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Document 32016R1191

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Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 on promoting the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for presenting certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012
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OJ L 200, 26.7.2016, p. 1–136 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, GA, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

ELI: http://data.europa.eu/eli/reg/2016/1191/oj
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26.7.2016   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 200/1


REGULATION (EU) 2016/1191 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 6 July 2016

on promoting the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for presenting certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 21(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (1),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure (2),

Whereas:

(1)

The Union has set the objective of maintaining and developing an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured. In order to ensure the free circulation of public documents within the Union and, thereby, promote the free movement of Union citizens, the Union should adopt concrete measures to simplify the existing administrative requirements relating to the presentation in a Member State of certain public documents issued by the authorities of another Member State.

(2)

All Member States are contracting parties to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (the ‘Apostille Convention’), which introduced a system for the simplified circulation of public documents issued by Contracting States to that Convention.

(3)

In accordance with the principle of mutual trust and in order to promote the free movement of persons within the Union, this Regulation should set out a system for further simplification of administrative formalities for the circulation of certain public documents and their certified copies where those public documents and the certified copies thereof are issued by a Member State authority for presentation in another Member State.

(4)

The system set out in this Regulation should be without prejudice to persons being able to continue to benefit, if they so wish, from other systems which exempt public documents from legalisation or similar formality and which are applicable between Member States. In particular, this Regulation should be regarded as a separate and autonomous instrument from the Apostille Convention.

(5)

Coexistence between the system set out in this Regulation and other systems applicable between Member States should be safeguarded. As regards the Apostille Convention, while it should not be possible for Member States' authorities to require an apostille when a person presents to them a public document covered by this Regulation and issued in another Member State, this Regulation should not prevent Member States from issuing an apostille where a person chooses to request it. Moreover, this Regulation should not prevent a person from continuing to use in one Member State an apostille issued in another. Accordingly, the Apostille Convention could still be used, at a person's request, in relations between Member States. Where a person requests an apostille on a public document covered by this Regulation, the issuing national authorities should use appropriate means to inform that person that under the system set out in this Regulation an apostille is no longer necessary if that person intends to present the document in another Member State. In any case, Member States should make that information available through any appropriate means.

(6)

This Regulation should cover public documents issued by the authorities of a Member State, in accordance with its national law, and the primary purpose of which is to establish one of the following facts: birth, that a person is alive, death, name, marriage (including capacity to marry and marital status), divorce, legal separation or marriage annulment, registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status), dissolution of a registered partnership, legal separation or annulment of a registered partnership, parenthood, adoption, domicile and/or residence, or nationality. This Regulation should also cover public documents issued for a person by the Member State of which that person is a national to attest that that person does not have a criminal record. Furthermore, this Regulation should cover public documents the presentation of which can be required of citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals when, in accordance with the relevant Union legislation, they wish to vote or stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament or in municipal elections in their Member State of residence.

(7)

This Regulation should not oblige Member States to issue public documents that do not exist under their national law.

(8)

This Regulation should also apply to certified copies of public documents made by a competent authority of the Member State in which the original public document was issued. However, this Regulation should not cover copies of certified copies.

(9)

This Regulation should also cover electronic versions of public documents and multilingual standard forms suitable for electronic exchange. However, each Member State should decide in accordance with its national law whether and under which conditions public documents and multilingual standard forms in electronic format may be presented.

(10)

This Regulation should not apply to passports or identity cards issued in a Member State as such documents are not subject to legalisation or similar formality when presented in another Member State.

(11)

This Regulation, and in particular the mechanism for administrative cooperation set out therein, should not apply to civil status documents issued on the basis of the relevant International Commission on Civil Status (‘ICCS’) Conventions.

(12)

Public documents on a change of name should also be regarded as being public documents whose primary purpose is to establish an individual's name.

(13)

The concept of ‘marital status’ should be interpreted as referring to an individual's status of being married, separated or unmarried, including being single, divorced or widowed.

(14)

The concept of ‘parenthood’ should be interpreted as meaning the legal relationship between a child and the child's parents.

(15)

For the purposes of this Regulation, the concepts of ‘domicile’, ‘residence’ and ‘nationality’ should be interpreted in accordance with national law.

(16)

The concept of ‘criminal record’ should be interpreted as referring to the national register or registers recording convictions in accordance with national law. ‘Conviction’ should be interpreted as referring to any final decision of a criminal court against a natural person in respect of a criminal offence, to the extent such decisions are entered in the criminal record of the convicting Member State.

(17)

Simplification of the requirements for presenting in a Member State public documents issued in another Member State should bring tangible benefits to Union citizens. Given their different legal nature, documents issued by private persons should be excluded from the scope of this Regulation. Public documents issued by the authorities of third countries should likewise fall outside the scope of this Regulation, including where they have already been accepted as authentic by the authorities of a Member State. The exclusion of public documents issued by the authorities of third countries should extend to certified copies made by the authorities of a Member State of public documents issued by the authorities of a third country.

