Abolishment of legalisation for foreign public documents and the introduction of multilingual translation aids within the EU as of the 16th of February 2019

On the 16th of February, the European regulation EU 2016/1191, the so-called Public Documents regulation, took effect with the purpose of to facilitate the free movement citizens by simplifying the administrative formalities between the EU Member States and avoiding translations.

The Regulation abolishes the legalization or Apostille on all public documents and their certified copies issued by the authorities of one Member State (originating from courts and tribunals, government administrations, notaries and diplomatic or consular authorities) and which are intended for the authorities of a another Member State, if they establish one of the following facts:

  • birth
  • a person being alive
  • death
  • name
  • marriage and capacity to marry and marital status
  • divorce, legal separation and marriage annulment
  • registered partnership and capacity to enter into a registered partnership and the

status of registered partnership

  • the dissolution of a registered partnership, legal separation or annulment of a

registered partnership

  • parenthood and adoption
  • domicile and/or residence
  • nationality
  • absence of criminal record
  • exercising an active and passive right to vote as an EU citizen who resides in a

Member State of which they are not nationals.

For the facts in bold, European multilingual forms are introduced that apply as translation aids and are attached to the original public document. They can never circulate as autonomous documents between Member States and only serve to facilitate the translation and to ensure, as far as possible, that the public documents do not have to be translated. If the receiving authority requests a translation, a certified translation made in a Member State must be accepted in each Member State.

The translation aids are always drawn up in two languages: the language of the issuing authority and that of the receiving government. In addition, a glossary is added with the translation of each field in all official languages of the EU.

The multilingual forms are not all available in all Member States e.g. when a Member State does not have a registered partnership, no document nor translation aid will be available. An overview of all documents per Member State can be found in the public “repository” on the e-Justice Portal of the European Commission.

When a citizen requests a translation aid from his document, this must be delivered. It can be done via the e-Justice Portal. Each translation aid is available as an editable PDF (after filling in the country and language of the issuing authority and the language of the authority for which the document is intended). The pdf can then be completed and attached to the original document.

The multilingual forms for birth and marriage can also be filled in via a dynamic form. It is the intention that at the end of 2019 this will be possible for all translation aids on the website.

If the receiving authority has reasonable doubts as to the authenticity of a document covered by the Regulation (namely the authenticity of the signature, the quality of the person signing it, the identity of the seal or the stamp or the document being false or forged) the document must be compared with the models of documents made available through the public “repository” on the e-Justice Portal and through the Internal Market Informationsystem (IMI). If the doubt persists, an electronic request can be sent via IMI to the authorities of the Member State where the document was issued in order to assess its authenticity.

A final tip: if the citizen needs a birth, marriage or death certificate in a country that accepts the multilingual excerpts from the CIEC, the international extract of birth, marriage or death can still be drawn up and delivered. The CIEC extracts have the advantage that they are familiar, shorter, have evidential value and do not need to be attached to the original.

More information about the Regulation: e-Justice Portal


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