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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone else been asked to provide proof of life to TVP International?

I have to fill in a "Life Certifcate" and have it signed by a "professional person."

First, they send it snail mail so it takes four weeks to get here and I have to return it within eight weeks from the date of the letter. They suggest sending it back (at my expense, of course) by airmail. Thanks a lot.

Second, I am in Bulgaria but, of course, the "professional person" has to answer questions that are printed in English.

I don't know anyone here who knows English well enough that I could expect them to respond to the questions, let alone understand the implications of what they are signing.

So, in theory at least, I have to go to the trouble and expense of having a translator put the questions into Bulgarian, a professional to answer the questions and sign the form, a notary to confirm that the questions are written and answered correctly and then, I'll send it back to the UK and TVP won't accept it because it is in Bulgarian. Lol!

Personally, I think they are being bloody minded as I am in the middle of a disagreement with them as to what information CitiBank should provide me, with regard to my pension, and I have two emails (well one sent twice) that have each been outstanding more than the 10 working days that they promise to respond in.

However, if anyone else has had to prove that they are alive, I would be interested in knowing.
 

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Hahaha, "Proof of Life" is even better than my experience with a stubborn (and stereotypically dumb) buerocrat who insisted on a birth certificate and wouldn't accept my sheer existence (which is indisputable) as sufficient proof that I was born.
 

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This is apparently becoming something of a "thing" with the various pension agencies. Just heard from a Swiss friend of mine that she and her husband were required to appear at the local town hall to have their existence verified so they can continue to receive their pensions. (Though, if they couldn't go into the town hall, they could arrange to have a policeman come to their home to perform the appropriate verification procedure.)

Another friend of mine receives a pension from Morocco and so has to return to Morocco every three months to prove that she's still alive and well. (Though I think that's because she is still in the process of deciding whether she actually wants to stay in France or not.) Fortunately, she has family connections with Royal Moroc Airlines so gets cut rate flights.

Is there any sort of compromise you could work through the British Consulate in Bulgaria?
Cheers,
Bev
 

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When I was living in Malaysia, Norway wanted "Proof of Life" from me.
I was receiving a Norwegian benefit and it was my understanding that Norway periodically checks to make sure that the benefit is really going to the desired recipient.
All I had to do was fill out a form and then visit the Norwegian Consulate in Malaysia to deliver it in person.
The consulate verified that the Norwegian money was going to the desired person, me.
It was strange, but it seems reasonable to me for a government to check that a fraud is not being perpetuated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As I said, I think that TVP are being bloody minded and will probably give the excuse, for not responding to my two emails within their stated 10 working days, that they were waiting for me to send the proof of life certificate back.

Anyway, having tried my vet (who speaks English but was away), my dentist (who speaks English but was away), the bank, who (despite the door being open, were at lunch and refused to cooperate and) referred me to the municipality who, despite their assertion that they provide service in English, couldn't provide someone who spoke English, I am now informed by a local translator that, what I suggested would be expected i.e. that the form has to be translated into Bulgarian (she suggested 10 leva) and notarised (for god knows how much), signed and then sent back to the UK attached to the original form.
So, I went to the document translator, who speaks no English. I paid 15 leva (foreigner price, I guess) and it will be ready Friday. As she speaks no English, perhaps she is going to Google translate it which, if TVP put the forms online, I could have done myself, lol! Better still, why don't they have the form online, in all EU languages at least.
 

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As I said, I think that TVP are being bloody minded and will probably give the excuse, for not responding to my two emails within their stated 10 working days, that they were waiting for me to send the proof of life certificate back.

Anyway, having tried my vet (who speaks English but was away), my dentist (who speaks English but was away), the bank, who (despite the door being open, were at lunch and refused to cooperate and) referred me to the municipality who, despite their assertion that they provide service in English, couldn't provide someone who spoke English, I am now informed by a local translator that, what I suggested would be expected i.e. that the form has to be translated into Bulgarian (she suggested 10 leva) and notarised (for god knows how much), signed and then sent back to the UK attached to the original form.
So, I went to the document translator, who speaks no English. I paid 15 leva (foreigner price, I guess) and it will be ready Friday. As she speaks no English, perhaps she is going to Google translate it which, if TVP put the forms online, I could have done myself, lol! Better still, why don't they have the form online, in all EU languages at least.
It does sound like an incredible hassle and I understand that you already have your path outlined and I wish you the best of luck.

I understand that for your situation, the following question does not carry weight, but I am thinking about others who might run into the same problem in the future.
Did you ever call the British Consulate for assitance or advice?
 

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French people living overseas and receiving state pensions are required to get proof of life documentation certified on an annual basis.
 

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Hi,
Send them one of your fingers wrapped up in today's newspaper!
Cheers
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So, a week has gone by and the translators have screwed up the document. For a start, it looks nothing like the original format of the document and they have also managed to omit the essential part, i.e. the witness details, lol!

Anyway, what I find ludicrous is why it has to be translated at all. Perhaps it doesn't. I have done this at the instruction of an interpreter who now says that she has never seen the document before.

Look, when I go to a notary here, I am obliged (I was forced to once, for no good reason, at ridiculous expense) to have an official interpreter with me, in order to ensure that I understand the necessary Bulgarian document that I am signing. As this is an English document, why can't I have this same official interpreter with me in order to ensure that the notary (or whomever) understands the necessary English document that they are signing (anyway, I'm sure they speak enough English to avoid having an interpreter there at all). Trying to get my local interpreter to understand that logic is a joke.
 