(18)

The aim of this Regulation is not to change the substantive law of the Member States relating to birth, a person being alive, death, name, marriage (including capacity to marry and marital status), divorce, legal separation or marriage annulment, registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status), dissolution of a registered partnership, legal separation or annulment of a registered partnership, parenthood, adoption, domicile and/or residence, nationality, the absence of a criminal record, or to public documents the presentation of which can be required by a Member State from a candidate in elections to the European Parliament or in municipal elections or from a voter in such elections who is a national of that Member State. Furthermore, this Regulation should not affect the recognition in one Member State of legal effects relating to the content of a public document issued in another Member State.

(19)

In order to promote the free movement of Union citizens, the public documents covered by this Regulation and certified copies thereof should be exempted from all forms of legalisation and similar formality.

(20)

Other formalities, namely the requirement to provide in each instance certified copies and translations of public documents, should also be simplified to further facilitate the circulation of public documents between the Member States.

(21)

In order to overcome language barriers and thereby further facilitate the circulation of public documents between the Member States, multilingual standard forms should be established in each of the official languages of the institutions of the Union for public documents concerning birth, a person being alive, death, marriage (including capacity to marry and marital status), registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status), domicile and/or residence, and absence of a criminal record.

(22)

The sole purpose of the multilingual standard forms should be to facilitate the translation of the public documents to which they are attached. Accordingly, such forms should not be circulated as autonomous documents between the Member States. They should not have the same purpose or pursue the same objectives as extracts from, or verbatim copies of, civil status records, multilingual extracts from civil status records, multilingual and coded extracts from civil status records or multilingual and coded civil status certificates established by ICCS Convention No 2 on the issue free of charge and the exemption from legalisation of copies of civil status records, ICCS Convention No 16 on the issue of multilingual extracts from civil status records and ICCS Convention No 34 on the issue of multilingual and coded extracts from civil status records and multilingual and coded civil status certificates.

(23)

The multilingual standard forms established by this Regulation should reflect the content of the public documents to which they are attached and should eliminate, to the extent possible, the need for a translation of those public documents. However, for a number of public documents the content of which may not be properly reflected in a multilingual standard form, such as certain categories of court decisions, the objective of eliminating the need for translation is not reasonably achievable. The Member States should communicate to the Commission the public documents to which multilingual standard forms can be attached as a suitable translation aid. The Member States should endeavour to attach a multilingual standard form to the greatest possible number of public documents falling under the scope of this Regulation.

(24)

A person who presents a public document accompanied by a multilingual standard form should not be required to produce a translation of that public document. However, the authority to which the public document is presented should ultimately decide whether the information included in the multilingual standard form is sufficient for the purpose of processing that public document.

(25)

The authority to which a public document is presented may exceptionally require, where necessary for the purpose of processing that public document, the person presenting that public document accompanied by a multilingual standard form also to provide a translation or a transliteration of the content of the multilingual standard form into the official language of its Member State or, if that Member State has several official languages, the official language or one of the official languages of the place where the public document is presented, that language being also one of the official languages of the institutions of the Union.

(26)

Multilingual standard forms should be issued, upon their request, to persons entitled to receive the public documents to which the multilingual standard forms are to be attached. Multilingual standard forms should not produce legal effects as regards the recognition of their content in the Member States where they are presented.

(27)

When preparing a multilingual standard form that is to be attached to a specific public document, the authority issuing that form should be able to select from the model for that multilingual standard form only the country-specific entry headings which are relevant for the public document concerned, in order to ensure that the multilingual standard form contains only the information included in the public document to which the form is to be attached.

(28)

It should be possible to integrate the electronic version of a multilingual standard form from the European e-Justice Portal into a different location accessible at national level, and to issue it from there.

(29)

The Member States should have the possibility of creating electronic versions of multilingual standard forms using a technology other than that used by the European e-Justice Portal, provided that the multilingual standard forms issued by the Member States using that other technology contain the information required by this Regulation.

(30)

Appropriate safeguards should be established for the prevention of fraud involving, and forgery of, public documents, and certified copies thereof, circulating between the Member States.

(31)

In order to allow for fast and secure cross-border information exchange and to facilitate mutual assistance, this Regulation should establish an effective mechanism for administrative cooperation between the authorities designated by the Member States. The use of that mechanism for administrative cooperation should strengthen mutual trust between the Member States within the internal market and should be based on the Internal Market Information System (‘IMI’), established by Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (3).

(32)

Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 should therefore be amended in order to add certain provisions of this Regulation to the list of provisions on administrative cooperation in Union acts that are implemented by means of IMI, as set out in the Annex to Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012.

(33)

In order to guarantee a high level of security and data protection in the context of the application of this Regulation and to prevent fraud, the Commission should ensure that IMI guarantees the security of public documents and provides a safe means of electronic transmission of those documents. The Commission should make a tool available in IMI that certifies information exchanged through the system when it is exported outside the system. Furthermore, Member States' authorities which exchange information regarding public documents should take the necessary measures to ensure that, in line with Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012, the public documents and the personal data exchanged through IMI are collected, processed and used for purposes in line with those for which they were originally submitted. Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 sets out the necessary provisions to ensure the protection of personal data and a high level of security and confidentiality for the exchange of information in IMI, and defines the responsibilities of the Commission in this regard. Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 also stipulates that IMI actors are to exchange and process personal data only for the purposes defined in the Union legal act on which the exchange is based and in line with the purpose for which they were originally submitted.

