Saturday, May 30, 2015

The AdSense PIN Process

What is the AdSense PIN, and Why is it Needed?

The AdSense PIN is a unique identification number issued to every publisher in their advertising network. The PIN is issued on a folded postcard that is sealed along the bottom, and mailed to your home address (the address used when you signed up for Adsense).

The purpose of the PIN is to verify your address, or in other words, to prove to AdSense that you live where you say you live.  When you sign up, you have to give the address of your residence - your home, or apartment, and the address includes your street address (or PO Box) and your country and postal code. While you can change your street address if you move, you cannot change change your country so when you sign up, you must be sure to give your correct country.

We've seen several problems when people try to sign up using some fictitious address in a different country because they think it will be easier to get approved. This usually doesn't work. Most of the time the application is rejected for incorrect information, but in the few cases where it has worked (usually when they have someone located in that country do the signup), when it comes time to get paid, they cannot receive a payment. To get your payment, it must be issued to the same country location as your address. These people end up being stuck with no way to get their payments.

No, you can't just change the country and address to receive the payment. The country can't be changed.

This is one of the purposes of the PIN. Sure, the PIN might be issued to the fictitious address, but the publisher would never receive it. If they used a friend or family member's address in a different country, the friend/family member might be able to get the PIN and give the publisher the PIN number to enter into their account.

While that might work to verify the address, come payment time ... the publisher won't receive his or her payment. If you use EFT or Wire Transfer (the majority of accounts now use this option) the bank account you have your earnings issued to must be your own - using your own name. It must also be located in the country where your address is. If you live in India but have a UK address in your AdSense account, then you need a bank account in the UK.

Most countries won't allow you to open a bank account if you don't reside in that country, and you usually need some sort of photo-ID and/or government ID to open a bank account.

So, the result is that you will save yourself a lot of trouble if you just use your own address in the first place.

When is the PIN Issued

In most countries, the PIN threshold is around $10US or the equivalent in local currency.  What may be confusing for some is the fact that this threshold is the value of "verified" earnings, and not estimated earnings.

AdSense used to send the PIN once estimated earnings reached $10, but haven't been doing that for some time now. Once your Payments page has a total of verified earnings at or over the $10 required threshold, the PIN would usually be issued with a week or so of that amount showing up on your Payment page.

You'll know when they've issued your first PIN - there will be a red notice in your AdSense account telling you that your payments are on hold until you enter your PIN. The PIN is sent out in the regular mail services, so it's no different than if you bought a postcard, stuck a stamp on it and dropped it off at the post office to be sent out to someone else. Adsense does the same thing (not literally).

How Long Does it Take

Once they stick it in the mail, how long it takes to get to your home address depends entirely on the mail services. AdSense has no control over how long the postal service takes to deliver it, nor even whether it gets delivered at all. If the postal service loses it, or delivers it to the wrong address, the publisher might not get the first PIN at all.

You can request a second PIN about 4 weeks after the first one had been issued. If you don't get that, you get one more opportunity to request your PIN (again about 4 weeks after the second was issued). If you don't get your third PIN ... is it "3 strikes, you're OUT!!!" ?

No - not necessarily. There is still a way to verify your address (depending on where you live). At least, there is if you really live at the address you included in your AdSense account.

About 4 weeks after you request the third PIN if you haven't entered a PIN into your AdSense account, AdSense will ask you to submit documentation to prove your address. This option will appear in your Adsense account, with a link so you can upload documents. If it hasn't been 30 days/4 weeks since your last PIN was issued, you will NOT be able to submit the documents, and may get redirected to the PIN Troubleshooter.

What you'll need is an official document or two that shows your name and address - a passport if it shows your address (not all passports show an address in text); a government issued identification card; a driver's license; sometimes they'll accept a utility or tax bill. If you aren't sure which is best, it wouldn't hurt to submit two documents.


There are some cases where a link to submit your documents won't appear, but you'll get a link to request a new PIN instead. In these cases, you need to request a new PIN. That's because there are some areas in the world where you won't be able to use documents to verify your account. You'll know whether or not you live there if you never see the option to upload documents in your account and you just keep getting a link for a new PIN. There isn't much more I can add, because this is a fairly new change in the process.
Depending on your location, you may be able to send us an official document as proof of your address. If you're eligible, you'll see a notice on the homepage of your AdSense account with instructions on how to send us your official document.
No, we don't have a list of places, suffice it to say, you MUST use an address in your account where you actually live. Not a fake one, or someone else's address. Yours.

What if My Payments are on Hold?

Once you enter your PIN, the payment hold would be lifted within a few days (if not immediately), but you may not receive your payment immediately. It will depend on the payment system you are on, and how long you've been at the payment threshold waiting for your PIN, and whether or not you have other payment holds (ie: entering your tax info, setting up a payment method).

In some cases, those at or past the threshold who have been waiting through several payment cycles may see their payments issued within a few days, and those who only got to the payment threshold will probably see their payment issued during the upcoming payment cycle.

If you aren't using EFT or Wire Transfer then you would not receive payment until the next payment cycle.

What if I enter my PIN wrong 3 Times?

