Apostille and document exchange between EU countries

Adoption of new rules for documents acceptance by EU countries authorities

In accordance with the Decision dated June 09, 2016, the European Parliament has adopted the regulation, proposed by the Commission, to cut expenses and formalities for citizens who need to present an official document in another EU country.

Before, citizens moving to or living in another EU country had to obtain an Apostille to show that their public documents (such as a birth, marriage or death certificate) are authentic. Under the new regulation, certification by obtaining Apostille stamp and the administrative procedures linked to it will no longer be mandatory when presenting public documents issued in one EU country to the authorities of another EU country.

The regulation deals only with the authenticity of public documents, so the Member States will continue to apply their national rules concerning the recognition of the content and effects of a public document issued in another Union country.

Apostile in EU countriesThe new regulation will put an end to a number of document legalization procedures:

  • public documents (for example, vital records or the absence of a criminal background check) issued in a EU country must be accepted as authentic in another Member State without the necessity to carry an apostille, verifying the authenticity of the document
  • The regulation also brings to an end the requirement for citizens to provide in all cases a certified copy and a certified translation of their public documents. Citizens can also use a multilingual standard form, available in all EU languages, to present as translation aid enclosed in their public document to avoid translation;
  • The regulation sets safeguards against fraud: if a receiving authority has reasonable doubts about the authenticity of a public document, it will be able to check its authenticity with the issuing authority in the other country through the existing IT platform, the Internal Market Information System or IMI.

Next steps: Member States have two years and a half from the date of entry into force of the regulation to adopt all necessary measures to allow for the smooth application of the regulation at the end of this period.

Basis for new Regulation:

Up to 13 million EU citizens reside in another EU country than their own. According to a Eurobarometer survey, 73% of EU citizens are confident that measures should be taken to improve the circulation of public documents between EU countries. Citizens repeatedly complain about the “red tape” and costs that they need to cover in order to have a public document issued in one Union State considered as authentic in another Union country. These time-consuming formalities are excessive and unnecessary and impair the enjoyment by citizens of their rights under the Treaties.

Public documents covered by the Regulation:

Birth, death, marriage certificate along with the person being alive certificate/affidavit; name change certificate; certificates verifying the capacity to marry and marital status; divorce, legal separation or marriage annulment judgments or certificates; 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 acknowledgment; adoption; domicile and/or residence confirmation; proof of nationality; criminal record and background check; the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament.

Documents exchange between EU States and the USA

The Regulation does not apply to public documents issued by the authorities of non-EU countries. The regulation regarding public documents exchange between the USA and EU countries remains in legal force. Any document issued in the USA and meant for use in a country of the European Union shall be authenticated by apostille. It is because the Authorities in European countries need proof that U.S. documents or the signatures of USA officials on documents are genuine before they will accept them.

In addition, in spite the English language is one of the official languages of the EU, most of the Member States required documents translation into the language of the destination EU country. The translation shall be certified, notarized and legalized on state level.

If you have additional questions or want o find out more about  Apostille and documents legalization process, feel free to contact Apoling’s specialists who are always there to assist you with the matter.

Posted in: Apostille and Legalization, Apostille for Countries

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