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Circulation of certain public
documents in the EU

As from 16 February 2019 a Regulation simplifying the circulation of certain public documents between EU countries will apply.

The Regulation aims at reducing red tape and costs for citizens when they need to present a public document issued by the authorities of an EU country to the authorities of another EU country. Under the Regulation, public documents (for example, a birth certificate or a marriage certificate) issued in an EU country must be accepted as authentic in another EU country without the need for such documents to bear an authentication stamp (the apostille). The public documents covered by the Regulation are, in particular, civil status (for example, birth, death, marriage, registered partnership, adoption), but also residence and the absence of a criminal record.

The Regulation also abolishes the obligation to, in all cases, provide certified translations of public documents issued in another EU country. The Regulation introduces optional multilingual, standard forms that can be attached to the public documents to avoid translation requirements. The optional multilingual standard forms are issued in connection with the issuance of the original public document and by specific request to the issuing authority only.

The Regulation does not govern the recognition in an EU country of the content or effects of a public document issued in another EU country. The recognition of such content or effects depends on the law of the receiving country.