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LIVING IN FRANCE

How to write a French ‘attestation sur l’honneur’

At some point during your time in France, you will likely have to write an 'attestation sur l'honneur' - here's what this document is for and how to write one properly.

The French attestation sur l'honneur is a classic piece of French paperwork that you need to understand.
The attestation sur l'honneur is a classic piece of French paperwork that you need to understand. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP)

An attestation sur l’honneur is a written document that’s best translated into English as a ‘sworn statement’ – they’re widely used in France from simple matters like picking up a parcel for a friend to more complex issues like setting up a business.

Some types of official documents – such as tax declarations – are a declaration sur l’honneur, where you have to swear that the information you have provided is true, but you can also create your own attestation.

This document can either be handwritten or typed, but will need to be signed. Deliberately signing a false declaration can land you in trouble – in the most severe cases leading to three years imprisonment and a €45,000 fine. 

The documents are particularly handy for foreigners in France as they can be used in situations where you don’t have the necessary paperwork for an official function.

When do I need to write an attestation sur l’honneur

There are many contexts in which you might be asked to write an attestation sur l’honneur in France. 

If you’re required to provide proof of address for an official function and you don’t have the necessary utility bills or rental contract, you can ask your landlord to write an attestation for you. 

Likewise if you’re trying to complete an administration task and the fonctionnaire is demanding a document that you simply don’t possess (because it doesn’t exist in your home country) it’s sometimes possible to get around this by providing the documents you do have, plus an attestation sur l’honneur swearing to the necessary fact. This doesn’t always work though.

Under current Covid rules people entering France from an orange list country, which includes most countries outside the European Union, need to sign an attestation sur l’honneur declaring that they are symptom-free, haven’t come into contact with an infected person and accepting that you will submit to a test upon arrival in France (if requested). There’s no need to write your own in this case though, there is a document available in English here

For marriages, each partner will need to sign an attestation sur l’honneur declaring their address and that they are not already married.

For PACS ceremonies, each partner will need to sign an attestation sur l’honneur listing their shared address and declaring that they are not related by blood. 

Other situations in which you could be asked to provide an attestation sur l’honneur include if you want to create a business; open some kinds of bank account; retire from work; access certain types of certain security payments; or even authorise someone to pick up a package on your behalf.

How do I write an attestation sur l’honneur? 

Each attestation sur l’honneur looks a little different as the format varies a little depending on what you are using it for, but there are certain things that must be there for it to be a valid document. 

In general they begin Je soussigné(e) (I, the undersigned) followed by your name, address and date of birth, atteste sur l’honneur que (swear on my honour that) followed by the fact you are attesting to. The document is then signed with the date and place of signature added.

Most people use a template for the document and you can find examples for most administrative procedures online. 

However, the generic template looks something like this:

A French attestation sur l'honneur

This is a template of what a French attestation sur l’honneur might look like. Source: service-public.fr

The areas in squared brackets are details you will need to fill out yourself. 

[Prénom] [Nom] – Your first name and surname

[Adresse] – Your address

[Code postal] [Commune] – Your postcode and commune

[Faits ou circonstances à attester] – This is where you actually provide a statement or declaration

[Commune] – When this appears for a second time, you should name the commune where you are actually writing the attestation

[Signez ici] – This is where you sign

In some templates that you find online, you sometimes see the following:

À _________ and le _________ 

In the first place, you should name the town or village where you are signing the document and in the second you should give the date at which you are signing. 

In France a signature is not considered official unless it has both the date and place where it was signed.

Authorising a third party to pick up a letter or parcel

One of the most common uses of an attestation sur l’honneur is giving someone authorisation to pick up a parcel from the post office on your behalf. 

In this instance, you would follow the formula below:

The French attestation sur l'honneur for authorising postal collections in your name.

The French attestation sur l’honneur for authorising postal collections in your name. (Source: La Poste)

You will need to fill in the green text with details relevant to you.

[lieu] – place where you are signing the letter

[date] – date at which you sign the letter

[prénom et NOM de la personne qui donne procuration] – your first name and surname (surname should be written all in capitals)

[date de naissance de la personne qui donne procuration] – your birth date 

[lieu de naissance de la personne qui donne procuration] – your place of birth

[Madame/Monsieur] – the title of the person who you are giving authorisation to

[Prénom et NOM de la personne qui reçoit la procuration] – first name and SURNAME of the person who you are giving authorisation to

[Date de naissance de la personne qui reçoit procuration] – date of birth of the person who you are giving authorisation to

[Lieu de naissance de la personne qui reçoit procuration] – place of birth of the person who you are giving authorisation to

[Adresse de la personne qui reçoit procuration] – address of the person who you are giving authorisation to

Ou celui de mon enterprise [Nom de la society] – You only need this line if someone is picking up packages on behalf of your business. If this is the case, you can give the name of your business in the squared brackets space. 

