What’s the Difference Between a Still-Alive Declaration and a Life Certificate
There are documents commonly used by those who are collecting a pension or government
retirement benefits from one country while living in another country. These are called Still-Alive
Declarations, Life Certificates, Proof of Life, Fe de Vida, Prova de Vida, Certificates of
Existence, and Certificates of Living Status.
Many countries such as France, Portugal, Spain and South American countries require the
regular submission of a document like this to their government when you live abroad but are
being paid federal benefits. This document proves to whoever it is submitted to that you are alive
and well and should continue receiving benefits.
Why are these documents important?
For many countries, including Canada, if you live outside of the country, you have a different tax
status and may not be required to file income tax returns except where you are residing.
If you live in a foreign country, the home country that is paying you benefits may not have much
of a paper trail for you if you don’t live there and don’t pay taxes. Therefore, the country paying
wants to be sure that you still exist and should still be receiving your benefits.
What is required on this declaration or certificate?
What is required varies from country to country. If this situation applies to you, you will have to
check with the government of the country paying the benefits to know what that country
specifically requires. You may be able to find this information through their consulate as well.
The French Consulate in Montreal, for example, has information about the French requirements.
Some countries in South America require a current picture to be attached to the certificate and
also the document to be certified by our Attorney General.
Can a notary public help me with these documents?
Yes, they can. We prepare these documents on a regular basis in English, Spanish and
Portuguese. Please contact us if you need some help with your Still-Alive Declarations or Life
If you have any questions about this article or sworn statements, in general, or if you want to
make an appointment with Zancope Notary Public, please contact us at (604) 260-6783.