Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Verifying EU Papers Will Go the Way of the Dodo

(CN) - EU citizens moving to other member states will soon cease jumping through hoops to verify their birth certificates and other documents, the European Commission said.

Currently, EU citizens planning to move to or work in another member state must first obtain an "Apostille" certificate for each of their public documents - birth certificates, marriage licenses, work permits - notarized by an official in their birth country. Regulators say the requirements cost citizens and businesses $430 million, not counting time and inconvenience.

Under the commission's new plan, citizens seeking to get married, obtain a residency card or register a business will no longer have to provide certified versions of 12 types of legal documents. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding applauded the new procedures Wednesday, saying the old requirements date from a different era and a different Europe.

"Every time you cross a border, you don't have to get your foreign office to confirm that your passport really is a passport - why should you have to do so for a birth certificate," Reding said in a statement. "When you move abroad, having to go through these costly formalities in order to establish that your birth certificate is indeed a birth certificate or simply to make use of a company certificate creates a bureaucratic headache. I have heard countless stories about the hassle involved in satisfying these incomprehensible requirements. Today, the commission is acting to simplify people's and companies' lives when they exercise their free movement rights in the EU."

The commission also proposed multilingual standardized forms for national public documents concerning birth, death, marriage, registered domestic partnerships, legal status and business registration. The forms will be available in all official EU languages, eliminating translation costs and concerns over inadequate translations on official documents.

EU lawmakers must adopt the commission's plan before it can be implemented, the commission said.

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