10th June 2016

New rules for public documents voted by MEPs

The European Parliament, sitting in plenary in Strasbourg, adopted on 9 June new rules concerning recognition of certain types of public documents issued in another member state. The adopted text was a compromise reached with the Council. It was adopted in second reading and it will enter into force once it is published in the Official Journal. However, its provisions come into effect gradually, in several steps.

When presenting public documents certifying birth, marriage, residence, parenthood or absence of criminal records in another member state, EU citizens will no longer be obliged to go through the legalization process, or pay for the apostille. These formalities are time-consuming and expensive and will be fully abolished for civil status documents (concerning birth, being alive, death, marriage, registered partnership, parenthood and adoption, absence of criminal records). To avoid any risk of counterfeiting, member states will share with each other the forms that such documents can take. In case of majority of the document types, citizens will be able to ask for a multilingual standardized form to be attached to the document. This form will be substitute for certified translation – another costly formality required nowadays. MEPs originally pushed for greater scope of the new regulation, they wanted it to cover also education documents. The EC proposed to cover also some business-related documents (legal representation of a company). However, member states were not willing to go that far at this point. There is a review clause to allow for it in 2 and a half years. What made it into the regulation are, on the other hand, all documents required for voting and standing in EP and municipal elections in other member state.

The new regulation does not force member states to recognize the content of the documents covered by it – e.g. if a state does not recognize same-sex marriages or registered partnership, the simplified administrative procedure does not force it to recognize the existence of such institutes. For more, click here, here and here.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic