Acceptance procedure for public documents is simplified in EU countries
The EU Regulation on simplifying the requirements for presenting certain public documents will become applicable on 16 February 2019. The Regulation aims to reduce formalities and costs related to the acceptance of documents such as marriage and birth certificates.
The reform means that certain public documents issued by the authorities of an EU country must be accepted by the authorities of another EU country without requiring that a so-called apostille be attached to the document. The purpose of an apostille is to certify the authenticity of a document.
The Regulation covers public documents issued by the authorities of EU Member States, the primary purpose of which is to establish birth, death, name, marriage, registered partnership, parenthood, adoption, residence or citizenship, for example. The Regulation also covers criminal record extracts issued for the purpose of attesting that a person does not have a criminal record. Documents obtained before the reform must also be accepted without any formalities in future.
The Member States will also take into use multilingual standard forms that will reduce the need for translation. In Finland, the local register offices will, upon request, attach a multilingual standard form to extracts provided from the Population Information System. Similarly, the Legal Register Centre will attach the form to criminal record extracts.
Each EU Member State has a designated central authority that will be responsible for answering to requests for information submitted by another Member State in cases where a need to confirm the authenticity of a given document arises. In Finland, the central authority is the Population Register Centre.