Q:

What is a certificate of life?

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Quick Answer

A certificate of life or existence is an official document used by some governments around the world that certifies that the person in question is still living. The certificates are used to verify the continuation of pensions and other services for the aged, especially if the pensioner has settled abroad.

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Full Answer

Many governments, including Germany, India and the United Kingdom, require senior citizens to certify that they are alive once they begin to collect a government pension. A form is sent to qualified citizens on an annual basis. This process is aimed at expatriates or non-residents, including citizens of these countries who have retired abroad. If the form is not filled out, the pension is discontinued.

These forms must be filled out and signed by the pensioner, but there are other rules that must be followed as well. For German expatriates, the form must also be certified by a physician, notary public or social security office. The German government will only accept forms certified by a Consular Officer or Consular General under exceptional circumstances. For non-resident citizens of the United Kingdom, the only stipulation is that the certificate be signed by a pensioner in the presence of a qualified witness.

For Indian non-residents, a certificate of life is issued to pensioners by the local embassy, consul, notary public or authorized Indian banks with branches in the same country where the pensioner is residing. The certificate must be submitted by November of every year.

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