The Regulation on Public Documents (Regulation 2016/1191), which was adopted on 6 July 2016 and applies in all EU countries as from 16 February 2019, simplifies the circulation of certain public documents.
Citizens living in an EU country other than their own often need to present a public document 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.
The Regulation on Public Documents (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.
Prior to the Regulation, citizens that needed to present a public document in another EU country had to obtain an authenticity stamp (the so-called apostille) to prove that their public document was authentic. Citizens were often also required to present a certified copy and a translation of their public document.
The Regulation puts an end to a number of bureaucratic procedures:
The Regulation also introduces safeguards against fraudulent public documents: if a receiving authority has a reasonable doubt about the authenticity of a public document presented to it, it will be able to check its authenticity with the issuing authority of the other EU country through an existing IT platform, the Internal Market Information System or IMI.
The Regulation deals with the authenticity of public documents but not with the recognition of their legal effects in another EU country. The recognition of the legal effects of a public document is still governed by the national law of the EU country where the citizen presents the document. However, in applying their national law, EU countries must respect European Union law, including the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, on the free movement of citizens within the European Union.
Public documents means documents issued by a public authority, such as:
The Regulation covers public documents issued in the following areas:
The multilingual standard forms to be attached as translation aids to public documents can be requested in the following areas:
Click here to see the multilingual standard forms issued by authorities in each EU country.
Click here to see the information provided by EU countries on the implementation of the Regulation, in particular:
Click here to see examples of public documents issued in each EU country.
Click here to see the list of the Central Authorities designated by each EU country, including their contact details. The list also identifies, in case of more than one Central Authority has been designated, which one of them is responsible for receiving communications from another country.
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