(34)

Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (4) will govern the processing of personal data carried out in the Member States in relation to the application of this Regulation under the supervision of the public independent authorities designated by the Member States. Any exchange or transmission of information and documents by the authorities of the Member States should be in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC. Furthermore, such exchange and transmission should serve the specific purpose of verification by those authorities of the authenticity of public documents through IMI and such verification should only be carried out within the respective spheres of competence of those authorities. This should not preclude Member States from applying their laws, regulations and administrative provisions concerning public access to official documents.

(35)

The authorities of the Member States should provide each other with mutual assistance in order to facilitate the application of this Regulation, in particular as regards the application of the mechanism for administrative cooperation between the authorities designated by the Member States, where the authorities of a Member State in which a public document or its certified copy is presented have a reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of the public document or its certified copy.

(36)

Where the authorities of a Member State in which a public document or its certified copy is presented have a reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of those documents, they should have the possibility of checking the models of documents available in the repository of IMI and, if a doubt remains, to submit requests for information through IMI to the relevant authorities of the Member State where those documents were issued, either by sending the request directly to the authority that issued the public document or made the certified copy, or by contacting the central authority of that Member State. The requested authorities should reply to such requests within the shortest possible period of time and in any case within a period not exceeding 5 working days or 10 working days when the request is processed through a central authority. The time limit of 10 working days may in particular cover situations where the requested authorities are not yet registered in IMI. In the event that those time limits cannot be complied with, an extension of the time limit should be agreed upon between the requested authority and the requesting authority.

(37)

For the purposes of calculating the time limits provided for in this Regulation, Regulation (EEC, Euratom) No 1182/71 of the Council (5) should apply.

(38)

In exceptional circumstances, it is possible that Member States' authorities would be unable to verify the authenticity of a public document. That should occur only where, due to circumstances such as, for example, the physical destruction or loss of copies of national documents due for example to destruction of archives of a certain civil status office or a court, or the absence of a register, that verification is not possible. Therefore, there should be a reply option in IMI which reflects this possibility.

(39)

If the reply from the requested authority does not confirm the authenticity of the public document or of its certified copy or if no reply is received from that authority, the requesting authority should not be obliged to process that public document or certified copy. Furthermore, in such cases, the requesting authority or the person who presented the public document or the certified copy should be free to use any available means to verify or to prove the authenticity of the public document or its certified copy. In order to ensure that this Regulation is effective, situations where no reply is received via IMI should remain exceptional.

(40)

Where necessary, the IMI coordinator or the relevant central authorities can assist in finding a solution to the difficulties that Member States' authorities may encounter when using IMI, including in cases where no reply to a request for information is received or where it is not possible to agree on an extension of the time limit for replying.

(41)

Member States' authorities should benefit from the available IMI functionalities, including the provision of a multilingual system for communications and the use of pre-translated and standard questions and answers, as well as from a repository of models of public documents used within the internal market.

(42)

The central authorities of the Member States should provide assistance in relation to requests for information, and should, in particular, receive, transmit and, where necessary, answer such requests and supply the necessary information in respect of those requests, particularly in situations where neither the requesting nor the requested authority is registered in IMI.

(43)

For the purposes of this Regulation, the central authorities of the Member States should communicate with each other and exercise their functions by using IMI. Communications between authorities of the same Member State should take place in accordance with national procedures.

(44)

The relationship between this Regulation and existing Union law should be clarified. In that regard, this Regulation should be without prejudice to the application of Union law which contains provisions on legalisation or similar formality, or other formalities, such as Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (6). This Regulation should also be without prejudice to the application of Union law on electronic signatures and electronic identification. If the provisions of this Regulation conflict with a provision of another Union act governing specific aspects of simplification of the requirements for presenting public documents, and simplifying such requirements even further, such as Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (7), Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (8) and Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (9), the provision of the Union act which provides for further simplification should prevail.

(45)

Moreover, this Regulation should be without prejudice to the use of other systems of administrative cooperation established by Union law which provide for the exchange of information between the Member States in specific areas such as Council Directive 93/109/EC (10) or Regulation (EC) No 987/2009. This Regulation should be applied in synergy with such specific systems.

(46)

In order to be consistent with its general objectives, this Regulation should, as between two or more Member States, in relation to matters to which it applies and to the extent provided for therein, take precedence over bilateral or multilateral agreements or arrangements to which the Member States are party and which concern matters covered by it.

(47)

Furthermore, Member States should be able to maintain or conclude arrangements between two or more of them in matters which do not fall within the scope of this Regulation such as the evidentiary value of public documents, multilingual standard forms with legal value, exemption from legalisation of such forms, and exemption from legalisation of public documents in areas other than those covered by this Regulation. Member States should also be able to maintain or conclude arrangements aiming to further simplify the circulation of public documents covered by this Regulation between Member States.