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So, a week has gone by and the translators have screwed up the document. For a start, it looks nothing like the original format of the document and they have also managed to omit the essential part, i.e. the witness details, lol!

Anyway, what I find ludicrous is why it has to be translated at all. Perhaps it doesn't. I have done this at the instruction of an interpreter who now says that she has never seen the document before.

Look, when I go to a notary here, I am obliged (I was forced to once, for no good reason, at ridiculous expense) to have an official interpreter with me, in order to ensure that I understand the necessary Bulgarian document that I am signing. As this is an English document, why can't I have this same official interpreter with me in order to ensure that the notary (or whomever) understands the necessary English document that they are signing (anyway, I'm sure they speak enough English to avoid having an interpreter there at all). Trying to get my local interpreter to understand that logic is a joke.
If you are providing "proof of life" to an organisation in the U.K., I fail to understand why you are dealing with translators.
Why not just get an English speaking authority, who is located in Bulgaria, to notarize a "proof of life" statement, which is written in English?
Then, send the "proof of life" statement to the U.K. organisation.
(Sorry for my confusion on the matter.)
 

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Exactly. Do you have an accountant or anyone in your bank who reads English? My accountant signed mine. A friend had their bank manager do theirs. He didn't speak English but one of the staff told him what he was signing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
EuroBob, lol! That is exactly what I am saying but I don't know anyone who is of sufficient authority who speaks English well enough to understand what they are signing. I am using a translator only because my local interpreter insisted that it was necessary. I don't know anyone who speaks English that would know any better than that.

"Why not just get an English speaking authority, who is located in Bulgaria, to notarize a "proof of life" statement, which is written in English?"
I don't live in a major centre and, to go to Sophia, would be expensive.


Xabiachica, my first post explains what I did prior to talking to the only person (the interpreter) that I know locally that understands English (and my limited Bulgarian) well enough to understand the form and what is required.
 

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EuroBob, lol! That is exactly what I am saying but I don't know anyone who is of sufficient authority who speaks English well enough to understand what they are signing. I am using a translator only because my local interpreter insisted that it was necessary. I don't know anyone who speaks English that would know any better than that.

"Why not just get an English speaking authority, who is located in Bulgaria, to notarize a "proof of life" statement, which is written in English?"
I don't live in a major centre and, to go to Sophia, would be expensive.


Xabiachica, my first post explains what I did prior to talking to the only person (the interpreter) that I know locally that understands English (and my limited Bulgarian) well enough to understand the form and what is required.
Okay, I see. It is a cost of travel issue.
I do not know your finances or the costs of traveling around Bulgaria.
I now understand from you that traveling to Sophia is prohibitively expensive.
I do not know your current city/town/village/location.

As I understand it, you need a "professional", who lives, or works, close enough to your location, that it is not prohibitive for you to travel to their location and enlist their aid, and you are hoping this cost is less than what it cost to travel to Sophia and get assistance.

You speak of "sufficient authority".
Can the individual who signs just be a "professional" who understands English?


Is there a college or university or bank or tourist information center or international business which is close enough that the cost of getting there is not prohibitive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
My vet wasn't there when I went to see him, before getting the document translated.
I went to see him this morning and, given the incomplete translated document, that he was able to read, he was happy (I think) to sign the original English version. However, as soon as I signed and dated the front of the document, he got an emergency call and said to come back later, so now, lol, I have a half completed document that is supposed to have been signed and dated in his presence that he hasn't signed and dated yet. Let's hope I don't have to wait until tomorrow.

As far as suitable persons for witness is concerned...
. bank/building society official or accountant - bank refused. I have an accountant but her English isn't good enough.
. barrister, solicitor or any other person allowed to manage oaths... - my lawyer doesn't speak English. I planned on seeing a notary, when the translation is completed. However, as I said, I maintain my local interpreter should be able to explain to notary what they are signing for on the original English document but she doesn't understand the logic.
. doctor, dentist, physiotherapist or pharmacist - dentist wasn't there and pharmacist didn't understand. I don't have doctor or physiotherapist. I am hoping my vet will count as a doctor.
. government official or local mayor - neithe village mayor nor town mayor understand English and municipality were no help.
. the equivalent of a magistrate, Justice of the Peace or member of the local police force - my neighbour's son, who visits often, is a police officer but doesn't understand English.
. minister of religion - I know none
. care home/nursing home manager - I am not there yet, thank god.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Crisis over. The vet signed the form and it is now in the mail. Let's hope that the pension people equate a vet to a doctor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, I got my last pension payment but it was paid just inside the eight week period for returning the document so I won't know for another four weeks whether they accepted it or not.

Anyway, the document wasn't ready when I went to collect it. It showed up on the following Tuesday and two pages had turned into four, due to pathetic formatting, and, not only that, the critical section, where the witness gives their details, was missing. Lol!
When I returned to the office to complain, at mid-day, the person had left for the day and a phone call and email to the Sofia office weren't answered.

So, next morning I went to see my vet and explained the situation to him and, having read through the Bulgarian version, he said he would complete the English one.
I filled in my section, that has to be signed in his presence, while he answered his phone and it was an emergency call so he had to leave. So there I am with a partly completed form, filled in where it had to be done in the presence of the witness. However, I returned later that day and he filled it in.
 
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