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French mairie changes process for UK pensioner’s ‘life certificate’

Staff there had previously signed the document that enables the retiree to continue receiving a UK state pension but has now drafted its own version in French

In rural France, the easiest way to complete a ‘life certificate’ is to ask the mayor or secretary to sign and stamp it with the commune seal Pic: shocky / Shutterstock

A mairie has said it can no longer sign UK state pensioners’ ‘life certificates’ and has drafted a version in French instead.

A reader, from Aix-en-Pro­vence, showed us the certi­ficat de vie, an anonymous version of which can be seen here.

Previously, staff at the mairie had agreed to give a witness signature but this time the reader was told it must be completed online as it was not written in French. 

She sent both versions to the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), with a covering note. 

We have so far found no specific change in the law on this but the issue could cause problems since the UK is considering putting life certificates online rather than posting them out.

Read more: ‘Proof of life’ certificates may go online for UK pensioners in France

What are life certificates?

Life certificates, also known as a ‘Declaration of Existence’ or a CF(N)698 form are periodically sent out by pension providers to check that a recipient is still alive and well enough to handle their own affairs, living in the same place and receiving the correct amount in payments. 

UK state pensioners over the age of 75 will receive one every two years, while younger pensioners will receive one sporadically. 

Pensioners are required to fill them in the presence of an independent witness such as a bank clerk, social worker, local council worker or solicitor, and send them back to avoid losing their pension. 

Usually in France, especially in rural communes, the easiest way of doing so is to take it to the mairie and ask the mayor, an assistant or the secretary to sign and stamp the form with the commune seal.

If you have had any issues with getting a ‘life certificate’ signed in France, email 

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