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Affidavit of inquiry means an affidavit in which the plaintiff’s attorney or a person with knowledge of the facts indicates that the defendant cannot be served within the state. In most states it is required on the absence of the defendant and before substituted service of process.
Following is an example of a state stature explaining on the contents of an affidavit of inquiry. Pursuant to N.J. Court Rules, R. 4:4-5, The affidavit of inquiry shall be made by the plaintiff, plaintiff's attorney actually entrusted with the conduct of the action, or by the agent of the attorney; it shall be made of any person who the inquirer has reason to believe possesses knowledge or information as to the defendant's residence or address or the matter inquired of; the inquiry shall be undertaken in person or by letter enclosing sufficient postage for the return of an answer; and the inquirer shall state that an action has been or is about to be commenced against the person inquired for, and that the object of the inquiry is to give notice of the action in order that the person may appear and defend it. The affidavit of inquiry shall be made by the inquirer fully specifying the inquiry made, of what persons and in what manner, so that by the facts stated therein it may appear that diligent inquiry has been made for the purpose of effecting actual notice.