(48)

Public documents issued by the authorities of third countries do not fall within the scope of this Regulation. Moreover, agreements and arrangements concerning legalisation or similar formality in respect of public documents on matters covered by this Regulation issued by the authorities of Member States or third countries to be used in relations between the Member States and the third countries concerned may not affect the application of this Regulation. Therefore, this Regulation should not preclude Member States from concluding bilateral or multilateral international agreements with third countries concerning legalisation or similar formality in respect of public documents relating to matters covered by this Regulation and issued by the authorities of Member States or of third countries for use in relations between the Member States and the third countries concerned. Member States should also not be precluded, to the extent that one or more Member States are or may decide to become party to such agreements and arrangements, from deciding on the acceptance of the accession of new contracting parties, in particular as regards the right to raise and notify objections to new accessions as referred to in the second paragraph of Article 12 of the Apostille Convention, or from applying, amending or deciding on accessions of new contracting parties to, the European Convention of 1968 on the Abolition of Legalisation of documents executed by Diplomatic Agents or Consular Officers.

(49)

Since the multilingual standard forms under this Regulation do not have legal value and do not overlap with the multilingual standard forms provided for in ICCS Conventions No 16, No 33 and No 34 or with the life certificates provided for in ICCS Convention No 27, this Regulation should not affect the application of those Conventions as between Member States or between a Member State and a third country.

(50)

An ad hoc committee, composed of representatives of the Commission and of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission, should be set up with a view to taking any measures necessary to facilitate the application of this Regulation, in particular by exchanging best practice concerning the application of the Regulation between Member States, the prevention of fraud involving public documents, certified copies and certified translations thereof, the use of electronic versions of public documents, the use of multilingual standard forms, and concerning detected forged documents.

(51)

To facilitate the application of this Regulation, Member States should, with a view to making the information available to the public through any appropriate means and, in particular, through the European e-Justice Portal, provide the Commission via IMI with the contact details of their central authorities, the models of the most commonly used public documents under their national law or, where no such model exists for a document, information about that document's specific features.

(52)

Member States should also communicate via IMI anonymised versions of forged documents which have been detected and which could serve as useful and typical examples for the detection of possible forgeries. The communication of such forged documents should be limited to forged documents the disclosure of which is permitted under national law, and should be without prejudice to Member States' rules on disclosing evidence collected in the course of criminal proceedings. The information communicated by Member States in relation to forged documents should not be made public.

(53)

In order to facilitate the application of this Regulation, Member States should, with a view to making the information available to the public through the European e-Justice Portal, communicate to the Commission the language or languages they can accept for the presentation of public documents issued by the authorities of another Member State; an indicative list of public documents falling within the scope of this Regulation; the list of public documents to which multilingual standard forms can be attached as a suitable translation aid; the lists of persons qualified, in accordance with national law, to carry out certified translations, where such lists exist; an indicative list of the types of authorities empowered by national law to make certified copies; information relating to the means by which certified translations and certified copies can be identified; and information about the specific features of certified copies.

(54)

Information regarding the models of the most commonly used public documents or the specific features of such documents or certified copies thereof should be made available to the public only to the extent that such information is already publicly available under the law of the Member State whose authorities issued the public document or made the certified copy. For that purpose, Member States should communicate to the Commission which documents are publicly available under their national law. However, for the purposes of this Regulation, information on specific features of public documents or certified copies thereof that should be communicated by the Member States to the Commission should not include information on specific security features that is not publicly available under the law of the Member State whose authorities issued the public document or made the certified copy.

(55)

The communication by a Member State to the Commission of a language or languages other than its own that it can accept for the presentation of public documents issued by the authorities of another Member State should be without prejudice to its authorities being able to accept, in accordance with national law or where so allowed by the Member State concerned, any additional language or languages when a public document issued by the authorities of another Member State is presented to them.

(56)

This Regulation respects the fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular the right to respect for private and family life, the right to the protection of personal data, the right to marry and right to found a family, and freedom of movement and of residence. This Regulation should be applied in accordance with those rights and principles.

(57)

Since the objectives of this Regulation, namely the promotion of the free movement of Union citizens by facilitating the free circulation of certain public documents within the Union, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of its scale and effects, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

CHAPTER I

SUBJECT MATTER, SCOPE AND DEFINITIONS

Article 1

Subject matter

1.   This Regulation provides, in relation to certain public documents which are issued by the authorities of a Member State and which have to be presented to the authorities of another Member State, for a system of:

(a)

exemption from legalisation or similar formality; and

(b)

simplification of other formalities.

Without prejudice to the first subparagraph, this Regulation shall not prevent a person from using other systems applicable in a Member State concerning legalisation or similar formality.

2.   This Regulation also establishes multilingual standard forms to be used as a translation aid attached to public documents concerning birth, a person being alive, death, marriage (including capacity to marry and marital status), registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status), domicile and/or residence and absence of a criminal record.

