If you live in France, you may find you are asked to write an ‘Attestation sur L’Honneur’ or a sworn statement. So, what is this document, when might you need to write one, and how do you go about writing it? Here’s what you need to know.
What exactly is an Attestation sur l’Honneur?
A literal translation is that one is ‘swearing on one’s honour’, which sounds a bit archaic! However, in reality, this is a sworn statement or an ‘affidavit’, which has legal standing in France. There can be legal recourse against those who make false declarations, so it is to be taken seriously.
An ‘Attestation sur l’Honneur’ is essentially a document that you sign to say that certain statements are the truth.
This document is commonplace in France, and it is possible to write your own Declaration or Attestation sur l’Honneur.
When might I need an Attestation sur L’Honneur?
There are many situations where you might be asked to write an attestation, often for tax, social security, or other official reasons.
If you do not have the means to prove your address (as in the case of many house hunters) a landlord could furnish you with an Attestation as proof of address. You might also be asked to write an attestation sur l’honneur for a visiting friend or family member who needs to provide proof of accommodation for visa purposes.
Many travellers will remember having to sign a printed attestation sur l’honneur in order to enter France during the Covid-19 pandemic, swearing that you didn’t have any Covid symptoms.
You can even write an attestation sur l’honneur to permit a friend or family member to pick up a letter or parcel from the post office on your behalf.
Note that in the instance that you are writing an attestation sur l’honneur for someone else, you will likely need to supply a copy of your ID along with it.
How Do I Write an Attestation sur l’Honneur?
When writing an attestation sur l’honneur, you should include your full name and address, and a brief explanation of the nature of the affidavit. It should be signed and dated.
If you are writing the attestation on behalf of someone else, you will also need to give their full name, and possibly other information such as their date and place of birth or passport number if not a French resident.
The simplest and fool-proof way is to follow this template on the French government website. We’ve also included the example below, with English translations noted in red.
In most instances, an attestation sur l’honneur can be either typed or hand-written, but sometimes you may be required to hand-write it (this used to be the standard, but is becoming less and less common). Either way it must be signed and dated by hand.
What Are the Penalties for a False Attestation?
For writing a false declaration, there could be up to a year in prison and a €15,000 fine.
Writing an attestation in someone else’s name and falsifying their signature is forgery and can carry a penalty of a €45,000 fine plus three years in prison.
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