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Attestation d’accueil — what is it, do I need it and how do I get one?

Attestation d’accueil — what is it, do I need it and how do I get one?

If you are a UK resident with a home in France or simply wishing to travel here, you may be feeling confused or uncertain regarding the recent media frenzy over the travel laws and limitations for UK tourists visiting France.

As it stands, the situation is:

  • if you are coming to France from the UK you should have a valid EHIC/GHIC (free of charge health insurance) and travel insurance. Nothing new there.
  • if you are staying in a hotel/B&B bring proof of your booking – on your phone should be fine.
  • if you are coming to your holiday home, just have a utility bill or proof of ownership handy

None of this is onerous or difficult.

The only real issue is if you are staying with family or friends. The rules say that they should apply for an attestation d’accueil from their local Mairie, but we’ll let you know when we hear of this actually being asked for — we suggest you don’t hold your breath.

Meanwhile, for those who want to know more, here’s everything we know about Attestation d’accueils, as well as the requirements, costs and process of acquiring one.

What is it and who needs one?

Any non French residents (i.e. someone whose permanent home is not in France) wishing to come to France to stay with family and friends (a leisure stay of less than 3 months) must present proof of accommodation. This document is called an Attestation d’accueil and is acquired by the visitor’s host in France. It is required of all foreigners wishing to stay less than 3 months in France, as part of a private or family visit. The request is made at the host’s local mairie (town hall) and the document must be signed by the host. The attestation must be validated by the mairie before applying for a visa (or before travelling in case of visa waiver).

The attestation is only issued if the host meets certain conditions and must be sent to the visitor before their departure. The original copy may be checked by the authorities in transit.

Please note : If you are planning on hosting paying guests in your registered accommodation – campsite, hotel, hostel, gîte, Bed & Breakfast, Airbnb, etc., you will not need to apply for an attestation for paying guests as those travellers will be able to produce a confirmation of accommodation.

What information do you need to provide?

The attestation must include the following :

  • The signer (host)’s Name
  • The passport number, name and nationality of the visitor (and those of their spouse and young children if they are accompanying them)
  • The intended place of accommodation and details of the property
  • The identity of the person undertaking insurance coverage expenses (up to 30 000€ minimum) for any care received during the visitor’s stay in France

You must fill out one form per visitor received. However, the visitor’s spouse and young children are included on the same reception certificate. 

What does the host need to provide?

The applicant shall submit original documentation for the following:

  • Passport or identity card (residence permit)
  • Proof of ownership, tenancy or occupancy of the intended host accommodation (e.g. property deed and notice of property tax or residential tax, or a rental lease with the latest rent receipts)
  • Recent proof of residence related to the accommodation (water, electricity or telephone bill or rent receipt)
  • Any document justifying the host’s resources (last 3 pay slips, latest tax notice) and their commitment to financially support their visitor if needed
  • Any documentation on their capacity to accommodate the visitor(s) under normal housing conditions (in terms of size, security, safety and comfort of the accommodation)
  • Proof of payment of the fee (The Attestation costs 30€ to be paid by tax stamps). This fee is due even if the application is refused. It won’t be reimbursed.
  • If the Attestation d’accueil concerns an unaccompanied minor, a certificate on plain paper from the holders of parental authority, specifying the duration and purpose of the child’s stay

You must have the passport number of the visitor(s), which must be written on the form.

What happens next?

In case of a favourable judgment from the mayor (marie), the validated attestation is issued to the applicant. They must present themselves to the mairie.

Issuance may not be immediate. A thorough review of the file or an investigation into the host accommodation may be necessary. In this case, a receipt of deposit is given to the applicant.

The validated (original) attestation must be sent by the host to the visitor the wish to host.

If the visitor needs a visa to come to France, they must attach the attestation to their application for a short stay visa.

Dealing with a refusal

The mayor may refuse to validate and therefore issue the attestation in the following cases:

  • the host cannot present the required supporting documents,
  • the visitor cannot be accommodated under normal housing conditions,
  • the information on the certificate is inaccurate,
  • the attestations previously requested by the applicant show an abuse of process.

The refusal decision may be:

  • explicit, i.e. written and reasoned
  • or implicit, if the mayor did not respond within 1 month.

In case of a refusal, it is possible to make an appeal.

How to Appeal against refusal

The applicant may make a hierarchical appeal to the prefect, within 2 months of the mayor’s refusal.

The Prefect may:

  • validate the attestation,
  • dismiss the appeal.

The rejection of the appeal may be:

  • explicit written and motivated,
  • or implicit, if the Prefect has not responded within 1 month.

In case of loss, the host must reapply for an attestation. They will be required to resubmit supporting documents and tax stamps.

If you need any more information, you can head over to the French government’s webpage on Attestation d’Accueils : https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F2191