Will I need supporting documentation?

In some circumstances where you need an attestation sur l’honneur, you may need some additional documents. 

For example, if you are using an attestation sur l’honneur to give someone permission to pick up post for you, you will need to provide them with a copy of your ID or your actual ID document. They will need to take a copy of their own ID. 

The same goes for if you have signed an attestation d’hébergement, which is a document you can use to indicate that someone is living at your property (if there is no rental contract for example). 
 

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TRAVEL NEWS

How you to save money travelling by train in France

Travelling by train is one of the best ways to see France, as well as being better for the planet than flying or driving. However, train tickets don't always come cheap - here is a current list of the railcards and offers that can cut the cost.

How you to save money travelling by train in France

Railcards are the most common way to cut the cost of a ticket. In some cases, the card can even pay for itself in one journey. France’s rail operator SNCF has a range of cards available for everyone from impoverished students to regular business travellers with an expenses account to burn.

But if you’re not a regular traveller there are also a range of offers plus cheaper services to opt for.

READ ALSO Millions of train tickets go on sale in France for Christmas holidays

Liberté card

This one’s really for business travellers, who use the TGV or Ouigo and Intercite trains regularly. And it comes with a price to match – €399 for a year (€379 for anyone lucky enough to work for a company that is part of SNCF’s Contrat Pro plan). 

Holders can enjoy fixed, destination-based fares for business travel in France and beyond, with a card that guarantees cardholders 60 percent off SNCF’s Business Première fares when travelling standard class, and 45 percent off Business Première fares when travelling 1st class. 

Plus, there’s 30 percent off for you and an accompanying adult plus 60 percent off for accompanying children with SNCF’S Avantage fare.

Max Senior

Regular rail travellers aged 60 and over, who use TGV, InOui or Intercite trains at least twice a month can take advantage of this €79-per-month railcard that covers the cost of all standard-class travel outside peak hours from Monday to Friday.

The card is valid for all routes in France and to Luxembourg and Freiburg im Breisgau. You can use the card to book tickets from 30 days before departure right up to the last minute.

READ ALSO Yes, train travel from France across Europe is far better than flying – even with kids

Avantage Senior

Those aged 60 and over who travel by rail less regularly can buy a €49 Avantage Senior card that offers 30 percent discounts on first and standard-class travel on TGV INOUI, Intercités or TER trains for a year.

It also offers a 60 percent discount on tickets for up to three accompanying children aged between 4 and 11.

Standard class fares are capped for all destinations in France, no matter when they are booked – at €39 for a journey of less than 90 minutes, €59 for a journey of between 90 minutes and three hours, and €79 for journeys over three hours.

Max Jeune

A similar offer to the Max Senior deal is available for regular rail users aged between 16 and 27 who use TGV, InOui or Intercite trains at least twice a month. This key difference is that this €79-per-month railcard covers the cost of all standard-class travel outside peak hours seven days a week.

The card is valid for all routes in France and to Luxembourg and Freiburg im Breisgau. You can use the card to book tickets from 30 days before departure right up to the last minute.

READ ALSO UPDATED: The best websites for cross-Europe train travel

Avantage Jeune

Those aged 12 to 27 who travel by rail less regularly can buy a €49 Avantage Jeune card that offers 30 percent discounts on first and standard-class travel on TGV INOUI, Intercités or TER trains for a year.

Standard class fares are capped for all destinations in France, no matter when they are booked – at €39 for a journey of less than 90 minutes, €59 for a journey of between 90 minutes and three hours, and €79 for journeys over three hours.

Max Actif and Max Actif+

The Mon Forfait Annuel Télétravail pass is basically a season ticket, but for people who don’t travel every day. It’s ideal for part-time or remote workers, but can be used by anyone who has semi-regular train trips. 

Anyone who travels between two and three times a week on the same route can buy a Max Actif pass and travel 250 or times on the same line all year, weekdays only. The Max Actif + is basically the same, but for people who travel four to five times a week, and gives 450 journeys with no weekday limit.

Prices vary depending on the route you travel – full details are here

Weekly or monthly rail cards

Speaking of season tickets, you can also buy first or standard class rail cards that last a month or a week that allow unlimited daily travel, and tickets for €1.50 or less (via SNCF Connect or Trainline) for single or national routes.

Avantage Adult

For anyone aged between 27 and 59, a €49 Avantage Adulte card offers 30 percent discounts on first and standard-class travel on TGV INOUI, Intercités or TER trains for a year.

It also offers a 60 percent discount on tickets for up to three accompanying children aged between 4 and 11.

Standard class fares are capped for all destinations in France, no matter when they are booked – at €39 for a journey of less than 90 minutes, €59 for a journey of between 90 minutes and three hours, and €79 for journeys over three hours.

For more information on railcards available in France, click here

READ ALSO Tourists and locals: Paris Metro tickets, passes and apps explained

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