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recognition of public documents

Since February 2019, there’s a new Regulation 2016/1191 of the Council and European Parliament in effect that pertains to the recognition of foreign public documents within the EU.

Up until now, whenever someone wanted to use a public document from one EU country in another one, they had to have the document legalised. If both countries were part of the Treaty of The Hague from 1961, then this had to be done by getting the document furnished with the Apostille of The Hague. This came with additional costs and administrative steps.

Public documents concerned are such as:

  • Marriage certificates,
  • criminal records,
  • and other diplomatic and consular documents,
  • notarial deeds,
  • judicial documents,
  • and official certificates on a private document.

Now, the new regulation remedies this situation and provides for the simple solution of EU countries recognising public documents from other member states without the need for any legalisation procedures.

For example, a married couple doesn’t need to apostille their marriage certificate issued in Italy in order to present it to the administration in Spain. In the same way, people do not have to show the original of the public document and its certified copy.

Furthermore, a sworn translation is no longer necessary for a public document. The interested parties will be provided with multilingual forms, which come in all the languages of the EU.

First and foremost, the following aspects include the documents concerning:

  • Nationality
  • Address or Residence
  • Name
  • Divorce, legal separation or annulment of marriage
  • The absence of criminal records
  • Birth
  • Filiation
  • The fact that a person is alive
  • Death
  • Marriage or De Facto Union
  • Adoption
  • The right to active and passive suffrage in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament.

Finally, if you are interested in moving to Spain, learn how to obtain a NIE number.

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