In a previous article, we discussed plans to replace the apostille within the EU for certain public documents. The legislation for this has been finalised and the changes are expected to be implemented on the 16th of February 2019.
Once these changes are in effect, certain public documents will no longer need the apostille or an official translation. In place of an official translation, individuals can request a multilingual standard form which is attached to the document in question. Once a public document has been attached to this accompanying form the document should be recognised throughout the EU.
What Does This Mean?
The objective behind the planned changes is to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy when presenting public documents within other European Union countries.*
Abolishing the requirement of the apostille for certain public documents should, in theory, reduce the administrative cost and burden for EU nationals presenting their documents throughout the Union.
Many documents will be unaffected by the planned changes and public documents being presented outside of the EU will still require the apostille. In these cases, it is business as usual with respect to the current legalisation procedures.
* The regulations will also apply to the following territories: Azores, the Canary Islands, French Guiana, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Madeira, Martinique, Mayotte, Réunion and Saint Martin.
Which Documents Will This Affect?
The latest guidance from the European Commission states that the new regulations will apply to the documents relating to the following:
- a person being alive
- 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
- 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.
Whether or not these changes will have the desired effect remains to be seen. It may be argued that this is simply replacing one bureaucratic formality with another.
Early indications suggest that these changes will still remain effective in the UK following our expected departure from the European Union. Nevertheless, the vast majority of documents will be unaffected by the new regulations and will often still require the apostille. Our site will be updated as and when new information comes to light. If you would like further guidance on this please contact us.