Article 2

Scope

1.   This Regulation applies to public documents issued by the authorities of a Member State in accordance with its national law which have to be presented to the authorities of another Member State and the primary purpose of which is to establish one or more of the following facts:

(a)

birth;

(b)

a person being alive;

(c)

death;

(d)

name;

(e)

marriage, including capacity to marry and marital status;

(f)

divorce, legal separation or marriage annulment;

(g)

registered partnership, including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status;

(h)

dissolution of a registered partnership, legal separation or annulment of a registered partnership;

(i)

parenthood;

(j)

adoption;

(k)

domicile and/or residence;

(l)

nationality;

(m)

absence of a criminal record, provided that public documents concerning this fact are issued for a citizen of the Union by the authorities of that citizen's Member State of nationality.

2.   This Regulation also applies to public documents the presentation of which may be required of citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals when those citizens wish to vote or stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament or in municipal elections in their Member State of residence, under the conditions laid down in Directive 93/109/EC and Council Directive 94/80/EC (11) respectively.

3.   This Regulation does not apply to:

(a)

public documents issued by the authorities of a third country; or

(b)

certified copies of documents referred to in point (a) made by the authorities of a Member State.

4.   This Regulation does not apply to the recognition in a Member State of legal effects relating to the content of public documents issued by the authorities of another Member State.

Article 3

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation:

(1)

‘public documents’ means:

(a)

documents emanating from an authority or an official connected with the courts or tribunals of a Member State, including those emanating from a public prosecutor, a clerk of a court or a judicial officer (‘huissier de justice’);

(b)

administrative documents;

(c)

notarial acts;

(d)

official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official and notarial authentications of signatures;

(e)

documents drawn up by the diplomatic or consular agents of a Member State acting in the territory of any State in their official capacity, where such documents have to be presented in the territory of another Member State or to the diplomatic or consular agents of another Member State acting in the territory of a third State;

(2)

‘authority’ means a public authority of a Member State, or an entity acting in an official capacity and authorised under national law to issue or receive a public document covered by this Regulation or a certified copy thereof;

(3)

‘legalisation’ means the formality for certifying the authenticity of a public office holder's signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted and, where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which it bears;

(4)

‘similar formality’ means the addition of the certificate provided for by the Apostille Convention;

(5)

‘other formalities’ means the requirement to provide certified copies and translations of public documents;

(6)

‘central authority’ means the authority or authorities which has or have been designated in accordance with Article 15 by the Member States to fulfil functions relating to the application of this Regulation;

(7)

‘certified copy’ means a copy of an original public document which is signed and attested to be an accurate and complete reproduction of that original public document by an authority, empowered to do so under national law and of the same Member State that originally issued the public document.

CHAPTER II

EXEMPTION FROM LEGALISATION AND SIMILAR FORMALITY, AND SIMPLIFICATION OF OTHER FORMALITIES RELATING TO CERTIFIED COPIES

Article 4

Exemption from legalisation and similar formality

Public documents covered by this Regulation and their certified copies shall be exempt from all forms of legalisation and similar formality.

Article 5

Simplification of other formalities relating to certified copies

1.   Where a Member State requires the presentation of the original of a public document issued by the authorities of another Member State, the authorities of the Member State where the public document is presented shall not also require the presentation of a certified copy thereof.

2.   Where a Member State permits the presentation of a certified copy of a public document, the authorities of that Member State shall accept a certified copy made in another Member State.

CHAPTER III

SIMPLIFICATION OF OTHER FORMALITIES RELATING TO TRANSLATIONS AND MULTILINGUAL STANDARD FORMS

Article 6

Simplification of other formalities relating to translations

1.   A translation shall not be required where:

(a)

the public document is in the official language of the Member State where the document is presented or, if that Member State has several official languages, in the official language or one of the official languages of the place where the document is presented or in any other language that that Member State has expressly accepted; or

(b)

a public document concerning birth, a person being alive, death, marriage (including capacity to marry and marital status), registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status), domicile and/or residence, or absence of a criminal record, is accompanied, in accordance with the conditions set out in this Regulation, by a multilingual standard form, provided that the authority to which the public document is presented considers that the information included in the multilingual standard form is sufficient for processing the public document.

2.   A certified translation carried out by a person qualified to do so under the law of a Member State shall be accepted in all Member States.

Article 7

Multilingual standard forms

1.   Public documents concerning birth, a person being alive, death, marriage (including capacity to marry and marital status), registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status), domicile and/or residence and absence of a criminal record, communicated by the Member States in accordance with point (c) of Article 24(1), shall, upon request by the person entitled to receive the public document, be accompanied by a multilingual standard form established in accordance with this Regulation.

2.   The multilingual standard forms referred to in paragraph 1 shall be issued by an authority and shall bear their date of issue as well as the signature and, where applicable, the seal or stamp of the issuing authority.

Article 8

Use of multilingual standard forms

1.   The multilingual standard forms referred to in Article 7(1) shall be attached to the public documents referred to in that paragraph, shall be used as a translation aid and shall have no autonomous legal value.

2.   The multilingual standard forms shall not constitute any of the following:

(a)

extracts from civil status records;

(b)

verbatim copies of civil status records;

(c)

multilingual extracts from civil status records;

(d)

multilingual and coded extracts from civil status records; or

(e)

multilingual and coded civil status certificates.

3.   The multilingual standard forms may only be used in a Member State other than the Member State where they were issued.

Article 9

Content of multilingual standard forms

1.   Each multilingual standard form shall contain a standard part, consisting of the following elements:

(a)

the title of the multilingual standard form;

(b)

the legal basis for the issuance of the multilingual standard form;

(c)

a reference to the Member State where the multilingual standard form is issued;

(d)

an ‘Important Notice’ box;

(e)

a ‘Note for the issuing authority’ box;

(f)

a number of standard entry headings and their code numbers; and

(g)

a ‘Signature box’.

2.   The standard parts to be included in the multilingual standard forms relating to birth, a person being alive, death, marriage (including capacity to marry and marital status), registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status), domicile and/or residence and absence of a criminal record, as well as multilingual glossaries of the standard entry headings, are set out in Annexes I to XI, respectively.

3.   Each multilingual standard form shall also contain, where applicable, a non-standard part consisting of country-specific entry headings designed to reflect the content of the public document to which the multilingual standard form is to be attached, and the code numbers of those entry headings.

4.   The country-specific entry headings referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article shall be communicated by the Member States to the Commission in accordance with Article 24(2).

5.   Each multilingual standard form shall also include a multilingual glossary of both the standard entry headings and the country-specific entry headings in all the official languages of the institutions of the Union.

Article 10

Languages of issuance of multilingual standard forms

1.   The multilingual standard forms shall be filled in by the issuing authority in the official language of its Member State or, if that Member State has several official languages, in the official language or one of the official languages of the place where the multilingual standard form is issued.

2.   The standard part and the country-specific entry headings of the multilingual standard forms shall be in both of the following languages:

(a)

the official language of the Member State in which the multilingual standard form is issued or, if that Member State has several official languages, the official language or one of the official languages of the place where the multilingual standard form is issued, that language being also one of the official languages of the institutions of the Union; and

(b)

the official language of the Member State in which the public document to which the multilingual standard form is attached is to be presented or, if that Member State has several official languages, the official language or one of the official languages of the place where the public document to which the multilingual standard form is attached is to be presented, that language being also one of the official languages of the institutions of the Union.

3.   The standard part and the country-specific entry headings in the two languages referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article and the multilingual glossary referred to in Article 9(5) shall be included in a single multilingual standard form.

Article 11

Fee for obtaining a multilingual standard form

In order to further facilitate the free circulation of public documents within the Union, Member States shall ensure that the fee for obtaining a multilingual standard form does not exceed the production cost of the multilingual standard form or of the public document to which the form is attached, whichever is lower.

Article 12

Electronic versions of multilingual standard forms

The European e-Justice Portal shall contain, for each Member State, model multilingual standard forms relating to birth, a person being alive, death, marriage (including capacity to marry and marital status) and, where applicable, registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status), domicile and/or residence and absence of a criminal record, established in accordance with this Regulation in all the official languages of the institutions of the Union and which include:

(a)

the standard parts set out in Annexes I to XI; and

(b)

the country-specific entry headings communicated by the Member States to the Commission in accordance with Article 24(2).

CHAPTER IV

REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION AND ADMINISTRATIVE COOPERATION

Article 13

Internal Market Information System

The Internal Market Information System (‘IMI’) established by Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 shall be used for the purposes of Articles 14 and 16 and Article 22 (1) and (2) of this Regulation.

Article 14

Requests for information in cases of reasonable doubt

1.   Where the authorities of a Member State in which a public document or its certified copy is presented have a reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of that public document or its certified copy, they shall take the following steps to dispel their doubt:

(a)

check the available models of documents in the repository of IMI as referred to in Article 22;

(b)

if a doubt remains, submit a request for information through IMI:

(i)

to the authority that issued the public document or, where applicable, to the authority that made the certified copy, or to both; or

(ii)

to the relevant central authority.

2.   A reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of a public document or its certified copy as referred to in paragraph 1 may relate, in particular, to:

(a)

the authenticity of the signature;

(b)

the capacity in which the person signing the document acted;

(c)

the identity of the seal or stamp;

(d)

the document having been forged or tampered with.

3.   Requests for information made under this Article shall set out the grounds on which they are based.

4.   Requests for information made under this Article shall be accompanied by a copy of the public document concerned or of its certified copy, transmitted electronically by means of IMI. Such requests and any replies to those requests shall not be subject to any tax, duty or charge.

5.   The authorities shall reply to requests for information made under this Article within the shortest possible period of time and in any case within a period not exceeding 5 working days or 10 working days where the request is processed through a central authority.

In exceptional cases where the time limits referred to in the first subparagraph cannot be adhered to, the requested authority and the requesting authority shall agree upon an extension of the time limit.

