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AR24: How to prove your identity online in France

The Local France
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AR24: How to prove your identity online in France
The French post office offers an ID checking service, which can also be accessed online. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

For some French admin processes you may need to have your ID verified - and this can now be done online using the La Poste AR24 service - here's how it works.

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For certain French admin services you can prove your identity by uploading a copy of an official document such as a passport or residency card, but other services may ask you to 'verify' your identity document.

This can be done by going into an official agency so that the official can take a look at you and verify that you're the same person as the photo in your ID document, but a more practical option for many is doing it online, via La Poste's AR24 service.

What is AR24?

It might sound like a type of gun, but this is a weapon of a different kind - a virtual lettre recommandée (registered letter), which a vital tool in your arsenal when it comes to dealing with French bureaucracy.

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READ ALSO Lettre recommandée: When you need one and how to send it

The service is run by La Poste and it mainly concerns sending electronic 'registered letters' - basically email but a more official version which is accepted by French admin services.

However it also offers an online version of the post office employee checking to see that you are the same person as your ID.

What will you need?

In order to use this service, you will need a few things - downloaded photos of the ID that you are using to verify your identity (remember you will need a photo of the front and back of ID cards or titres de séjour), an email address and a computer with a functioning webcam.

You'll also need to be using a service which will accept this type of check - usually an official French government administrative process. If the AR24 is accepted, you will be given a click-through option when you get to the stage of verifying your ID.

What next?

The process is in three steps, first you upload photos of the ID that you are using (usually either a passport, French ID card or residency card such as a titre de séjour). These are then checked - make sure the photos you are using are clear, in focus and don't have any part of the card or document obscured.

If your photos are good enough, the site will accept them and you move on to the next step.

Which is?

You will then be invited to connect to a virtual meeting, and you may need to give permission for the site to access the webcam and microphone on your computer.

On the screen appears an oval shape, and you must position yourself so that your face is inside the oval (like getting a passport photo taken) - as with passport photos it's a good idea to make sure your face looks as it does on the ID photo, eg no glasses or hats, hair back off your face.

Once you're in position three digits flash up on the screen, which you must say out loud.

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Hopefully this is obvious, but you need to say them in French - so if you see 8-7-4 you say huit, sept, quatre.

The next instruction will be to hold up to the camera the ID you are using, and this needs to be positioned in front of your face, in the square on the screen.

Once you have given the camera a good look at your ID, you then click 'suivez' to finish.

The site then asks 'do you want to send this video?' and you click yes. 

And then?

You then receive an automated email telling you that your verification request is being considered, and then another email once it is confirmed.

You need to allow 24 hours for the confirmation, but for most people the email arrives within a couple of hours - make sure you also check the spam or junk folder of your email for the automated responses.

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Tips

When you're filling in the forms, make sure the details you give matches exactly to what it says on the ID you will use to prove your identity - so for example use middle names if they are on the ID and write your place of birth exactly as it is spelled on the ID. If anything doesn't match between the details you have given and the ID you are using, your application will likely be rejected.

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