Currently, such a special stamp – called apostille – is needed to prove the authenticity of a document. Legalisation is required to certify that the signatures on it are genuine. The Commission is also proposing that non-certified copies and non-certified translations should be accepted alongside the original document.
The proposals provide safeguards against fraud. A national authority which has a reasonable doubt about a document will be able to verify its authenticity directly with the authorities that issued it via the existing Internal Market Information System (IMI) – a mechanism established by the Commission and already in use in other areas such as patient rights or cash-in-transit.
Typical examples of documents currently affected by certification formalities include:
- Civil status records (e.g. documents relating to birth, death, marriage and registered partnership);
- Documents relating to residence, citizenship and nationality;
- Documents relating to real estate;
- Documents relating to legal status and representation of a company or other undertaking;
- Documents relating to intellectual property rights;
- Documents proving the absence of a criminal record