No testimony of an observation of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon will be treated directly by telephone or following a simple email to the GEIPAN.
To testify to the GEIPAN, only the GEIPAN questionnaire (fully completed with the technical information that will allow an analysis) and/or a police report are required.
If the testimony is very easy to explain without having to do an investigation a quick response is given to the witness. The processing of the testimony will then stop and not be published on the GEIPAN website.
In other cases an investigation will be opened. An investigation can follow several steps depending on the complexity or strangeness of the case and may require the intervention of an external investigator for the following:
- An intervention from the Gendarmerie following the police report on the location of the sighting or in the event of a risk to the safety of the witness
- A rapid remote investigation at the GEIPAN with the digital tools and if necessary the help of the external partners (Météo-France, Aviation civile, Armée de l’Air and Gendarmerie). They help the GEIPAN establish the astronomical, satellite routes, weather, aircraft and space debris maps.
- Sending an investigator to the location of the sighting so they can do an environmental audit and interview the witness
- To get the opinion of the GEIPAN experts to analyse certain hypothesis
Depending on the case, the complexity of the observation and the number of files being processed, an investigation can take several months.
At the end of the investigation all of the gathered information and expert opinions, the head of the GEIPAN can archive the case in one of four categories:
- A: a perfectly identified phenomenon - if the GEIPAN has evidence of the origin of the phenomenon.
- B: a probably identified phenomenon - if the GEIPAN is convinced of the origin of the phenomenon but could not gather absolute proof.
- C: a phenomenon that cannot be identified since the GEIPAN does not have enough elements to give a solid opinion.
- D1: an unidentified phenomenon but of average strangeness and consistency (only one witness or no photo for example).
- D2: an unidentified phenomenon of strong strangeness and consistency (several independent witnesses and photos for example).
The results of the investigation will then be anonymized (all personal data are erased) before being published on the GEIPAN website. The witness will receive a letter once the case is published and will therefore be able to see it on the website. The GEIPAN ethics admit that it may only be a provisional classification and that any new information likely to change this classification may lead to the review of the case and change the category it is archived as.