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Summaries of EU Legislation

Simplifying the circulation of certain public documents within the EU

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Simplifying the circulation of certain public documents within the EU

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 on promoting the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for presenting certain public documents in the EU

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?

  • It aims to reduce red tape and costs for citizens when they present to the authorities of one European Union country a public document issued by the authorities of another EU country.
  • It abolishes the apostille requirement (see section below) and simplifies formalities with regard to certified copies and translations.

KEY POINTS

Scope

  • The regulation covers public documents including administrative documents, notarial acts, judgments and consular documents in certain areas.
  • The areas covered by the regulation are as follows:
    • birth;
    • 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, including adoption;
    • domicile and/or residence;
    • nationality;
    • absence of a criminal record;
    • the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament.
  • The regulation covers only the authenticity of the public document and not the recognition of its contents or effects.

Abolition of the apostille requirement

In the areas covered by the regulation, when a citizen presents to the authorities of an EU country a public document issued by the authorities of another EU country, the receiving authorities cannot require that the document bear an apostille stamp (the apostille stamp is designed to prove the authenticity of a public document issued in a foreign country).

Certified copies

  • EU countries can require the presentation of the original public document or of its certified copy, but not both at the same time.
  • If an EU country accepts the presentation of a certified copy in place of the original document, it must accept a certified copy made in another EU country.

Translations

The EU country where the public document is presented cannot require a translation if the public document is in one of the EU country’s official languages or in a non-official language that the EU country can accept.

Furthermore, translation cannot be required where the public document is accompanied by a multilingual standard form. This is provided that the authority to which the public document is presented considers that the information included in the form is sufficient for processing the document.

Multilingual standard forms

  • The regulation introduces optional multilingual standard forms in all EU languages.
  • The forms can be presented by citizens in another EU country as translation aids attached to their public document to avoid translation requirements.
  • If the public document presented is accompanied by a multilingual standard form, the receiving EU country can only require a translation of the document in exceptional circumstances.
  • If such exceptional circumstances exist and the receiving EU country requires a certified translation, it must accept a certified translation done in another EU country.
  • Multilingual standard forms as translation aids of public documents are available for 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;
    • absence of a criminal record.

Fraudulent documents

  • The regulation establishes a mechanism of cooperation between the authorities of EU countries to fight against fraudulent public documents. The cooperation mechanism is based on an existing IT system (the Internal Market Information System).
  • The cooperation mechanism allows the authorities of the receiving EU country to talk to the authorities of the issuing EU country if they have a serious doubt about the authenticity of a public document presented by a citizen.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It applies from 16 February 2019 with the exception of:

  • Article 24(2) (information to be communicated by EU countries on country-specific headings to be included in the multilingual standard forms) which applies from 16 February 2017;
  • Articles 12 and 24(3) (availability of country-specific headings on the European e-Justice Portal) which apply from 16 February 2018; and
  • Articles 22 and 24(1) (information to be communicated by EU countries to the European Commission) which apply from 16 August 2018.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

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 (OJ L 200, 26.7.2016, pp. 1-136)

last update 12.01.2017

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