French word of the Day: Attestation

French word of the Day: Attestation
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
A word much beloved in France's true religion - bureaucracy.

Why do I need to know attestation?

It's very topical at the moment, but if you live in France at any time you will frequently be asked to provide une attestation.

What does it mean?

Its simple translation is certificate but that doesn't really convey how central this plays in French life.

At presents it's particularly important as every trip outside the home requires an attestation de déplacement dérogatoire – the official form that certifies your trip is necessary.


But the attestation itself is far from new and different ones will be required throughout your life in France.

There's the attestation du travail – something that proves you are in work, either a contract, formal letter offering you a job or declaration from your employer. This is often required, especially when renting property

Or the attestation de domicile, which relates to proof of where your live.

Slightly different is the attestation sur l'honneur – certificate on your honour, more usually translated as affadavit.

If you don't have the required official paperwork, in certain cases you are allowed to swear a declaration on your honour that something is true. Although the language sounds slightly old-fashioned this has status as a legal document, so if you are found to have lied on one there could be consequences.

For more of the slightly arcane language of France's bureaucracy, click here.



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