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In 2009, about 12 million EU citizens were living in an EU country other than their own. While people need to prove their civil status every day, getting official documents recognised in another EU country still remains an obstacle.

Recognition of the effects of civil documents

Free movement within the EU is one of the most valued rights for EU citizens.

As more and more people decide to move to another EU country, they need to prove their civil status in situations such as:

  • employment ;
  • major life events : marriage or divorce;
  • administrative procedures.

To be able to prove their legal situation in an EU country, civil documents have to be recognised.

Despite the free movement right, EU citizens still have problems in terms of:

  • time : for their documents to be recognised;
  • translation : language can be a barrier;
  • cost : citizens have to pay for authentication or translation.

Make the free circulation of civil documents a reality

Cross-border recognition of civil documents is the first step to an effective free movement right in everyday life.

To make the free circulation of civil documents a reality, the following actions have been taken:

In particular, the Commission will analyse how the effects of civil status records can be recognised in every EU country.