European Parliament approves rules to cut red tape on expats’ documents

The European Parliament adopted on June 10 a regulation, proposed by the European Commission, to cut costs and formalities for citizens who need to present a public document in another EU country.

About 13 million EU citizens live in another EU country than their own.

Currently, citizens moving to or living in another EU country must obtain a stamp to prove that their public documents (such as a birth, marriage or death certificate) are authentic.

Under the new regulation, this stamp and the bureaucratic procedures linked to it will no longer be required when presenting public documents issued in one EU country to the authorities of another EU country.

The regulation deals only with the authenticity of public documents, so EU countries will continue to apply their national rules concerning the recognition of the content and effects of a public document issued in another EU country.

“We have good news for people who move to another EU country for example to study or work,” said Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. “These citizens often need to go through costly and time-consuming bureaucratic procedures to present a public document to get married or obtain a job in the country they live in. Today, we put an end to this red tape and help people move easily across the European Union.”

The new regulation will put an end to a number of bureaucratic procedures.

Public documents (for example, birth, marriage or the absence of a criminal record) issued in an EU country must be accepted as authentic in another member state without the need to carry an authenticity stamp (i.e. the apostille).

The regulation also abolishes the obligation for citizens to provide in all cases a certified copy and a certified translation of their public documents. Citizens can also use a multilingual standard form, available in all EU languages, to present as translation aid attached to their public document to avoid translation requirements.

The regulation sets 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 country through the existing IT platform, the Internal Market Information System or IMI.

EU countries will have two years and a half from the date of entry into force of the regulation to adopt all necessary measures to allow for the smooth application of the regulation at the end of this period.

(Photo: Marcel Hol/



The Sofia Globe staff

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