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I am a French citizen, permanent resident in the United States and currently in Thailand, where I'd like to renew my passport because some airlines require it to be in pristine condition.

I read on https://th.ambafrance.org/Passeport-d-un-majeur-renouvellement-en-cas-de-pages-epuisees-modification-etat I have to provide the following document, in addition to a few others, to get a new passport:

Justificatif du domicile lisible en langue française

Google Translate

Proof of domicile readable in French

My proofs of domicile (e.g., rent contract or utility bill) are all written in English, since my domicile is in the United States.

How can I provide a proof of domicile readable in French to renew a French passport as a US permanent resident domiciled in the US and currently in Thailand?

Am I supposed to do the translation myself (quite tedious) or use some translator approved by the French bureaucracy? If I translate it myself or some non-official translator, do I have to get the translation certified and if so by whom? Since many English words are similar to French, does English count as "readable in French"? etc.

  • Just out of curiosity, do you speak French, Franck? Why Google Translate this sentence? – Relaxed Jul 2 at 14:45
  • @Relaxed I speak French. Using Google translate to save human time and as a shield against people complaining about translation :) cool new Google paper about machine translation released earlier this week btw, 600G parameters in the model! – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 2 at 15:44
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As you might have noticed, “Justificatif du domicile lisible en langue française” is a very odd turn of phrase in French. If the document had to be in the French language, the natural way to state that would have been “Justificatif du domicile en langue française”. I suspect they mean that they cannot process documents in Asian scripts and reserve the right to ask for a French translation.

In spite of its reputation, France does not have a policy of rejecting any document written in English just to make a point. (Certified) translations are only required for more consequential procedures than getting a new passport (marriage, adoption, etc.)

Personally, I had no issues registering and applying for passport/ID cards on the basis of German or Dutch-language documents. English is sufficiently common (obviously) that I would try it anyway. However, my experience was always with the local embassy (i.e. I used German in Berlin and Dutch in Amsterdam) so they would have been familiar with the nature and format of the document. The embassy in Thailand might be more reluctant to accept a US document they don't recognize. On the other hand, the traditional proof of address in France is a utility bill so that should be fine.

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  • "the traditional proof of address in France is a utility bill". Thought it was the ID card – Crazydre Jul 3 at 13:57
  • @Crazydre The ID card doesn't prove your current address, although sometimes it can be accepted. – zhantongz Jul 3 at 14:47
  • @Crazydre The ID card mentions an address but only as a convenience (if it gets lost and a good samaritan wants to send it back to you?) There is no obligation to update it when moving and the French authorities do not rely on it. Whenever you need something that requires a proof of address/residence, you have to show your ID card and a recent utility bill. – Relaxed Jul 3 at 16:30
  • @Relaxed Edge case, but Canada uses it to determine whether the holder is an SPM resident (since French citizens residing in SPM can enter Canada passport-free directly from SPM) – Crazydre Jul 4 at 6:32
  • @Crazydre Interesting but it's definitely not used in that way within France. It's perfectly possible for someone who resided in Saint-Pierre at the time they renewed their card to use it for 10+ years after leaving the territory. In the past, I was invited to put an address on the form without being asked for any proof whatsoever. – Relaxed Jul 4 at 9:28
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Relaxed's answer based on their experience in Europe is correct: unlike what https://th.ambafrance.org/Passeport-d-un-majeur-renouvellement-en-cas-de-pages-epuisees-modification-etat states, the French Embassy in Bangkok does accept proofs of domicile that are written in English. No need to translate it.

As a side note, the French Embassy in Bangkok has a photo booth to take passport pictures (200 THB, cash only, even though the appointment' email states one cannot take passport pictures inside the embassy), a photocopier (non-free, I forgot the price but probably cheaper to do outside the embassy) and 2 cash dividers (500/1000 -> 100 THB, and 20/50/100 -> 5 THB) but no printer and phones/iPad/bags cannot be brought inside (confiscated at the security gate, free of charge). Everything is paid cash, in THB, and no change is given. The contact information (https://th.ambafrance.org/-Contactez-nous-688-) responds to messages within 24 hours on weekdays (typically the morning).

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You will need to provide a certified translation in French provided by a translator acceptable to the French authorities. Many countries have similar requirements for documents in a foreign language.

A Google search for 'Certified Translators in Bangkok' threw up a number of places that might be able to help, but whether they can handle an English to French translation is something you'd have to ask them.

A call to the French embassy might get you a list of translators that are a) able to do the work, and b) acceptable to the French authorities.

You can ask the embassy if they can accept an English language document. Don't be surprised if they refuse.

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