On 16th February the Regulation on the recognition of public documents between member countries of the European Union adopted on 6th July 2016 (EU 2016/1191) came into force.
The new regulation simplifies the bureaucratic procedures relating to the requirements for the presentation of certain public documents, which will make the free movement of persons between member countries considerably easier.
How does this affect certified translations?
Facing bureaucratic processes is usually a generator of an almost instantaneous migraine, especially when it comes to official procedures and presentation of relevant documents in other countries, which traditionally involves a sworn translation of them and their consequent certification of authenticity.
This new regulation was created in order to make the whole procedure much easier for those who must submit official documents (study certificates, academic records, residence permits, birth and death certificates, wills, etc.) in any other member country of the European Union.
The main measures affecting the work of sworn translators include
Validity of sworn translations on a mandatory and general basis in all Member States: A sworn translation made by a duly accredited person will be accepted in all Member States. This puts all translations on an equal footing within the European Union, which will a priori make it easier to deal with reverse translations.
Removal of the apostille: in accordance with the principle of mutual trust, a Member State is henceforth obliged to accept any type of public document and/or its certified copies issued by the authority of another Member State.
However, this does not mean that this stamp of authenticity will no longer be valid, nor does it prevent those citizens who wish to apply for it from continuing to do so.
National identity cards and passports are exempt, and are no longer subject to legalisation or similar formality when presented in another Member State.
Creation of multilingual standard forms: these forms are intended to eliminate language barriers and facilitate the translation of public documents relating to birth, death, marriage, registered partnership, domicile or residence, and the absence of a criminal record.
Multilingual forms are not stand-alone and do not function as literal extracts or copies of official documents, so they must always be attached.
The purpose of this measure is to eliminate, as far as possible, the need to submit a certified translation of certain public documents.
Abolition of the obligation to present the original document together with the certified copy: the receiving Member State must accept a certified copy of the public document issued by the authorities of another Member State, without the need for it to be accompanied by the original.
Electronic integration of documentation: It should be possible to integrate the electronic version of a standard multilingual form of the European e-Justice Portal into a different site, accessible at national level, and to issue it from that other site.
Establishment of an Internal Market Information System (IMI): This cooperative IT platform will make it possible to speed up the exchange of information between Member States and to facilitate verification of information in the event of obvious doubts as to its authenticity.
What documents are included in the new regulation?
The measure affects all public documents issued by the authorities of a Member State within its own law, which are required by another Member State. Thus, all documents whose main purpose is to establish one of the following facts will be included:
That a person is alive.
Marriage, including capacity to marry and marital status
Divorce, legal separation, and annulment of marriage.
Registered partnership, including capacity to register as a member of a partnership and membership in a registered partnership
Cancellation of the registration of a common-law relationship, judicial separation or annulment of a registered common-law relationship
Domicile or residence
Absence of a criminal record, provided that the relevant public documents are issued to a European Union citizen by the authorities of the Member State of which he or she is a national.
It remains to be seen how these measures will be applied and how effective they will be in ensuring the validity of the documentation and the effective completion of the formalities. For the time being, although these new measures imply a reduction in the workload of sworn translators, they also have an important counterpart in that they equate translations within the European Union regardless of their origin.
If you have any doubts or would like more information about this new legislation, or about our sworn translation services and working procedures, please do not hesitate to leave your comments, or contact us using our form. As ever, thanks for reading.