6.   If the authenticity of the public document or of its certified copy is not confirmed, the requesting authority shall not be obliged to process them.

Article 15

Designation of central authorities

1.   For the purposes of this Regulation, each Member State shall designate at least one central authority.

2.   Where a Member State has designated more than one central authority, it shall designate the central authority to which communications may be addressed for transmission to the appropriate authority within that Member State.

Article 16

Functions of central authorities

Central authorities shall provide assistance in relation to requests for information pursuant to Article 14, and, in particular, shall:

(a)

transmit, receive and, where necessary, answer such requests; and

(b)

supply the information necessary in respect of those requests.

CHAPTER V

RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER PROVISIONS OF UNION LAW AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS

Article 17

Relationship with other provisions of Union law

1.   This Regulation is without prejudice to the application of other provisions of Union law on legalisation, similar formality, or other formalities, and shall be complementary to such provisions.

2.   This Regulation is without prejudice to the application of Union law on electronic signatures and electronic identification.

3.   This Regulation is without prejudice to the use of other systems of administrative cooperation established by Union law which provide for exchange of information between the Member States in specific areas.

Article 18

Amendment to Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012

In the Annex to Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012, the following point is added:

‘9.

Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 on promoting the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for presenting certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 (*): Articles 14 and 16 and Article 22(1) and (2).

Article 19

Relationship with international conventions, agreements and arrangements

1.   This Regulation is without prejudice to the application of international conventions to which one or more Member States are party at the time of adoption of this Regulation and which concern matters covered by this Regulation.

2.   Notwithstanding paragraph 1, this Regulation shall, in relation to matters to which it applies and to the extent provided for therein, prevail over other provisions contained in bilateral or multilateral agreements or arrangements concluded by the Member States in the relations between the Member States party thereto.

3.   This Article is without prejudice to the second subparagraph of Article 1(1).

4.   This Regulation shall not preclude Member States from negotiating, concluding, acceding to, amending or applying international agreements and arrangements with third countries concerning legalisation or similar formality in respect of public documents concerning matters covered by this Regulation, and issued by the authorities of Member States or third countries in order to be used in relations between the Member States and the third countries concerned. This Regulation shall not preclude Member States from deciding on the acceptance of the accession of new contracting parties to such agreements and arrangements to which one or more Member States is or may decide to become party.

CHAPTER VI

GENERAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 20

Purpose limitation

1.   The exchange and transmission of information and documents by the Member States pursuant to this Regulation shall serve the sole purpose of verifying the authenticity of public documents by the competent authorities through IMI.

2.   This Regulation is without prejudice to the application of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States regarding public access to public documents.

Article 21

Information in relation to the content of this Regulation

The Commission and the Member States shall make information in relation to the content of this Regulation available through appropriate means, including through the European e-Justice Portal and the websites of Member States' authorities.

Article 22

Information on central authorities and contact details

1.   By 16 August 2018, the Member States shall use IMI to communicate the following:

(a)

the central authority or authorities designated pursuant to Article 15(1) together with their contact details and, where relevant, the authority designated pursuant to Article 15(2);

(b)

models for the most commonly used public documents under their respective national law or, where no model exists, information about the specific features of the public document concerned; and

(c)

anonymised versions of forged documents which have been detected.

2.   The Member States shall use IMI to communicate any subsequent changes to the information referred to in paragraph 1.

3.   The Commission shall make publicly available through any appropriate means:

(a)

the information referred to in point (a) of paragraph 1;

(b)

any information referred to in point (b) of paragraph 1 which is publicly available under the law of the Member State whose authorities issued the public document.

Article 23

Exchange of best practice

1.   An ad hoc committee composed of representatives of the Commission and the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission shall be established.

2.   The ad hoc committee referred to in paragraph 1 shall take any measures necessary to facilitate the application of this Regulation, in particular by facilitating the exchange and regular updating of best practice concerning:

(a)

the application of this Regulation between the Member States;

(b)

the prevention of fraud involving public documents, certified copies and certified translations;

(c)

the use of electronic versions of public documents;

(d)

the use of multilingual standard forms;

(e)

detected forged documents.

Article 24

Information to be communicated by Member States

1.   By 16 August 2018, the Member States shall communicate to the Commission:

(a)

the languages they will accept for the public documents to be presented to their authorities pursuant to point (a) of Article 6(1);

(b)

an indicative list of public documents falling within the scope of this Regulation;

(c)

the list of public documents to which multilingual standard forms may be attached as a suitable translation aid;

(d)

the lists of persons qualified, in accordance with national law, to carry out certified translations, where such lists exist;

(e)

an indicative list of types of authorities empowered by national law to make certified copies;

(f)

information relating to the means by which certified translations and certified copies can be identified; and

(g)

information about the specific features of certified copies.

2.   By 16 February 2017, each Member State shall communicate to the Commission, in its official language or languages, that language or those languages being also an official language or official languages of the institutions of the Union, the country-specific entry headings to be included in the multilingual forms relating to birth, a person being alive, death, marriage (including capacity to marry and marital status) and, where applicable, registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status), domicile and/or residence and absence of a criminal record.

