SIMPLIFICATION OF BUREAUCRATIC PROCEDURES LINKED TO THE PUBLIC DOCUMENTS OF EXPATRIATES EU Citizens living or working outside their home country will benefit from simplified bureaucratic procedures and will no longer be required to provide a sworn/ official translation of their documents issued in one EU country to the authorities of another EU country following the entry into force of a new EU Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the 16th of February 2019 applicable in all EU member states.

In fact, the purpose of the EU Regulation’s provisions is to encourage the free movement of people by simplifying the formalities relating to some public documents (issued by a public authority or functionary of a member state, for instance, administrative documents, deeds, official declarations, etc.) across the EU.

According the European Commission’s press release, the new rules will benefit about 17 million EU citizen moving or working in another EU member state who, up until this point, have been required to obtain a stamp to prove that their public documents (such as birth, marriage or death certificate) are authentic. In addition, under these new rules, citizens are no longer required to provide a sworn/ official translation of their public documents in many situations.

SCOPE

The Regulation deals with public documents issued by the authorities of a member state, in compliance with the law applicable in that state and which must be provided to the authorities of another EU member state in the following areas:
  • birth or death certificates;
  • name, marriage, including the 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 registered partnership, legal separation or annulment of a registered partnership;
  • parenthood, adoption;
  • domicile and/ or residence;
  • nationality;
  • absence of a criminal record.
The Regulation also deals with public documents that EU foreign national citizens living in a member state are required to provide when they want to exercise their right to vote and stand candidate in elections to the European Parliament or in municipal elections in the member state they are living in.

To this end, the Regulation introduces multilingual standard forms to present as translation aid attached to their public documents relating to birth, 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, and absence of criminal record. The forms are to be found here.

Note that the Regulation does not apply neither for public documents issued by the authorities of third countries, nor for authenticated copies of documents issued by the authorities of third countries and certified by the authorities of a member state.

Moreover, the Regulation does not deal with recognition of the legal effects of the content of public documents issued by the authorities of another member state.

SIMPLER FORMALITIES

Thus, EU citizens will no longer be required to address Romanian embassies or consulates to register their civil status in order for the document to be recognized by Romanian authorities and produce legal effects.

The new rules put an end to a number of bureaucratic procedures such as :
  • public documents (concerning birth, death, marriage, absence of criminal record) issued by a EU member state must be accepted as authentic by the authorities of another EU country without the need of an authenticity stamp;
  • the obligation for citizens to provide a certified copy and a sworn translation of their public documents, and, in order to avoid having their documents translated, citizens can also require a multilingual standard form to present as translation aid which can be found in all EU languages here;
  • the regulation also introduces 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 EU country through an existing IT platform, the Internal Market System (“IMS”).
Note that public documents issued by the authorities of third countries are not covered by the scope of the Regulation herein.

Moreover, agreements and arrangements concerning the legalization of documents or similar formalities relating to matters contained in the Regulation herein issued by the authorities of EU member states or of third countries, and which are to be used in the relations between member states and the third countries concerned, cannot affect the application of the Regulation herein.