offer this service because, by doing this they would be saying you live there when you don't.

Generally anybody acting as your address needs full trust with what is essentially your identity.
That is a big risk.

The risk can put people off. However, while it is something that needs attention don't let fear control you. Remember most people are honest.

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