3.   By 16 February 2018, the Commission shall publish the lists of country-specific entry headings received pursuant to paragraph 2 in the Official Journal of the European Union and in the European e-Justice Portal in all the official languages of the institutions of the Union.

4.   The Member States shall communicate to the Commission any subsequent changes to the information referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2.

5.   The Commission shall make publicly available through the European e-Justice Portal:

(a)

the information referred to in points (a) to (f) of paragraph 1; and

(b)

the information referred to in point (g) of paragraph 1 which is publicly available under the law of the Member State whose authorities made the certified copy.

Article 25

Amendment of country-specific entry headings in the multilingual standard forms

1.   The Member States shall notify the Commission of any amendments to the country-specific entry headings referred to in Article 24(2).

2.   The Commission shall publish amendments, as referred to in paragraph 1, to the country-specific entry headings in the Official Journal of the European Union.

3.   The Commission shall make amendments, as referred to in paragraph 1, to the country-specific entry headings publicly available through the European e-Justice Portal and shall amend the model multilingual standard forms for each Member State accordingly.

Article 26

Review

1.   By 16 February 2024, and at the latest every three years thereafter, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee a report on the application of this Regulation, including an evaluation of any practical experience relevant to cooperation between central authorities. That report shall also contain an assessment of the appropriateness of:

(a)

the extension of the scope of this Regulation to public documents relating to matters other than those referred to in Article 2 and in point (a) of paragraph 2 of this Article;

(b)

in the event of an extension of the scope as referred to in point (a) of this paragraph, the establishment of multilingual standard forms for public documents relating to the matters identified under point (a) of this paragraph to which the scope of this Regulation may be extended; and

(c)

the use of electronic systems for the direct transmission of public documents and the exchange of information between the authorities of the Member States in order to exclude any possibility of fraud in relation to the matters covered by this Regulation.

2.   By 16 February 2021, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee, an assessment report on the appropriateness of:

(a)

the extension of the scope of this Regulation to:

(i)

public documents relating to the legal status and representation of a company or other undertaking;

(ii)

diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications; and

(iii)

public documents attesting an officially recognised disability;

(b)

the establishment of multilingual standard forms relating to:

(i)

public documents referred to in Article 2(1) for which multilingual standard forms are not established by this Regulation; and

(ii)

public documents relating to the matters identified under point (a) of this paragraph to which the scope of this Regulation may be extended;

(c)

the use of electronic systems for the direct transmission of public documents and the exchange of information between the authorities of the Member States in order to exclude any possibility of fraud in relation to the matters covered by this Regulation.

3.   The reports referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be accompanied, where appropriate, by proposals for adaptations, in particular as regards the extension of the scope of this Regulation to public documents relating to new matters as referred to in point (a) of paragraph 1 and point (a) of paragraph 2, the establishment of new multilingual standard forms, as referred to in point (b) of paragraph 1 and point (b) of paragraph 2 and the use of electronic systems for the direct transmission of public documents and the exchange of information between the authorities of the Member States as referred to in point (c) of paragraph 1 and point (c) of paragraph 2.

Article 27

Entry into force

1.   This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

2.   It shall apply from 16 February 2019, with the exception of:

(a)

Article 24(2) which shall apply from 16 February 2017;

(b)

Article 12 and Article 24(3) which shall apply from 16 February 2018; and

(c)

Article 22 and Article 24(1), which shall apply from 16 August 2018.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at Strasbourg, 6 July 2016.

For the European Parliament

The President

M. SCHULZ

For the Council

The President

I. KORČOK


(1)  OJ C 327, 12.11.2013, p. 52.

(2)  Position of the European Parliament of 4 February 2014 (not yet published in the Official Journal) and position of the Council at first reading of 10 March 2016 (not yet published in the Official Journal). Position of the European Parliament of 10 May 2016.

(3)  Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System and repealing Commission Decision 2008/49/EC (‘the IMI Regulation’) (OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, p. 1).

(4)  Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31).

(5)  Regulation (EEC, Euratom) No 1182/71 of the Council of 3 June 1971 determining the rules applicable to periods, dates and time limits (OJ L 124, 8.6.1971, p. 1).

(6)  Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000 (OJ L 338, 23.12.2003, p. 1).

(7)  Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications (OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 22).

(8)  Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36).

(9)  Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems (OJ L 284, 30.10.2009, p. 1).

(10)  Council Directive 93/109/EC of 6 December 1993 laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals (OJ L 329, 30.12.1993, p. 34).

(11)  Council Directive 94/80/EC of 19 December 1994 laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections by citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals (OJ L 368, 31.12.1994, p. 38).


ANNEX I

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ANNEX II

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ANNEX III

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ANNEX IV

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ANNEX V

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ANNEX VI

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ANNEX VII

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ANNEX VIII

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ANNEX IX

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ANNEX X

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ANNEX XI

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