I used find it hard to believe that any one could accidentally enter the number wrong 3 times in a row, but considering how many people use mobile devices to access their accounts, it is a lot easier to make that mistake than it used to be.

However, if you "accidentally" enter your PIN wrong 3 times on purpose (because you are just guessing at it and haven't actually received it yet) ... you could find yourself with no way to complete the process, and no way to contact anyone ... and in the end, you have an account that is stuck. In this case, there wouldn't be any way to ever collect those earnings.

Entering the PIN wrong 3 times won't get you a link to submit your documents, so don't waste your trying time suggestions from some silly YouTube videos or blogs you found online. If it's not an official video from AdSense's OWN YouTube channel, or instructions from the AdSense help center, then don't consider it any sort of official instructions.
posted by J. Gracey Stinson
(updated Aug. 27, 2016)


  1. please i mistakenly entered an incorrect pin first time....I'm yet to reuest for a saecond one....will i still be able to upload a document

    1. Whether or not you'd be able to upload documents will depend on your location. In some countries, document verification isn't possible. Your only option would be to request a new PIN in that case. If you bothered to read my post you'd understand that documents can't be uploaded in every country, and you can't upload documents without completing the PIN process anyways. You'd still have to request another PIN.

      However, any new PIN you request will simply be a reprint of the original PIN, so what you'd receive in the mail is the same PIN number that you received the first time.

  2. i got my pin but when putting the correct pin it said wrong pin what should i do

    1. Hi Samuel - at the moment, a lot of people are running into this problem. It appears to be some sort of glitch in the account, and AdSense staff have reported it to the engineers. For now, I'm afraid there's nothing you can do except wait until it's fixed.

  3. Does Google send pin to a PO Box?

    1. I don't know if they still do or not. I know they used to, because when I signed up for AdSense (long, long, long time back) my address was a PO Box, and I received my PIN and payments (was by cheque back then) at my address just fine. Since I haven't ever had to request another PIN, I don't know if they still issue mail to PO Boxes or not, but I suspect they do if the PO Box is in a Post Office, and not a virtual remailer.

  4. I used my office address to request my 2nd and 3rd adsense pins and later changed my address to my home address for which I have a drivers license showing that address, can I still upload the drivers licence since it doesn't show the address used for my last pin request but has the address which I currently changed to after applying for my 3rd pin

    1. If AdSense asks you to upload documents, the document needs to show the address listed in your AdSense account, so as long as it's the same as the mailing address listed in your account, it should be fine. Note that you can't upload documents unless they request them from you.

  5. I recived this mail but it is more than 48 hours my payment hold is not removed.

    Thanks for sending your proof of
    identity. I am happy to let you know that this fulfills the address verification requirement for AdSense!

    Please note, you may still see the payment hold notification in your account. Rest assured that your PIN has been verified, and the notification will disappear within 24 - 48 hours.

    Now that you’ve verified your address, please ensure you’ve completed these additional steps to getting paid:

    Choose a form of payment
    Check if your balance has reached the minimum payment threshold
    Review our payment timeline to learn when you will be paid

    1. AdSense timelines can be a little ... loose. If you don't see your payment hold lifted by the end of the week, post for help in the forum.

      After 10 years with AdSense I've realized 2 days can actually mean a week sometimes.

      Also be sure to clear your browser cache to make sure you're seeing the current page in your account.

  6. hi,
    i am facing a serious issue with document submitting to verify my adress.I already request for PIN 3 times but i never received any pin.So that i want to verify my adress with document. i clicked "this form" bottom of the page and unfortunately i submit a wrong document.
    sometimes later i noticed i uploaded wrong document so that i click "this form" again but now its redirected me different page and i can't submit my document again. Now what can i do?
    please any one help me.

  7. When you submitted your documents, did you do so directly through a link in your AdSense account? If so, and the document submitted wasn't suitable for verifying your address, you'd get a notice from AdSense - either in your AdSense account, or by email asking you for further information. When that happens, you should be able to submit the correct document.

  8. Thank you so much for making this post. It did answer a lot of questions. My only question is I live in the US, I have read a lot on other forums that it took people 2 months to get a pin. You said in ur post here that it's like mailing a post card. Well that's often fast, maybe 3 days tops. Is adsense sending out those pins from within the United STates? Or are they stationed in another country? If they are here in the US, then people should have no problems getting a pin fast. OH and 1 more question , I'm sorry. I have been at this adsense thing all day. I have a Youtube account and I signed up for adsense when I 1st opened it. Now this was a long time ago. I went back to look at it today and I couldn't believe my eyes I have ( a good amount) of money waiting on me and there is a red mesg saying I have less than a month to verify my address. So I'm really wanting this pin number to come. If it doesn't get here in time, will I lose ALL that money my channel has earned? Or will it still just be on hold until I can verify? Any help on this would be very much appreciated.

    1. Since they recently changed the PIN process, I don't know where they are issued from to be honest. In some cases, people in the US need to use the postal code +4 for the PIN to get to them, though I don't know why (I'm Canadian).

      If you don't receive your PIN "in time" then no, you won't lose the earnings. Ads will stop displaying until you do receive the PIN, but the earnings will still be there to be issued until such time as your payment holds are lifted.


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