Around 17 million EU citizens live in an EU country other than their own. Citizens often need to present a public document (that is, a document issued by a public authority) to the authorities of the EU country where they live. Such public documents can be, for example, a birth certificate to get married, or a certificate on the absence of a criminal record to get a job.
Presenting a public document to the authorities of another Member State can be costly and time-consuming. Citizens need to get an apostille stamp to prove that their public document is authentic and may need to present a certified copy or a translation of their public document.
An EU Regulation Regulation 2016/1191, which applies from 16 February 2019, aims at cutting red tape and costs for citizens when they need to present in an EU country a public document issued in another EU country. The Regulation applies for certain public documents, for example on birth, name, marriage, registered partnership, domicile or the absence of a criminal record.
The Regulation abolishes the apostille requirement for those public documents and simplifies formalities concerning their certified copies and translations. Under the Regulation, citizens can ask for a multilingual standard form from the authorities of the EU country where the public document was issued to avoid having to provide a translation of the public document in all cases.
The Regulation does not deal with the recognition in one EU country of the legal effects of a public document issued in another EU country (for example, a marriage certificate). The recognition of such legal effects depends on the national law of the EU country where the public document is presented.
For more information on this Regulation, visit the European e-Justice Portal: https://beta.e-justice.europa.eu/551/EN/public_documents