One of the fundamental principles of the European Union is the promotion of free movement for EU citizens. As a means to promote free movement, new regulations are expected to be implemented in February 2019. These regulations aim to simplify the process of presenting certain public documents throughout the European Union.
At present, many documents from one EU country that are being presented in another country will require the apostille certificate and, occasionally, a translation of the document. The planned changes will abolish the need for the apostille for certain documents. Furthermore, certified translations will be replaced by multilingual standard forms for certain public documents.
Which Documents Does This Apply To?
The process for legalising many documents will be unaffected by these changes. The changes in these regulations apply to documents that relate to the following:
- 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;
- absence of a criminal record;
- the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament.
Abolishing the Requirement for the Apostille
Documents relating to the subjects outlined above will no longer require the apostille when being presented within the European Union. These changes only apply to certain public documents.
Academic documents, for example, may still require the apostille when being presented in another EU country. Likewise, the process for legalising documents that are to be presented outside of the European Union remains the same.
How are Translations Affected?
Historically, authorities within the EU may have requested certified translations of certain documents from other countries. A UK birth certificate being presented in Spain, for example, would often need both the apostille and an accompanying Spanish translation.
This can be problematic as different countries have different translation systems. The UK has no formal translation system so the terms official or certified translations do not have the same meaning in this country as they may do in others.
The planned changes aim to abridge these inconsistencies via the implementation of a standard multilingual form. This can be attached to certain public documents as a translation aid by the competent authority in the country the document originates from.
The aim behind the changes is to promote free movement of EU citizens and reduce the administrative burden of doing so.
Early indications suggest that overseas authorities can still request the apostille after these changes have been implemented. It is likely this will be the case for most documents during the transitional period until this becomes the de facto standard relating to the circulation of public documents throughout the union.
Most documents are unaffected by these changes and the legalisation process will be the same as before for documents being presented outside of the European Union. For more information on this please contact us.